While Preaching in an Age of Distraction (IVP Books) is not a new volume, I was reminded recently (using it in a DMin seminar) that this book by J. Ellsworth Kalas has valuable insights to share with today’s church leaders. We live in an age when our culture itself seems to have attention-deficit disorder – whipsawing from crisis to crisis, trend to trend. Our personal lives seem just as hectic, with technology—once seen as a time-saver—instead pressing us moment to moment to respond to calls, texts, emails and other demands. In this helpful book, Kalas helps us as preachers to step back and better understand our environment, and then offers counsel to help us wisely respond to the distractions of our age.
Kalas reminds us that while we spend our days immersed in biblical texts and theological thought, our people live in a different world. He quotes Eugene Peterson, who shares that as a pastor, he was not prepared for “the low level of interest that the men and women in my congregation had in God and the scriptures, prayer and their souls. Not that they didn’t believe and value these things; they just weren’t very interested.” Facing such challenges, preachers and teachers must learn to deal with distraction in our congregations and in ourselves. Kalas spends the second half of his book offering wise counsel to church leaders in the use of various strategies for connecting with our distracted age.

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About The Author

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Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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