The Power of Your Story with Fanchon Stinger
In today’s show, Ray is joined by Emmy-winning news anchor Fanchon Stinger to discuss her illustrious career in the media, including her earliest dreams of working in news, her life-changing experiences at Ground Zero after 9/11, and how she almost left the industry under devastating circumstances.
Fanchon Stinger is the evening news anchor for Fox 59 News in Indianapolis. She is the Executive Producer, anchor, and reporter of the Community Hero series highlighting people who make a difference in central Indiana. Over the course of her career, she has won 15 Emmy awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Associated Press-Michigan named her the Best Reporter in 2000. Stinger serves on many non-for-profit boards in her community and is a popular motivational speaker.
“Who you are professionally has to be directly related to the depth of your relationship with Christ.”
“You have to be vigilant and unapologetic about protecting your relationship with Christ.”
“The deeper your faith, the more you can trust Him; and then the more you can trust Him, the more He can give you to trust Him for.”
1. Are you working in the place where God has you?
2. News is a product of social media and attention span.
3. The power of the media has the power to transform.
4. You must be vigilant to protect your testimony and God-given platform.
5. Don’t let anyone tell your story.
Ray: Hello everyone, this is Ray Hilbert. I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith where we love to bridge the gap between faith and leadership in the marketplace. I am so pumped about our program today. If you’re a regular listener to the program, you know, we get a chance to interview a lot of people that I don’t really know that well, but I’m so respectful of and admire their accomplishments. Well, this is an exception because this is one of my dearest friends in life, in the studio today. You all are going to be so blessed and so encouraged. We’re going to talk today with Fanchon Stinger.
Let me give you just a little bit of background on Fanchon. And in addition to just being a very dear friend to my wife and I, Fanchon for the past eight years has been the evening news anchor at Fox 59 news here in Indianapolis. Prior to that, had a stellar career in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan, and by the way, you’re going to hear today, she is a University of Michigan Wolverine graduate, right? We might hear, I might just sing, but I won’t. We might just sing, but in all seriousness, she is a 15 time Emmy award winner over her long and prestigious newscast career. Several years ago, won the AP Michigan best reporter award. She has won many awards for her coverage years ago at 9/11 and listen to this, she won the U.S. Department Health and Human Services highest award, their Inspector General’s integrity award for her news coverage and skillset.
In addition to that, Fanchon is extraordinarily involved in the Indianapolis community, serves on several boards and also with several ministries across the country. But most important, you need to understand Fanchon has a deep love for Jesus Christ. Fanchon, welcome to Bottom Line Faith.
Fanchon: This is so exciting to be here and, I’m a little intimidated today on this side of the microphone. I know my dear friends, so one of my dearest in the world. So I’m excited to, you know, I’m excited to just share. Because I don’t often, being a newscaster, get to just share from my heart. So this is exciting for me as well.
Ray: Yeah, fantastic. Well, we’re going to learn about your faith, we’re going to learn how you live out your faith and so forth. But I’d love to start with a part of this conversation. You and I get to talk just as friends, right? And we have these phone calls about what’s going on in the news and everything else. And it’s been an interesting news cycle for the last few years.
Fanchon: Of course.
Ray: Why don’t you take just a moment and give us some behind the scenes. What is it like for you as a follower of Christ working in the news business? What’s the culture in the news world like? You know, and entertainment arts and all that, but for you as a follower of Christ, what’s that like for you?
Fanchon: You just jumped right in and really deep question. I love it. The responsibility I feel especially being a follower of Christ is even greater because in the news business, as with the entertainment business as a whole, there is an undercurrent that doesn’t necessarily lift up godly principles, godly way of living, godly way of thinking, and a godly way of acting. So when decisions are being made, when conversations are being had, even behind the scenes, I have to always be thinking about my walk, my testimony and how I’m even treating people from a godly standpoint. And sometimes that can create conflict. And when that happens, then it comes back to, as a godly woman, how do I even handle the conflict in the environment that we’re in today? The way news is disseminated, the way information is weaponized and the way information is used in some cases, not in all cases, but in some cases. It always comes back to, I tell young people especially, the depth of your relationship with the Lord, because in a society and in a culture where truth is up to anyone’s imagination, right now our society tells us you can believe your truth.
You can believe what you want to believe, and that is celebrated. We have to figure out what our anchor is and for believers, our anchor has to be the gospel and it has to be the word of Christ and Proverbs. And I always tell young people, Proverbs gives you a how to, of how to handle every, just about every situation in life and the direct correlation between the depth. Every relationship with Christ is going to correlate to how you live that out in the marketplace. And I live that out every single day with how I tell news, how I treat people, how far am I willing to go to make sure information is factual, to make sure it’s accurate, to make sure that certain information is not being omitted, to make sure that I’m watching what’s going on and not just getting my information from news wires because news wires can be biased as well. So I think that the intensity of it and the pressure is more than I have ever experienced and I’ve been in this business 24 years.
