I have worked with several different churches as the youth director for eight years of my life. In that time, I have grown to love and hate the church environment as a full-time staff person. The one thing that has made me jaded above everything else is the church gossip. What started out as simply telling rumors about fellow congregation members over coffee and donuts, made a startling change to gossiping via prayer requests. The idea that we share other people’s business that we probably do not have the full story on drives me bonkers.
So you can imagine my disdain when I see the church gossips starting to make a beeline towards digital communications. Even worse, many people are making a profit off of this gossip. One recent situation of this that pushed me over the edge to write this article? Mark Driscoll and Acts 29.
Mark Driscoll & Acts 29
If you are someone that is proactive about church leadership in any capacity or simply like Mars Hill or Mark Driscoll, you have heard the news that they and the Acts 29 Network church planting may be parting ways. Okay, so that’s news, no harm there.
The problem comes when people decide to give their input on the situation, shame one organization or the other, and simply gossip about the situation that I become enraged. Simply look at your Facebook or Twitter feed for Driscoll or Mars Hill comments, both positive and negative, that decide they must give their input on the situation. Further, look at the comments on articles at ChurchLeaders.com or Patheos that report on the news of the situation.
Do they have a right to an opinion? Yes.
Do they have the full story? Unless they are part of that board of directors talk or a trusted mentor to Mark’s, no.
As Christians, is it their place to gossip about this? Absolutely not.
This is one very public, very national version of the digital church gossip, but it can happen in a more overt and local level too. I’ve had one friendship ruined because they decided to take their nasty habit of gossiping to their Facebook feed and I called them out on it. The truth of the matter is, it’s a huge problem and one that social media, blogging, and other digital communications that are not as public are making more prevalent.
So my question to you is, how do we stop it?