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Accidental Preacher
A Memoir
Will Willimon
Afterword by Kate Bowler

HARDCOVER; Published: 7/16/2019
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7644-7
Price: $ 27.99
240 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 5.5 x 8.5
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The lively, inspiring memoir of an eminent Christian preacher and leader

In this book one of today’s best-known Christian leaders recounts—with his signature wit and humor—memorable moments from his rich and full preaching life. A personal and vocational memoir, Will Willimon’s Accidental Preacher portrays the adventure of a life caught up in the purposes of a God who calls unlikely people to engage in work greater than themselves. 

Beginning with his childhood in a segregated South and moving through his student years, Willimon gives candid, inspiring, and humorous testimony to his experiences as a seminary professor, rural pastor, globe-trotting preacher, bishop, and popular theologian and writer. Above all, he shows how God has constantly had a call on his life. 

By turns poignant, hilarious, and thought-provoking—but always irresistibly engaging—Accidental Preacher is sure to join the well-remembered, classic memoir of our time.

Lillian Daniel
— preacher and author of Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To
“If I believed in bishops, I’d want one like Will Willimon—flawed, fearless, and wickedly funny. So I am relieved to say that his memoir in retirement is no more and no less honest than his preaching has been. Accidental Preacher reveals a real human being who has been consistent in his commitments to Christ, the church, and the truth, since childhood, but then gives us the quirky backstory on how he came by all that energy and honesty.”
Justo L. González
— church historian
“With his exceptional capacity for simple teaching of profound subjects, Will Willimon invites us into his own story, which he reads from the perspective and the experience of faith. An exceptional example of theology at its best—not theology as a discussion of abstract doctrines, but rather theology as the discernment of God’s work in human life and history. Highly recommended for preachers of the gospel, but also for any seeking to live the gospel in its fullness.”
Luke A. Powery
— Duke University Chapel
“Bishop Will Willimon is a Jesus-loving, story-telling, truth-talking, laugh-generating gift from God for the church. You might think this memoir is about him, but it is really about God, a God who calls, unwittingly, unexpectedly, accidentally. But nothing with God is accidental, not even your reading of this book. So when you open these pages that preach, you’ll thank God that you did! This is a literary gem, an honest and holy revelation about vocation.”
Thomas G. Long
— Candler School of Theology
“It is all here in this compelling memoir: Will Willimon the storyteller, the wit, the sage, the prophet, the pastor, the preacher. But most of all, we encounter Willimon the servant of the church and the unrelenting follower of Christ. This is the story of how, out of the South, with its monuments already crumbling, and out of a family challenged to its core, comes an eloquent and bold proclaimer of the gospel. As Willimon himself would say, ‘Only God and only the church would pull a stunt like that.’”
L. Gregory Jones
— Duke Divinity School
“In this hilarious, moving memoir, Will Willimon both narrates his amazing calling as a preacher and paints a remarkable portrait of the excitement of ordained Christian ministry as a vocation. Take, read, be entertained, and be blessed!”
Richard Lischer
— author of Open Secrets
“This is a wonderful book. ‘There was things [the author] stretched, but mainly he told the truth.’ If Mark Twain had been a Methodist, his name would have been Will Willimon. Will calls his life a ‘comedy,’ but it’s God’s own comedy of a southern boy called to preach the truth. Follow the Willimon wit to the source of Willimon’s wisdom, and I guarantee you, you won’t be disappointed.”
Stanley Hauerwas
—author of The Character of Virtue
“Willimon is one of the least obvious persons I have ever known. You might think that his sense of irony means he does not take anything seriously, but then, as this memoir makes clear, Willimon’s life is determined by his love of God and, God help him, the Methodist church. The joy and humor at the heart of this memoir not only make it a wonderful read but also indicate how Christians can live well as resident aliens.”