The first time it happened, I was shocked! I thought that ministry wouldn’t be this way. I thought we were all supposed to love each other.
What happened? I heard gossip…about me!
As a naïve young adult, entering full time ministry out of college, I had a certain expectation of what church ministry would be like. I expected everyone to try hard to be the best person we could be. I was never a big fan of gossip growing up, and I’m still not. Yet, it happens in church regularly.
Gossip about you as a leader is one of the ways we are hurt by others. This series on Leaders Always Hurt and Get Hurt is focused on the part where the leader gets hurt. And gossip is one of the worst ways to get hurt, especially when it’s not true.
I still remember when I first started to hear negative comments about me. I didn’t know what to do. I was dumbfounded and I found myself going home after a full day of ministry doubting my ability to lead and minister. I found myself second-guessing my decisions, which led to a lack of confidence. I found myself going home a bit frustrated and shedding some tears over the situation. I found myself wanting to quit.
I want everyone to like me. Many ministers are people pleasers by nature. I am no different. That’s why I was so shocked when I started to hear gossip going around.
It is bound to happen. The longer you are involved in leadership in ministry, and the longer you show results and grow your ministry, the more likely it is that you will be the victim of gossip.
We must work hard to avoid the gossip plague and we must work equally hard to stop others from gossiping when we can. Here are 3 strategies I employ as I find myself surrounded by gossip.
1. Ignore gossip.
I have found that most gossip is untrue. Even if it is true, the person talking about you is coming from a negative place. Let it go and move on. Remember that most people in your church speak very highly of you and like you as a person. Don’t let the negative comments of one or two people affect you.
2. Do not get involved in gossip.
The worst thing you can do is be part of the negative gossip that might be spreading around the church. As a leader, you must make a decision to not gossip about others, ever.
3. Stop gossip in its track.
If you overhear either a staff member or volunteer that reports to you gossiping about you or others, immediately pull them aside and give them feedback, letting them know that gossip is not tolerated in your ministry. Not only must you not engage in gossip, but you must intervene when you hear gossip taking over.
Gossip is nothing but vicious. As a leader, you and I most work eradicate it from our ministry.
Remember what Leviticus 19:16 says: “You shall not go about spreading slander among your people.”
Question: how have you handled hearing negative gossip about yourself?