from Today's Christian

Main  |  Archives  |  Contact Us
Site Search

Great Stories of Faith, Hope, and God's Love

Subscribe to Today's Christian

People of Faith

Stories of Hope

Today's Culture

Build Your Faith

Laughing Matters

 • Every meal is romantic!
 • Once a week
 • Whenever we can
 • When the kids are away
 • On our anniversary or Valentine's Day
 • Never
 • I'm not married.
 • Other

Vote here, and see how your answer compares to others'.
Take the poll

Internet Evangelism Day
National Day of Prayer (U.S.A.)
Ascension of Jesus

Related Channels
Bible & Reference
Christian Bible Studies
Small Groups
Faith in the Workplace

"Servant's Quarters"

"Blest Be the Tie That Binds"

When I Became an Adult, I Learned to Worry

The Car Thief

"Baby, I Wouldn't Trade You for a Sow and Seven Pigs."

Home > Today's Christian > People of Faith > Profiles

Sign up for our free newsletter:

Today's Christian, January/February 2004

Taking the Lead
Actor John Schneider, one of the original "Dukes of Hazzard," uses lessons from his troubled past to point people towards a bright future.
By Kris Rasmussen

John Schneider

In order to convince producers he was perfect for the part of Bo Duke in the 1980s TV series The Dukes of Hazzard, actor John Schneider decided to adopt an "aw-shucks" Southern accent, a shambling good-ole-boy manner, and then claimed that he hailed from the tiny community of Snellville, Georgia (he was actually born in New York state and raised in Atlanta). The plan worked, and Schneider found instant fame in the form of magazine covers and Dukes of Hazzard lunch boxes during his six-year stint on the hugely successful series.

Fast forward 25 years to the present where a steady rain pours down on a dreary Monday morning in Vancouver on a movie set where the actor is working on the NBC miniseries Point Five (which premiered last fall). Schneider, 43, still has the same blonde locks and charming smile. He's still on a hit TV series (this time it's playing Clark Kent's dad on the popular WB show Smallville), and he still makes the covers of entertainment magazines, including TV Guide, which recently named Schneider one of "The Fifty Sexiest People" in television history (he scraped in at number 49). But what's different about Schneider these days is that he is now a happily married man and father of three who feels like he has gained a whole lot of wisdom from the ups and downs he has faced in the Hollywood spotlight—wisdom that God is now using to help others.

Schneider explains, "The more I think about it, the more I am amazed at the life God has spread behind me so I can further the kingdom of God here and now. I call the hard times that I have had 'Joseph experiences.' I think Joseph experiences are anything God uses from your past to prepare you to be a tool to help someone else now or in the future."

"I call the hard times that I have had 'Joseph experiences'— something God uses from your past to prepare you to be a tool to help someone else."

One of the ways God is using John's tumultuous Hollywood past is as a mentor to his younger costars on Smallville. Schneider chuckles, "I've been on TV longer than some of my costars have been alive, so I'm able to give some perspective. I'm able to tell them stories [from his Dukes days] and give them some advice. I can even point them to the Bible and tell them that is where they'll find peace."

Spiritual peace was something Schneider didn't find until after The Dukes of Hazzard went off the air and his life began unraveling both personally (a much publicized divorce) and professionally (job offers became sporadic). But in 1998 Schneider began living with Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash for a time, and it was the conversations he had with the couple that led him to say a prayer one day at the Little Brown Chapel in Studio City, California, that changed his life.

Before Johnny and June (who both passed away last year) counseled Schneider, the actor admits that his notion of Christians were of people that were "too nice." He adds, "I couldn't relate to them because nothing about their lives seemed real to me. My life was messy and imperfect, so I couldn't see where I would fit in." But Schneider claims when he heard Cash talking about his relationship with Jesus, suddenly that all changed. "It was the first time that I saw that you could say 'Jesus is Lord' and still be a man," Schneider says. "Once I realized I was part of this bigger plan, I didn't want to be a follower but a leader for the cause."

For Schneider, being a leader has included becoming more involved in charity work by helping to create the Children's Miracle Network, and by being a voice for Christian values in the entertainment industry by directing and producing new projects he feels are redemptive. Back in 2002 he directed a Christmas movie for PAX, and he currently plans to develop and direct a movie based on the popular book July, July.

He also hopes to continue playing Jonathan Kent on Smallville, a role that has a special place in his heart. "Jonathan Kent is the character I would most respect if I met him in real life. He's as close to John Wayne as you can get, and I've always wanted to play a character like that." He adds, "The Kents are a very traditional, loving family. Jonathan realizes that even though his son is Superman, if he doesn't impart values to Clark, Clark could just as easily turn out to be the most evil man in the world instead of a hero."

The cameras are ready to roll again. But before dashing off to do another take, Schneider pauses for a moment before adding one final thought: "I want people to know that God is not using me just because I am John Schneider the actor, the celebrity. God doesn't really care about that.

"God has something big for everyone. Everyone needs to look at where they are in God's plan. Not where God is in their plan, but where they are in his plan. Then move forward and take the hill!"

A Christian Reader original article. Kris Rasmussen is a writer based in Michigan.

Copyright © 2004 by the author or Christianity Today International/Today's Christian magazine (formerly Christian Reader).
Click here for reprint information.

January/February 2004, Vol. 42, No. 1, Page 67

What did you think of this story?

Please to give us your feedback.

Read more … Read more from 'People of Faith'

Browse More Today's Christian
Home  |  People of Faith  |  Stories of Hope  |  Today's Culture
Build Your Faith  |  Laughing Matters  |  Archives  |  Contact Us

Try an Issue of Today's Christian
Subscribe to Today's Christian
Street Address
E-mail Address

No credit card required. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. Offer valid in U.S. only. Click here for International orders.

If you decide you want to keep Today's Christian coming, honor your invoice for just $17.95 and receive five more issues, a full year in all. If not, simply write "cancel" across the invoice and return it. The trial issue is yours to keep, regardless.

Give Today's Christian as a gift
Buy 1 gift subscription, get 1 FREE!

FREE Newsletter
Subscribe to the Today's Christian Newsletter
   RSS Feed   RSS Help

Free Newsletter
Sign up for the free Today's Christian Newsletter:
Home CT Mag Church/Ministry Bible/Life Communities Entertainment Schools/Jobs Shopping Free! Help
Books & Culture
Christian History & Biography
Christianity Today
Church Law & Tax Report
Church Finance Today
Ignite Your Faith
Leadership Journal
Marriage Partnership
Men of Integrity
Today's Christian
Today's Christian Woman
Your Church
Christian College Guide
Christian History Back Issues
Christian Music Today
Christianity Today Movies
Church Products & Services
Church Safety
Seminary/Grad School Guide
Christianity Today International
Copyright © 2008 Christianity Today International
Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise with Us | Job Openings