As a Worship Leader, I’ve come to realize that part of my job description should read, “Defender of Culture”. Because in all reality, creating and keeping a positive culture on our teams only happens with intention. It’s when we get a bit lazy that culture killers can sneak in and start to poke holes in the fabric of our God-centered, positive, encouraging, and honest culture.
Let’s really talk about a culture killer that runs rampant through the church world.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever gossiped? Okay, so all of us then. That fact right there should be very telling about how easy it is to slide down the slippery, gossipy slope. As leaders in ministry, we have to guard and protect our team culture from gossip. If we never talk about it with our team, or we overlook it to avoid conflict, or especially if we justify it for ourselves, gossip will surely kill our teams’ culture.
1. Gossip breeds cliques instead of supporting the entire team.
When gossip goes unchecked on our music teams, cliques will form and divisions will happen. When what we really want is unity! When team members are having conversations about other team members, feelings are sure to get hurt and trust is broken. That can definitely carry over to the stage. As musicians, we HAVE to be in sync with each other. Leaders, we need to keep our eyes open and be on the lookout.
2. Gossip can foster an “us vs. them” attitude church wide.
This problem occurs most often when the worship leader is participating in the gossip. Think back to a time when you didn’t agree with another staff member or pastor. Did any of your feelings come out in a conversation with your team or maybe in an all-team prayer? When we as leaders hop on the gossip train, we are sure to cause some church-wide division. Your team members will then feel free to join in with you and talk to others about whatever your hang-ups are. Pretty soon, it will be the music team vs. the senior pastor. Or the music team vs. the children’s ministry team. If you want to keep your ministry on the same side as your whole church, then you must set a firm no gossip policy and live by it.
3. Gossip is self-centered and not God-centered.
Here’s the real truth, folks. Gossip is all about me. It’s all about how I feel and what I think and me, me, me, me, me. Since we’ve agreed that we’ve all been a part of gossip at some point in our lives, I think we’d also agree that in the moment, gossip feels good. Let’s pretend that Sally said some really hurtful things about me and I found out. It would feel good to talk to my friends about Sally and how she wronged me and hurt me and how I don’t really trust her anymore and how I can’t believe she said those things. BUT, where is God in this scenario? What I want for my volunteers, is for them to be God-centered. I want to be a God-centered Worship Leader. Gossip just straight up takes God out of the center.
Take a minute and assess your ministry’s culture. Be honest with yourself or maybe even ask a mentor to tell you what they see in your team’s environment. Whatever the case is, it’s always a good idea to be proactive about this topic. At your next team meeting, take some time to define gossip and what it can look like. At my church, this is the sentence we use to help people be alert to gossip, “If I’m not a part of the problem or the solution, then I don’t’ need to be a part of the conversation.”
Let’s get intentional about creating an environment that is pleasing to God.