Thursday, September 28, 2023

The Biggest Dangers to Your Children's Ministry - Danger #2

Yesterday I wrote about what I consider to be the third biggest danger to our Children's  Ministry: the trap of "comfort". I said; "Falling into the trap of, "comfort" will stop your Children's Ministry from being effective . . . it is a big danger; so be on guard, call it out, and pray because there is no room in any Children's Ministry for comfort when it stifles and/or stunts our ministry."

Today I'm writing about Danger #2 . . . 

. . . gossip. This is also an easy trap to fall into . . . in fact, once again, it is one we might not even realize has ensnared us. However; of the five "dangers" to our Children's 
Ministries, this one is probably the one which has so much potential to cause so much damage - to the ministry and to people as well. So, how can we know if we have fallen into the trap of, "gossip"? Consider the following . . . 
  • When a group of Children's Ministry staff and/or volunteers get together, do you find yourself talking  about people who are not there with you? Do you find yourself saying things you would not say if the person you are talking about was sitting there with you?
  • Do you find yourself listening when staff/volunteers complain about someone else when the person they are talking about is not there? Do you look at listening to these things as, "part of your job"?
  • Do you find yourself - or your staff/volunteers, repeating things you have heard - or even your own opinions of others - to people other than the person you are talking about?
  • Do you "give yourself a 'pass'" by calling what you are doing "research" or think it is "part of your job description" when you talk to others about someone who is not there to give their perspective?
These are just a few ways of falling into the trap of gossip might show up in our ministries and when it does, it is a big danger to our Children's Ministries. Why is gossip such a big danger? Consider the following ways gossip damages your ministry . . . and others . . . 
  • Gossip means you - and/or those in your ministry - can not be trusted. The old saying is true; "Beware of people who talk to you about others . . . they will likely talk about you to others as well." 
  • Gossip is a poison and it is deadly . . . it causes great pain to the people who are being talked about. Just because you and/or a friend say something about another person, it does not make it the truth. But, when a person in authority listens to and worse, searches out and repeats gossip, those who hear it are likely to believe it. I know a pastor who does this. He calls it "research", but it leaves him and the rest of the staff as people who are not able to be trusted.
  • If you have been told something in confidence and you repeat it - or, if you "diagnose" a person or situation a particular way and tell it to others, this will "jade" the way those others see the person or situation and this is tremendously unfair to the person/situation you are talking about.
  • People who are gossiped about are likely to be hurt and may leave the church; and view all churches, leaders, people, as those who they should never trust again.
  • Did I mention, gossip means you  can not be trusted?
These are just a few of the ways gossip damages our ministries, and actual people. So, what do we do about the danger of having a ministry where gossip is tolerated and indulged in? I believe there are three main things we can do . . . 
  • Pray! Pray and ask God to protect your ministry from gossip. Pray and ask God to show you whenever and wherever it shows up. Pray!
  • Call it out! Identify it and call out those who gossip - call out yourself whenever you show these attitudes, too. Absolutely have a zero-tolerance for gossip.
  • Be on guard for it! Watch and watch and watch for it and act quickly whenever it shows up!
  • Commit to NEVER gossip or listen to gossip.
Falling into the trap of, "gossip" will stop your Children's Ministry  from being effective . . . it is a big danger; so be on guard, call it out, and pray because there is no room in any Children's Ministry for  gossip as it will absolutely stifle and/or stunt our ministry and cause real harm to others.

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