1. Challenge The Generalizer.
- Ask for the specific names of people to deal with the issue head on instead of letting people talk in general terms.
- Tell the gossip that if they have a real problem, they need to do something or else you will if they won’t.
2. Have The Awkward Conversations Upfront.
- Don't give in to the whole "promising before they tell you"… If they want or need to tell you bad enough, they'll still continue talking considering they have already come to you in trust.
- If there's doubt, directly ask the person for permission to share their private information (even if it's inconvenient), before sharing with someone else, or just don't do it.
3. The Negative Few Are Consistently Louder Than The Content Majority.
Critics are often more vocal and intentional than those that are happy and content. The masses that are happy and content often say nothing because everything is good and/or they don’t want to get into a confrontation.
4. Not All Sources Deserve Equal Weight, Trust, and Priority.
There needs to be a filter in church families that accounts for competence, trust, and maturity in the same way that there’s a weighted trust towards the dad over the 4 year old when it comes to household finances.
5. Take It With A Grain Of Salt.
Check your sources before flippantly talking. Stop spreading stories that are not of God. Be someone others trust because they know you let other trusted sources hold you accountable to reinforce or negate the stories told that may be untrue.
6. Promote Unity On The Agreed 90% Before Creating Dissonance Over The Disagreed 10%.
There is a time to correct, but there is an even greater call to unity. Go directly to the person with a problem when possible instead of creating dissonance among the crowds. People need commitment towards good even when things aren't completely perfect. Choose to be around those that are unified and committed.
7. Gossips & Bullies Often Put Down Others Out Of Insecurity To Make Themselves Look Better.
This principle helps us as leaders remain lovingly focused on helping everyone, including the mean spirited through their hurt before attacking out of anger. It's easy to be personally defensive and assume you can't sinfully hurt the bully while trying to correct the problem.