Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2012
Let the Church Know
Text: Acts 4:1-31, 21:19-25; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23; Numbers 13:17-33; Acts 11:1-18
Do you know someone who seems to enjoy gossiping and sharing bad news? Have you ever wondered what motivates them to do this?
Alison Poulsen, PhD, believes that there are six possible reasons why people like to gossip and share bad news:1
1. They want to feel superior. Since they don’t feel good about themselves, speaking negatively about someone else makes them temporarily feel more important than others.
2. They’re own lives appear boring. When someone’s own life lacks luster and interesting stories to tell, spreading bad news about others makes them more exciting to listen to.
3. They are envious of someone else. Spreading bad about someone whose lifestyle, popularity or talents seem better is a way to hurt that person.
4. They want to feel a part of the group. Spreading bad news makes them feel included and popular because they have an audience.
5. They crave attention. The person spreading the negative news is temporarily the center of attention. Unfortunately for them, it is temporary and they are soon out of the limelight.
6. They are angry or unhappy. Spreading bad news about someone else can bring a sense of retribution.
How should we respond if someone approaches us and begins to gossip and spread bad news about another person? Dr. Poulsen gives some scenarios using a factious name:
“Let’s take a look at it from Jane’s side.”
“I am more interested in what you are up to.”
“Let’s talk about something more positive.”
“I feel uncomfortable listening to negative judgments about people unless we figure out how to help them.”
Dr. Poulsen writes: “Gossiping shows others the gossiper’s insecurity and mean-spiritedness. It also leaves everyone involved feeling as though they’ve just eaten a bad apple.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the only “news spreading” that happened in our churches was the spreading of good news? The early church set this example for us. They were eager to share the good news of what God had done through them. There was no time for bad news. God was moving!
When Paul returned from a missionary journey to Jerusalem, he reported to James and the elders. Acts 21:19, 20 says, “When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord.” If Paul hadn’t reported this good news, they never would have known what God had done. They wouldn’t have been encouraged and eager to minister themselves.
It’s the same in our churches today. We need to be reporting the good news of what God is doing in our individual witnessing and group evangelism. Failure to do this will prevent us from experiencing the many positive aspects of reporting, such as: reporting builds up the church; reporting teaches us what does and does not work; reporting helps those involved feel that their work is appreciated; reporting encourages other members to become involved; and most importantly, reporting glorifies God.