Jon Acuff, the Man Behind “Stuff Christians Like”, Is Starting Over

Image: Jeremy Cowart
Image: Jeremy Cowart

The funny man, former Dave Ramsey team member, and self-development expert is on to his next gig.

If you want a sense of Jon Acuff’s career path, look no further than the titles of his three best-selling books. Quitter, Start, and Do Over hint at the Nashville writer’s surprise resignation from financial guru Dave Ramsey’s team. Now the man behind the website Stuff Christians Like is using his platform to dispense business advice infused with Christian wisdom.

From a cubicle he dreamed of escaping, Acuff watched Stuff Christians Like develop a devoted following with its spot-on satire about modest side hugs and worship leaders who wear deep V-neck tees. Seven years later, he’s a nationally known author and speaker, giving readers practical steps to pursue right now the dreams they’d put off for “someday.”

A smiley guy with a slight faux-hawk, the 39-year-old former ad copywriter hasn’t left his comic roots. With a quarter million followers, his Twitter feed alternates between inspiration (“Beware the temptation to ask money for things it simply can’t give you: an identity, a purpose, a sense of internal worth”) and random one-liners (“The number of Cheetos I can eat in one sitting is exactly equal to the number of Cheetos that are within arm’s reach”).

Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck, released last month by Portfolio, is Acuff’s first book with a mainstream publisher. The same Penguin imprint is responsible for titles by marketing innovator Seth Godin and former Apple “chief evangelist” Guy Kawasaki. Godin himself called Acuff’s Do Over “the best career book ever written.”

Acuff is among a number of Christian leaders mixing professional development principles with discipleship and vocation. Former Thomas Nelson publisher Michael Hyatt, leadership coach Jenni Catron, Blue Like Jazz author Donald Miller, writer Jeff Goins, and others instruct devotees on how to set goals, market oneself, build healthy teams, network, and steward time efficiently.

“There was some hesitance to use business thinking,” said Matt Perman, former director of strategy at Desiring God and author of What’s Best Next. “However, we started learning from it because we saw a lot of it was speaking truthfully.” Conferences such as Bill Hybels’s Global Leadership Summit and Brad Lomenick’s Catalyst were among the first large-scale settings to introduce such principles to evangelical leaders, said Perman.

A Southern Baptist pastor’s kid, Acuff infuses his advice with his go-getter attitude. He tells readers they don’t have to settle for a job they dread and offers practical steps to find passion in their daily work. His taglines include “Punch Fear in the Face” and “Build a Better Monday.” He wants people to actually enjoy their jobs, for the sake of themselves, their employers, and their witness in the world of business.

In Do Over, Acuff addresses people who feel stuck in their jobs—up to 70 percent of US workers, according to recent Gallup polls. It’s a message inspired by his own experience leaving Ramsey’s team, a position he once called his “dream job.”

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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Kate Shellnutt

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