“One of the hottest sensations on the internet,” according to the Huffington Post. TV host Jimmy Kimmel says, “Pretty good, right?”
Welcome to Dude Perfect, five best friends from America making a fun living out doing all manner of trick shots and putting them onto YouTube for the world to see. And the world is seeing. Their YouTube channel is closing in on 14 million subscribers and their videos have had nearly 2.4 billion views.
The best thing about them?
Well, their ability to expertly flip a water bottle onto a surface in an upright position is impressive, as is their skills with a basketball. They are very funny and their “office” is not quite your average 9-5 workplace. It’s more like a playground:
They also have a very catchy sign-off (“Pound it. Noggin!”). In fact, there is much to like about this cool gang of five, but what stands out most is their faith which infuses everything they do. Here is what they say on their website:
“A free sandwich, a simple camera, and 20 'I can do better than you' shots later, Dude Perfect was born. Obviously when that first ball swished, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but we believe that nothing happens by accident, that God’s given us this platform for a reason, and that we have an opportunity to make an impact on the lives of countless others all around the globe. Above all else, our ultimate goal is to glorify Jesus Christ in everything that we do. We want to use this platform for something much bigger than us.”
They map this out more in a ten-minute video (see below) which is effectively an evangelistic message to their army of followers. Drawing from the Bible and their respective testimonies, the five guys offer a simple and passionate presentation of the Gospel. They speak glowingly of their faith and how Jesus is their prized possession. It is an easy statement to make, perhaps even a cheesy one, but you get the sense that they really mean it. And what is wonderful to see is their evident longing to see others know Christ. “And guys, what I want more than anything is to find what you are looking for in Jesus,” says Coby Cotton, “because I am telling you, no matter where you look or no matter what you chase, He is the only one who can bring you the joy you are looking for.”
While the majority of comments below the video come from Christians encouraged by the group’s faith, there are a handful of warm responses (alongside the not so warm, which is to be expected) written by people who are not Christians. "Wow, I’m not religious at all," said one, "but its really nice to see you guys talk about your religion in a positive and not pushy way. Fair play to you. Love the videos." Another said, "I'm not a follower of Christianity, for personal reasons, but I'm so glad you found something so good and happy for yourselves. Something that feeds your soul and makes you do great things. Keep up the good work guys."
The group’s admission of their Christian faith may come as a surprise to many of their fans. Save for the odd background Christian song, all the other videos that I have seen do not allude to it at all. In the words of one fan, "I like your videos and I am glad that you don’t focus on religion in your videos." Yet in a way that is exactly what Dude Perfect are doing and it is this which makes their ministry such an important one. As Cody Jones puts it, "For us five guys, I know you see us cheering and celebrating and excited, I’m telling you right now that is an outward expression of our love for Jesus Christ." The group’s many videos brim with infectious joy. By connecting this to their faith they are powerfully demonstrating to a vast audience how much Jesus means to them.
There are times when it is right to step out and be bold in clearly declaring our faith
The internet presents an incredible platform to communicate the Gospel and yet it can be difficult to know how best to achieve this. Dude Perfect’s approach is a good reminder that there are times when it is right to step out - however that may be - and be bold in clearly declaring our faith and sharing how God is changing our lives. But as the group shows, what can make these words all the powerful is everything else that we display online. How are we interacting with others? To what extent are we being authentic and real? Are we showing that whilst life can be immensely hard there remains so much to enjoy and embrace? Are we known more for our cynicism than our joy? Do people see that good jokes and laughing at ourselves are gifts from God?
We will likely never have the platform that Dude Perfect enjoy. But if we have an online presence, we certainly have a platform. We may be surprised just how God will go on to use it.