I read this excerpt from a post Kurt Johnston and Josh Griffin wrote today:
A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. Proverbs 16:28
There’s no faster way to destroy a team than from the inside out with gossip.
Gossip is a not-so-silent killer of many youth workers and youth ministries; this week we wanted to equip you with a few ways to make sure that the gossip is stopped in its tracks when it gets to you.
Look out for warning words.
“Did you hear…”
“I don’t know if I should share this…”
“I can’t believe it…”
“Keep this between us…”
“She said not to tell anyone…”
(if you want to read the rest, click here)
When I think about stopping gossip right in its tracks, I remember the way one of my Kamp directors does it.
- When someone starts to gossip, interrupt them
- Look at your watch (or phone, or the nearest wall clock)
- Say this, “Ok, it’s 9:21am. You are gossiping about this person. I’m going to give you 24 hours to tell that person what you just told me, otherwise I’m going to tell them for you.”
- See the fun of gossiping die right in front of you
- Actually follow through with what you said
- Then follow up with the fallout (because there will be at first)
There are other ways to do it. I really like this one. But no matter what, gossip cannot be part of your ministry. It is painful, it is arrogant, and it is divisive. People get beat up enough by life outside of church. Why should they fear the same from the church?