With 11.8 million viewers for its Aug. 14 Season 4 premiere, A&E’s Wednesday juggernaut, “Duck Dynasty” has a lot of Americans riveted to their TV sets and a lot of pundits scratching their heads about how this reality-based sitcom about an eccentric, tight-knit Louisiana clan of bearded, bandanna-ed men, along with their wives, children and family-business employees, came to captivate a nation.
For a lot of the show’s Christian fans, it’s become a rare place on a mainstream cable or broadcast network where they can see characters openly expressing — and living — their faith in a positive context.
While most of the TV time follows the Robertsons navigating their daily lives of manufacturing duck calls at Duck Commander and managing marriages, parenthood and the quirks of each other’s personalities, each episode ends with the family gathering at dinner and saying a prayer.
In real life, faith is central to the Robertsons, since beardless eldest son Alan Robertson — who was off-camera for the show’s first three seasons — has been pastor of White’s Ferry Church of Christ in West Monroe, La., for 20 years, and and the rest of the clan is active in the congregation.
Alan Robertson also leads weekly voluntary devotional hours at the company headquarters, like this one:
For some fans, the Robertsons’ spirituality has had a very personal effect. As reported in the Christian Chronicle, Louisiana outdoor enthusiast Brandon Hooks was so inspired by the show — and a video of Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson discussing his faith — that he wound up being baptized by Willie’s brother Jase Robertson.
Hooks said, “I know some people would say I did this just to meet them or have a famous person do it. That was not it. I wanted them to do it, because I connected with them.”
With the on-screen arrival of Alan in the fourth season, faith may come even more to the forefront.
The full video is below (the Robertson segment begins at about the 11-minute mark), but here are a few excerpts:
On why no one is more surprised than him that he’s a minister:
“My high-school years were just terrible, and it was all a secret life — running around and drinking and cutting up. So, I was at the worst possible place — I was hiding in plain sight. I was in the church, but I wasn’t a Christian. I wasn’t living for Christ.”
On traveling the nation with dad Phil Robertson to preach:
“I call us the feather and the sledgehammer. I come in, and I get people laughing. I get their tickle-bone, because I’m kind of the humor guy.
“And then dad comes in with a sledgehammer — boom! — you know. ‘This is what God has done for you. This is what our nation needs.’ Boom, boom, boom!”
On why now:
“I really feel like God had prepared us for such a moment as this. And when America needs some family to say, ‘Hey, we can make mistakes, you know, we can come from nothing — we can have all these things now, but ultimately none of it matters except that we’re saved, and we’re going to be in heaven with Christ forever.'”
Alan’s wife, Lisa, was also interviewed in the segment, and here’s her thoughts on taking their message beyond the physical congregation:
“To have a great church is good. But there is people out there that’s not ever going to darken the doors that we have here. And they may not ever darken the doors of any church building.
“And so, if we can give them a little taste of Christianity, a little taste of God, but in a fun way, to tell them that just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean that you can’t have loads of fun and laugh all the time and just enjoy what God’s given you.”