I am a grateful man because I am a blessed man.
I am grateful for my family. Thank you, Heather Joy, for telling me, “You can, should, and will get this project done!” Thank you, Robin, Andrew, Peter, and Isaac, for listening to your dad rabbit on about gossip at the dinner table. You know more about resisting gossip than any other children I know. Thank you, Mom and Dad Mitchell, for encouraging me all of my life in whatever strange ideas I got into my head–including writing a book on gossip. Thank you, extended family, for asking “How’s the project coming?” and actually wanting to hear the answer!
I am grateful for Lanse Evangelical Free Church. Thank you, LEFC Elders, for talking me out of a sabbatical–that really wouldn’t have worked like the writing weeks did. Thank you, LEFC congregation, for listening to many more sermons on gossip than any local church ever should have to. Thank you, Pastoral Prayer Team, for lifting up this project time after time. Thank you, Stacey Fisch, for making all of those copies for me and holding down the fort in 2011 when I was so preoccupied. Thank you, Nesta Kephart, for encouraging me early on to “stay positive” in the book and offer hope in every chapter–that significantly shaped the whole project. Thank you, Rachel Confer, for a special gift at just the right moment.
I am grateful for our family of churches, the EFCA. Thank you, “Super Jeff” Powell and the Allegheny District pastors, for supporting me throughout the process. Thank you, Diane McDougall, for giving me so many opportunities to learn the craft of writing as a part of EFCA Today. Thank you, Robert Jones, for introducing me to CCEF in the first place.
I am grateful for the CCEF and WTS faculty and staff. Thank you, Karen Schoch, for taking my call out of the blue in December of 2007 and suggesting that I take the D.Min modules as a CCEF student. Thank you, Ed Welch, for recommending that I write a book for ordinary Christians (not just church leaders) for my ministry model and for saying, “I’d want to read it.” Thank you, Winston Smith, for your encouragements at each step in the advising process. Thank you, Mike Emlet, David Powlison, and Tim Lane, for the quality of counseling education you offer us CCEF students–I would do it all over again. Thank you, Glenna Deem, for taking all of my confused calls about the process and pointing me in the right direction–I can hear your smile over the phone. Thank you, Leslie Altena and Nate Shannon at the Center for Theological Writing, for being patient with my pesky questions about formatting. Thank you, Mary Wells, for finding all of my mistakes before anyone else could. Thank you, Nicholas, Nancy, Julia, and Jeremy Black for welcoming me into your home whenever I was visiting campus.
I am grateful for my critical readers. Thank you, Chris Brauns, Kim Cone, Jaroslav and Natalija Elijas, Stacey Fisch, Rachel Joy, Mark Lauterbach, Dan and Jen Ledford, Diane McDougall, Tim McIntosh, Natasha Miller, Elizabeth Nelson, Jani Ortlund, Jennifer Petoske, Marty Schoenleber, Susan Stallings, Dennis Wadsworth, Bruce and Donna Weatherly, and Kipp Wilson. The book is much better because of your input, and this project could not have been done without you. Clarence was right when he told George Bailey that no man is a failure who has friends.
I am grateful for “Lynnette” and all of the others who trusted me with your stories–especially those who admitted to gossiping. You were brave, and others will be helped.
I am especially grateful for my King and Rescuer, the Lord Jesus Christ. May you and your Father get all of the glory.