(This story is featured in the spring 2015 issue of Shattered Magazine. Subscribe today to read more powerful stories of people and communities breaking down walls of unbelief.)
It would be hard for a person to deny that Alan Robertson and the stars of Duck Dynasty have been given awesome opportunities. Their show on A&E has brought their Duck Commander business the exposure common sense says is good for the bottom line. The market has been flooded with Duck Dynasty branded gadgets—everything from cookware, travel cups, and talking heads, to the Bible you may have received for Christmas. In a Christian market that seems to fall short with regard to what it has to offer in “bling for men,” Duck Dynasty fits the bill. What do you get the man who has everything? A Duck Dynasty pocketknife and underwear set, of course!
The men and women of Duck Dynasty have found a foothold in the hearts of Christians near and far. Their stance on family and faith is fearless. When Phil Robertson put his foot down with A&E about keeping their family prayer in the show, it seemed to really hit home with the general public what the true character of the Robertson family is. And we fell in love with that. We love to cheer on David-against-Goliath and see God bring them to victory!
In a refreshing interview with Alan Robertson, the beardless brother and preacher-man, I got to talk with this Duck Dynasty insider about their platform, or as he gently corrected me, their position.
Q So, let’s get real. Sometimes it’s hard to open up conversations about faith. How is it that your dad and entire family can be so fearless in sharing their faith?
A Dad is a little unique in that he is so driven and has been. He is that sort of person. One like him comes along generationally, and it isn’t bad to follow his example. But in his prophetic mode (that’s what we call it when he gets on a roll), he says what God directs him to say, and he just doesn’t care what people think. The rest of us tend to be a bit more diplomatic in sharing the faith.
We all have a story of faith to tell people. But people have bought into the mindset in public, you shouldn’t talk about it. That’s un-American and un-Christian. There’s no privacy of our faith; it’s who we are and what we live, and (we) should be doing it every day. Encourage the faithful to go out every week and do what you’re supposed to do, not to just come into the pew to be encouraged for two hours. Satan has a lot to do with culturally instilling fear of what others think or say. We got to take that one back because if we don’t, we lose our culture.
Q Do you all worry about what people think or say about you?
A Our family is considered controversial because people don’t believe what we believe. As Americans and Christians, we have a right and the ability to speak what we’re supposed to. The feedback we’ve been given is priceless. When people tell us that they’re being bolder than they’ve ever been because of our family talking about our life change boldly and honestly, that’s a good feeling for all of us.
QWhat do you and your family think about the platform that you have been given?
A A good friend of mine sent me something about platforms, and it pointed out that it is less about a platform given than a position given by the Almighty. Platforms make you think that maybe we still had something to do with it. But a position is something that God gives you or somewhere that He puts you for a period of time. And while you’re there, embrace it and accept it.
Right now, ours is a public position. It is an awesome responsibility and opportunity , but it does not come without difficulty. We have a large family, different personalities and different ways of thinking and doing things. It’s not easy to have the same mindset and stay on target, on mission together. We do not want to do anything to deny the position that God has put us in together, and we all have been given different positions. But even if it’s Dancing with the Stars, we try to do it all to God’s glory.
Q What would you say to Christians who don’t have the public position that you’ve been given?
A We all have positions that we’ve been put into in life and responsibilities that come along with those positions.
QHow can we be fearless in those positions and make the impact that we all should be making for God’s glory?
A The first thing you have to do is be willing to be real and authentic with people. One of the great roadblocks to making an impact from a believer’s standpoint is that we believe the lie that if people knew our weaknesses, they wouldn’t respect us. In reality, it’s just the opposite, 180 degrees off. We need to be authentic in whatever happens—in triumphs and tragedies, our failures or victories. People will be drawn to that and (will) want to know what you know.
Next, be bold. Don’t buy into the idea that we were made for Sunday only. We were made for the whole 168 hours in a week to be who we are called to be. In doing so, there are great opportunities, in large and small ways, to impact others.
Finally, be generous and compassionate with people—especially people who are struggling. It’s easy to not see the addict, the depressed, the homeless, the weary and the broken-hearted as we go about our daily lives. But Jesus, in His three years of ministry, was very compassionate, and we are to be like Him. I don’t believe much in handouts but in hand-ups to show them something better. People are shattered and lying completely on the ground. There is only one source that can put them back together. The government can’t do it because they don’t have the compassion of Christ. We want to transform people for eternity, not just pay their light bill for six months. As Christians, it’s our job to do that.