(Photo: Courtesy of A&E)
Alan Robertson, the newest cast member of the hit A&E show "Duck Dynasty," made his debut on the network last week during the season 4 premiere after leaving his pastoral ministry to join his family's duck call business.
Prior to stepping into the spotlight, Robertson ministered at White's Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, La., for over 20 years. He and his wife, Lisa, recently sat down with CBN News' "700 Club" for an interview to discuss their decision to leave their ministry, his journey to Christ and the humble beginnings of Duck Commander.
Once known as a rebellious teenager, Alan faced a fair share of challenges before he was called to lead a congregation.
"My high school years were just terrible and it was all a secret life – running around and drinking and cutting up," he said. "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."
After committing his life to God and years later during his time in ministry, Alan continued to face challenges in his personal life, including his marriage, but according to him, those obstacles made him stronger. Two decades later and a successful ministry left in the hands of other pastors at White's Ferry Road Church, he and Lisa have found a new calling and one that will allow them to reach millions they otherwise would not have access to.
"To have a great church is good. But there are 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," said Lisa.
Their decision to leave the pulpit for the reality show stemmed from the realization that their ministry could have an impact on a worldwide audience through their family's mega successful TV series.
"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 are 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," said Lisa.
Their debut on the show last week gave audiences a taste of their Christian background as nearly 12 million viewers tuned in for the season premiere on Aug. 14. Now, audiences will become acquainted with the Robertsons throughout the series as they showcase their journey in embracing their new roles as reality stars.
"I really feel like God had prepared us for such a moment as this," Alan said. "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 forever with Christ.'"
That same humble attitude is seen in his parents, Phil and Kay Robertson, as well as his brothers and sisters-in-law who appear on the show. Now that their business has earned them international recognition, Alan remembers a time when their multi-million dollar empire was just beginning.
"We made everything in there," said Alan during the interview, pointing to an old shed behind his dad's house. "There used to be an old band saw out back and I used to cut [duck] calls in half. I was little, I was 12 years old, I mean, OSHA, we didn't know what OSHA was in those days."
Over the years, Alan and Lisa have remained unpretentious despite their family's success, which Lisa says is an attitude derived from her mother-in-law.
"She says that whenever she prays she says if the money or the fame or anything ever takes us away from Christ, then take it all away and leave us with nothing. You know, because when we're with nothing, we've got everything with Christ," said Lisa.
Aside from helping Duck Commander expand, the Robertsons say they will continue to spread God's word and Alan will take on speaking engagements throughout the country alongside his father.
"I call us the feather and the sledge hammer. I come in and I get people laughing. I get their tickle bone because I'm kind of the humor guy," said Alan. "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.'"
During these events, Alan says he makes it known that he is related to the beard-rocking 'Duck Dynasty" clan despite his lack of facial hair, since many question the connection at first glance.
"I figure you need to know what they look like underneath so a lot of times I'll go out in a crowd and say, 'What about if I did this?'" he says as he covers his mouth and chin as though he has a beard. "And people say, 'Oh, that's more like it' 'cause they get the vision and they can tell I belong to the family," said Alan.
But according to Lisa, she prefers him to keep his clean-shaven image.
"You know, when there are things crawling out of your beard or whenever you've got food left from lunch or dinner, I don't know, that just kind of grosses me out," she said.
And he agrees.
"I don't want to get stuck with that look, I mean, are you kidding me?"
Duck Dynasty airs on A&E every Wednesday at 10/9C.