When we’re on long road trips, my wife and I like to play “Top 5” games to pass the time.  For example, I’ll say something along the lines of, “What are your top 5 romantic comedies of all times?”  or “What are the top 5 worst pick up lines you’ve ever heard?”

The top 5 topic that almost always makes it into our discussion is, “Who are the top 5 celebrities you’d like to have over for dinner?” (Note: We would always be open to going to their house too)  Without a doubt, Tom Hanks and Oprah almost always make it into my wife’s top 5 list.

Which got me thinking…

If I were going to make a top 5 list of Christian “celebrities” I’d like to have coffee with it would be…

Matt Chandler, Author and Lead Pastor of the Village Church

I’ve always admired Matt’s passion to preach the Gospel and truth in love no matter the cost. I’ve enjoyed his teaching for several years to the point that we contemplated moving to Texas back during the economic crisis…but only if I lost my job which I didn’t. Nevertheless, I have grown to appreciate Matt’s pointed messages, his humor and his personality over the years.

He’s said and written some profound things over the years like…

“The marker of those who understand the gospel of Jesus Christ is that, when they stumble and fall, when they screw up, they run to God and not from him, because they clearly understand that their acceptance before God is not predicated upon their behavior but on the righteous life of Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death.”

“Love says: I’ve seen the ugly parts of you, and I’m staying.”

I’d probably ask Matt a lot about some of my theological questions as well as the Acts 29 Network. And we’d probably talk about marriage and parenting since we’re in the same life stage too.

Check out some of Matt’s books:

Mat Kearney

The funny thing about Mat Kearney is that the last time we saw him in concert, my wife said, “I think that I could be friends with Mat Kearney.” What’s not to love about Mat’s story-telling, catchy riffs and raspy voice? While some of his earlier material like “Undeniable” and “Bullet” caught my attention, “All I Have” is one of my favorite songs he’s written. Listen for yourself.

And when Chip Kelly was threatening to leave Oregon, our whole family started singing and humming, “Chip don’t go…” If Annie, Mat’s wife came along, then for sure I’d have to bring my wife. Then I’d imagine we’d talk about the Oregon Ducks, songwriting, and the Northwest. I’m guessing my wife would ask about their wedding and how they met…relationship matters.

Joel Houston

I love Jesus. I really like Hillsong United and Joel Houston’s songwriting ability. I can only imagine the number of Hillsong songs I’ve sung over the years thanks to Joel. “With Everything” has definitely been my favorite song written and performed by Joel and Hillsong United band. Check it out:

While I did get a chance to meet Joel and the Hillsong United crew here in Des Moines several years ago, we never got to have a cup of coffee together. Being that my wife has a degree in fashion merchandising, she’d totally be interested in talking with Joel’s lovely wife, Esther Lima. I’d ask him about surfing, rugby, traveling and leading worship while the ladies talked about the latest fall fashion trends and raising sons. (Esther and Joel have a son named Zion)

Francis Chan

The first time I read “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan was during the economic crisis, right after we had moved here in Des Moines. I felt like I got kicked in the stomach with conviction as I ate every word that Francis wrote in that book. Take a look for yourself…

“But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

I’d ask Francis about his break-dancing ability, why he left Cornerstone Community Church, and learn about his writing process. I’d also like his perspective on how we can turn around the “lukewarmness” attitude plaguing our churches.

Check out Francis Chan’s other books:

Marty Mar and Fern of Social Club

I like that Marty Mar and Fern of Social Club like Slurpees from 7-11, but I have no idea if they drink coffee. I’m guessing they do based on a busy travel schedule and late nights entertaining hip hop loving fans. If I actually had coffee with these guys, there’s no doubt I’d need to bring my 3 kids with me too who genuinely love these guys. We got a chance to meet them earlier this year at Zeke’s in Ames, Iowa and they totally blessed my children…especially my 9 year-old son, Jonah. I love Social Club because my boys love Social Club and because God is using them to write His promises and truths on my kids’ hearts. Their music is catchy but it’s filled with Biblical truth. And they are the most down-to-earth musicians I’ve ever met. I’d ask them about the Misfit movement sweeping the country and the stories they hear from teenagers and college students. And I’d ask them what Benjamin Trillington means.

Watch this video of Social Club performing “Cops” and you’ll see why I’d want to hang with these guys.  It’s a Pizza Party YO!

Top 5 Christian Celebrities Honorable Mentions: NF, Andy Mineo, Lecrae and Billy Graham.

Erik Carlson, is the founder of Lighten Up Gear and Bald Tees. By day, he manages the digital marketing efforts of a large manufacturing brand. By night, he’s dreaming up shirt designs, playing the guitar and singing. And 24/7/365 he’s following Christ and loving on his wife and 3 children.

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