IS THERE GOING TO BE ANYONE THERE WHO NEEDS TO HEAR ABOUT JESUS?
My conversation with Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, a.k.a. The Duck Commander
Thursday was one of the most surreal, epic, challenging, unforgettable days of my entire life. By now most of you have heard that Phil, Miss Kay & Si Robertson from the A&E hit reality television show Duck Dynasty have agreed to headline the 5th Annual Don Meyer Evening of Excellence at Lipscomb University. The event will take place at Lipscomb's Allen Arena on Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. Central time.
The rest of the story, as the late Paul Harvey would say, is what I want to share with you and challenge you to pray about. Please read on and listen intently for what the Spirit would have you do.
We got confirmation on Wednesday that Phil, Miss Kay and Si would indeed be able to come to Lipscomb in April. When we submitted our original offer we told the agency that it was important to us that if at all possible we be able to get some footage of Phil and Si promoting the fact that they'd be coming so we could show it at the Lipscomb-Belmont game on Friday, November 9.
At about 6 p.m. Wednesday night (Nov. 7) I got confirmation that if we still wanted to get video footage of Phil and Si for the promo video we wanted to show at Friday night's game that Phil and Si would make themselves available Thursday. The idea of someone down there getting video for us and sending it to us in time to get the promo video done for Friday's game was not going to be possible. If we wanted it, we would have to go to West Monroe, Louisiana and get it ourselves.
I got on Kayak.com and checked flights from Nashville to Jackson, MS and Shreveport, LA - the two closest cities to West Monroe. The tickets were astronomically expensive and the flight schedules, connecting flights and layovers didn't work for our timeline anyway. I did a quick MapQuest and it spelled out a 533-mile, 8-hour, one-way trip from Nashville to Monroe. Driving down and back on Thursday became our only option.
I immediately called my amazingly gifted and loyal friend and Lipscomb alum Jimmy Chaffin who is at the top of the Who's Who list in broadcast production and is a partner at Dye, Van Mol & Lawrence Public Relations in Nashville. He has done all of the videos for each of the first four Don Meyer Evening of Excellence events and hits it out of the park every year. I explained my dilemma. Within 30 minutes he had helped secure Tom Zaleski, a veteran videographer who is one of the most respected professionals in his field. Tom was able and willing to join the adventure.
I needed one more player - someone who could be LU the Bison, Lipscomb's mascot. It didn't take much to convince Lipscomb cross country runner, Bison superfan, fellow Honduras mission trip veteran and Duck Dynasty addict Alexander McMeen to join the team.
Here's a timeline of how it all played out from there:
Midnight - rented a Suburban at the Nashville airport (needed big vehicle for all the video gear)
12:30 a.m. - picked up the LU Bison outfit at Allen Arena
1 a.m. - went to bed
3:15 a.m. - alarm clock went off
4 a.m. - met Tom and Alexander at Allen Arena loading dock
6:30 a.m. - stopped for coffee and breakfast at McDonald's in Memphis
Noon - arrived at Duck Commander offices in West Monroe, LA
12:45 p.m. - arrived at Phil & Miss Kay's house
1 p.m. - shot video with Phil at his new duck blind a couple of miles from his house
2:30 p.m. - went back to Phil & Kay's house and visited with Miss Kay
3 p.m. - ate duck appetizers and chicken & waffles at restaurant named Cotton in "downtown" Monroe
3:30 p.m. - met Si at Duck Commander offices to shoot video
4 p.m. - started back to Nashville
11:30 p.m. - arrived safely back at Allen Arena loading dock
Midnight - returned Suburban to Nashville airport
When it was all said and done we had driven over 1100 miles and were on the road more than 18 hours in that 24 hour period. I drove every mile with help from Mountain Dew (shout out to my friends Buddy Lewis & Ed Jones at Pepsi) and my favorite stay-awake staple - sunflower seeds.
Tom delivered all of the raw video to Jimmy at DVL early Friday morning. By Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Jimmy had worked his magic and gave us the incredible video that sent our fans into a frenzy Friday night and is now being shared all over Twitter and Facebook.
As of today (Nov. 14) we have already sold more than 2,000 tickets. There are about 1,000 left. Who will fill those seats? At this point it's becoming more and more obvious that the event is going to sell out. We'll have a great number of Lipscomb donors, alumni and student-athletes in attendance. We've already had fans of the TV show from as far away as Colorado buy tickets.
I visited with Phil in his duck blind as Tom was getting everything ready for the video shoot. Phil asked very simply, "Is there going to be anyone there who needs to hear about Jesus?"
I assured him the answer was yes. That's quite honestly the main reason I'm writing this.
Who can you invite that needs to hear about Jesus?
I can tell you right now without a shadow of a doubt that Phil Robertson is going to present the good news of Jesus on April 27th in as direct and powerful a way as anyone you have ever heard in your life. It'll be a powerful reminder and encouragement for those of us who have already accepted him as Savior and Lord.
We don't need to miss this opportunity as Christians to let God increase His Kingdom.
Who is in your sphere of influence that would readily accept an invitation to come see and hear Phil, Miss Kay and Si?
Would your church consider buying a block of tickets and specifically using them to invite people who don't know Jesus?
While Phil and his family have achieved rock star status thanks to the television show, let me assure you that their number one priority remains their faith in Jesus. While we were there on Thursday Phil and Kay were celebrating the fact that for the first time in the two-year history of the show, A&E had not cut out "in Jesus name" from the prayer that Phil prays around the dinner table at the end of each show. Miss Kay also talked to Alexander and me about a young couple that she and Phil were ministering to this week whose marriage was on the rocks.
The event is going to sell out regardless. I just pray that the harvest ends up being far more than dollars and people falling in love with Lipscomb.
Pray about who God may want you to invite and then act accordingly.
Click here for full event details. Click here to watch the promotional video that we played Friday night during the first half of the Lipscomb-Belmont game when we broke the news to our fans. Click here to order tickets to the event.
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Let me know if you have any questions.
Brent High, Associate A.D. for Spiritual Formation