Interview with Bryan Allain

bryan allainBryan is the author of Community Wins and 31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo. According to his website, he describes himself as a “humor writer, blog coach, and mammal.” He is incredibly witty and incredibly insightful when it comes to fostering an online community around what you do. He has written for RELEVANT, Stuff Christians Like, COLLIDE Magazine, and The Daily Beast. As I’ve said previously, Bryan has three really compelling things going for him: 1) he’s a solid Christian guy, 2) he’s a blogging stud, and 3) he’s hilarious. To promote this interview, I’ll be giving away two autographed books from Bryan. In order to enter your name into the mix for one of them you can do up to three of the following:
  1. Leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite part of this interview. ENTRY +1
  2. Tweet the link to this post (you can use the floating Twitter box to the left of your cursor on this post). ENTRY +1
  3. Share the link to this post on Facebook (tag my name on it so that I can count it) ENTRY +1
That’s three possible ways to get your name into the mix for a signed copy of one of Bryan’s books. I’ll announce the winners later next week. Tell us something odd/unique about you.
I talk to myself a lot when I’m by myself, and also, my election night tweet was named one of the 15 Most Memorable of the Election by Time Magazine!

[you can read the incredible story about that tweet here]

How does your faith shape your humor?
In some ways it shapes all of it because my faith is a huge part of who I am. In other ways it shapes none of it because I don’t sit down to write jokes and think, “Okay, what’s a good Christian joke I can write?” My humor is ultimately shaped by what I think is funny (which oftentimes isn’t funny to other people), so I’d say that my faith has more of an indirect influence on my humor than anything else.
Do you think people are born leaders or develop into leaders?
I think certain people are born with circumstances that predispose them to a higher chance of becoming a leader, whether it’s genes, environment, or how they are nurtured in their formative years. But in the end I think it comes down to development more than anything else.
31-days-to-finding-your-blogging-mojoHow can people put themselves into a position to influence culture?
Influence is a tricky thing. While it is almost always earned, it’s not always earned for the right reasons. Celebrities have a lot of influence in our culture, but does being a good actor or a good singer warrant such power? Maybe, maybe not. I most admire the influencers who have achieved that status by creating amazing things, by challenging the way we think or live, or by earning the respect of other people I admire.
Why are you a follower of Jesus Christ?
There are a few reasons, I guess. Because I believe He was who the writers of the gospels say He was. Because I believe in his core message of, “love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” Because I have seen lives changed and seemingly hopeless situations redeemed when people have put their faith and trust in Him.
What do you do personally to fuel your spiritual life?
I have a One Year Bible that I read from six days a week. (I’m going through it at a slower pace though, so it will probably take me four years.) I follow that up with a prayer time where I try to reset my priorities by connecting with God. My default every morning is to live for me, so I need that time to try and reorient myself. (Some days it works better than others.) I’m also on the leadership team at a great local church that gives me opportunities to serve and connect with others.
What is your hope for the future of the Church in America?
I’m probably not the right person to answer this because I don’t think of it that often. I think the more churches focus on Jesus and the gospel, and serving others, the brighter the future is.
Should we abandon the use of the word “Christian” for a better term? If so, what?
I’m okay with the word as a noun. I realize there are connotations that go along with it, but if calling me a Christian implies that I am a follower of Christ, then I am okay with it. I’m not the first one to say this, but my beef is with using “Christian” as an adjective. I just think it’s a bad path to start going down when we start labeling things as “Christian”.
community winsWhat blogs/websites do you regularly check?
My email, my book sales, my fantasy sports teams, my bank account, my facebook, and my twitter. As for other people, I like to keep tabs on Bill Simmons’ Twitter, Ben Arment’s blog,,, Pat Flynn at, Shawn Smucker, TrippandTyler.TV, and what’s going on in the world of the Catalyst Conference.
Which books have shaped your thinking?
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau, SeinLanguage by Jerry Seinfeld, The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson, Rework by Jason Fried and his co-author with the long name, Ant Farm by Simon Rich, Free Range Chickens by Simon Rich, The E-Myth by Michael Gerber, and a bunch more I can’t think of right now.
What music moves you?
Derek Webb, Phoenix, Hillsong United, Taylor Swift, Jared Anderson, Mumford, Coldplay, Regina Spektor, and a bunch more I can’t think of right now.
Any other thoughts or advice?
Do the work it takes to figure out how to be you in the spaces you inhabit. If you’re a blogger, work hard to develop that blogging voice that is authentically you. If you’re a musical artist, develop the skills you need to be able to express your true voice in a way that sounds amazing. If you’re a fitness instructor, teacher, builder, or whatever the same thing applies. Work hard, be yourself, and stay passionate about the things that move you. When you do that you’ll attract the right people to be a part of your community, and you’ll enjoy what you’re doing like never before.

Click here to read more Off the Record interviews.

UPDATE 12-5-12

The winners for the autographed copy of Bryan’s brand new book Actually Clams are Miserable are Hamish (from Twitter: @1HamishOZ) and Dave Knutson (from leaving a comment)! Congrats to both of you and thanks for participating!

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Jeremy Jernigan

Speaker | Author | Founder of Communion Wine Co.