When Brandon Hooks’ mother introduced him to “Duck Dynasty,”
he found the A&E reality series funny and entertaining.
But he did not expect a television show to change his life.
Hooks, 31, seldom attended church while growing up. The only time he went was when his family visited his grandmother’s house. Throughout most of his life, he gave faith little thought.
He did, however, grow to love hunting and fishing. This passion for outdoor activities would help guide him to discover his own faith and love for Christ.
In 2006, Hooks began dating his future wife, Jessica, 29, a member of the Memorial Church of Christ
in Houston. He started attending services with her.
After the couple married in 2007, Hooks kept joining his wife at church. He was welcomed with his family and made many friends at the congregation. However, something still seemed to be missing. ‘Hooks still felt unable to make a connection to anyone with whom he could relate spiritually.
Last year, Hooks’ mother, Shelia Hooks, introduced him to “Duck Dynasty,” which is filmed in West Monroe, La., two hours north of his parents’ home in Pleasant Hill, La.
The show — which drew 6.5 million viewers to its final episode of 2012 — follows the Robertson family as they operate a thriving duck call and decoy business while staying true to their family values.
Duck Commander Phil Robertson and his son, Al, both serve as elders for the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ
in West Monroe. Other family members also are active with the congregation.
Hooks said he appreciated the values that the Robertsons profess and the family meal — preceded by a prayer — which the family shares at the end of each episode.
Curious about the Robertsons, he checked into their background online. He came across a 15-minute video
of Willie Robertson, CEO of the family’s Duck Commander business, speaking at chapel at Harding University in Searcy, Ark.
It was then, Hooks said, that he began thinking about God and faith.
After hearing Willie reflect on his faith, Hooks listened to several clips of Phil Robertson, the family patriarch, preaching and telling the story of Jesus.
The Gospel message began to click with Hooks.
“Phil Robertson really brought it full circle,” Hooks said.
Hooks decided that he wanted to be baptized and told his wife of his decision. Without his knowledge, she contacted the Robertsons and told them of the impact they had made on her husband’s faith journey.
To her surprise, the Robertsons responded, she said.
“Our family decided we would do our best to facilitate requests to baptize those who ask, and we do it by having them come to a Sunday or Wednesday service at the White’s Ferry Road building,” said Al Robertson, a former longtime preacher for the congregation.
“I will typically talk with them about the importance of the Gospel and response to it as well as the importance of emphasizing who they are being baptized into and not who is baptizing them.”
Brandon and Jessica Hooks, along with their 3-year-old daughter, Abby, traveled to West Monroe, about 350 miles northeast of Houston, where the Robertsons welcomed them like family.
“What you see on the show is how they are,” Brandon Hooks said. “They are all down to earth.”
Kay Robertson, Phil’s wife and the family matriarch, hugged everyone, telling the Hookses, “We don’t shake hands around here.”
In front of his family and the White’s Ferry Road congregation, Hooks made his public profession of faith in Christ and was baptized by Jase Robertson.
In a small town in northeast Louisiana, Brandon Hooks’ life changed forever — not because of who baptized him, he said, but because of his decision to follow Christ.
“I know some people would say I did this just to meet them or have a famous person do it. That was not it,” Hooks said. “I wanted them to do it because I connected with them.”
After years of going to church and not feeling connected, Brandon Hooks found faith and began his journey with Christ in the most unlikely of places.