BCC Staff Note: In this Biblical Counseling Coalition author interview Q & A, we connected with Matt Mitchell to learn more about his Participant’s Guide and Bible Study for his book, Resisting Gossip. You can also find a link to the free 10-part accompanying video series at the end of this interview.
BCC: “Matt, how does Resisting Gossip Together relate to your previous book, Resisting Gossip?
MM: “The problem of gossip isn’t going to go away any time soon. Gossip is a perennial problem that people deal with nearly every day. Gossip is notoriously hard to define and even harder to resist. It’s alluring and addictive, but also dangerous and painful. Gossip causes heartache and division between people and leaves the gossiping person full of shame and regret. And, frankly, there aren’t many good resources out there yet to prepare Christians to fight against it.So, the idea for Resisting Gossip Together was to provide a resource that would enhance readers’ understanding of Resisting Gossip, take them deeper into personal Bible study, and also facilitate their participation in an interactive discussion group. I wanted to see community built around this teaching.
BCC: “What is unique about Resisting Gossip Together? How is it designed?”
MM: “Resisting Gossip Together consists of ten lessons that follow a three part format. I provide activities for participants to do before, during, and after a study group meets. Each lesson covers a corresponding chapter in Resisting Gossip and is built around the centerpiece of the discussion questions in the original book. It all dovetails together.
But it’s more than just a lesson plan. There are also ten new ‘Digging Deeper Bible Studies’ that more extensively develop one aspect of the teaching in each chapter. Each lesson also includes: a short introduction explaining the educational goals for that lesson, an additional ‘warm-up’ question to get the discussion started, prayer prompts, a key verse to memorize and meditate upon, and crucial application questions for self evaluation and personal growth. I tried to think of all of the things that I would want provided for me if I were leading a small group and tossed them in there.
One of my favorite features is a ‘For Further Study’ section in each lesson with links and smartcodes to online articles with additional insights. I was able to include ideas and reflections here that I didn’t have a place to say in the original book. There is also a guide for group leaders in the back of the book.
BCC: “Matt, tell us more about the videos that go along with Resisting Gossip Together.”
MM: “When Resisting Gossip came out last year, we were asked repeatedly by readers if there would be a video-based curriculum of some kind for groups to use. I’m really pleased that we were able to produce a series of videos to meet that need. We filmed the ‘Resisting Gossip Video Teaching Series’ in ten different locations around our little community in central Pennsylvania. Each location communicated a different aspect of gossip (for example, a courtroom for sinful judging, a tank for being attacked, a beauty parlor and a diner as places where gossip often flows). Each film introduces and briefly unpacks the central idea of the corresponding lesson.
And here’s the best part: they’re free! CLC Publications has posted them online and given them away to the world. They are available for streaming, downloading, and sharing. A DVD with all ten videos is also available for those who want or need a physical copy of their own.”
BCC: “What are your hopes for these resources, Matt?”
MM: “I hope lots of people use them and grow together in their ability to recognize gossip when they encounter it, resist gossip when they are tempted to listen or pass it on, and to respond in faith and love when they are the target of a gossip attack. I’m really glad that these new interconnected resources are inexpensive so that even groups with small budgets can utilize them for maximum effect.”
BCC: “Where can people learn more?”
MM: “At my website, resistinggossip.com, readers can learn more about Resisting Gossip Together, find links to the online articles I reference in the book, read a list of tips and ideas for leading an effective group, watch the ten video lessons (plus a trailer and even a blooper reel!), and get ordering information for both the book and a DVD. Thanks for giving me a chance to tell people about this project!”
BCC: “Thank you, Matt, for these great contributions to the Christian literature on resisting gossip.”