Ray: A couple of things come to mind as I’m listening to what you’re sharing here is it feels to me like the news cycle is shorter and shorter. At least it feels that way as we’re recording, you know, major hurricane has just come through the U.S. and just a few weeks ago into the Carolinas and it feels like we’re already onto the next story, right? Major devastation. But it just feels like, okay, what’s the next thing we’re going to cover? So a follower of Christ, there’s nothing more longterm than eternity and a relationship with our Lord and Creator. How does that work for you as a follower of Christ in a very short new cycle industry?
Fanchon: I love that question and I hadn’t even really thought about that until you said that. But right now news has become a product of social media and a product of people’s attention spans. When I first got in this business, everything was about the news. It was about telling stories. It was about going in depth with headlines. When social media jumped onto the scene, we got the 144 character. I call a deadline or our constraint because now as people, as we’ve gotten more automated, as things have gotten more instant gratification centered, people’s attention spans are so short. So because of that, you will see headlines that are meant to grab your attention. They’re not meant always to give you the actual facts. They’re meant to get your interest and then for you to click, or for you to read, or for you to watch.
So when you talk about like a hurricane, you talk about things that impact people. It’s going to be video, it’s going to be sound. It’s going to be, what am I going to get to get people’s attention? Because we know that we only, I would say about three seconds, you have a three second window really to grab someone. They’re going to make that instantaneous decision. Am I going to click, read further, or what am I going to do with that headline? So as a believer, that can be a hurdle, but it can also, the way I look at it as a challenge, it has made me a better writer, okay? Because you have to be more concise and you have to be more creative in how you get important information in a short period of time. But it also can be a positive because it accentuates the importance of personal stories.
And I always feel as though my platform, the Lord has put me here as part of a ministry. So I have the awesome opportunity as a believer to really, a lot of times I end up telling people’s testimonies. Testimonies of overcoming, testimonies of faith, testimonies of encouragement. So if I can help the viewer connect with someone on a personal level in a short period of time, I don’t know the impact that could have; it could have endless impact. So it’s difficult, yes. And it’s kind of a sad function of where we’ve come. Cause if you don’t have that mindset, then you’re going to go more sensationalistic. You’re going to go more in terms of the grit, you know, sex sells, all of those things. So again, that goes back to the depth of your relationship with Christ and what is your purpose and what is your underlying motivation. And you can translate that to any industry: a doctor, a lawyer, anywhere you serve, wherever your mission field is. That translates.
Ray: Well, one of the things that you know, living here in Indianapolis, getting to watch you in your career as the newscaster here. One of the things I’ve really appreciated is you have made a lot of intentional effort to bring good news, positive stories, uplifting stories. You know, the gospel means good news, right? And yet that is an antithesis of what we see in news. It’s always bad. You were talking about the headlines and so can you speak to the role your faith plays in importance of bringing good news stories and how you try to live that out?
Fanchon: Well, think about what you just said. The gospel is the good news and think about the power of the transformational power of the gospel. So when I look at news and I look at the power of the media, I am very aware of the fact that the power of the media has the power to transform people’s ideas, thoughts, hearts, beliefs. And so if you take that lightly, you could do a lot of damage. But as a believer, if I take that and use it for the glory of God, think about the power I can have to reach people. I’ve been able to tell stories about people who’ve told me stories about sitting there contemplating suicide in a minute, and then the next thing they know, they hear the voice of God out of nowhere, maybe not even a strong believer, and they can tell that story.
There may be someone else listening to that who’s contemplating suicide, who hears the love of Christ through that story. That’s transformational power. So I think that as a believer, being very intentional about that and being very aware of what I’m saying and how I’m telling stories. I think about that every single day, probably more so than anything else and advocating effects the way we tell stories has on our young people. I do a segment every month, the community hero where we go out and we highlight people who are doing amazing things in our community, the ordinary people doing ordinary things, but they’re having a positive impact. So you can either choose to use media to uplift, to challenge, to encourage, to inspire, or you can use the media to talk about the mugshots, talk about all the negative things that are going on.
My personal belief is when you turn me on at night, you really don’t want me to hear you talking about all the bad things going on in the world. So I try and find a way to, yes, tell you what’s important. But even if there’s something negative, Hey, let’s look at the problem we have in our community and let’s look at a way we can come together as a collective community and maybe solve some problems, uplift some people, give young people hope. Let’s look into that. Look at it that way.
Ray: There you go. So have you always had this influence of your faith in your reporting, or was there something that happened for you and your journey that turned this on for you? What I’m really asking you is give us your background and your faith story.
Fanchon: Right. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Well I grew up in a Christian home and I was so blessed to have a dad especially who taught me the importance of prayer and who taught me and my, both of my parents were believers and taught me that, Hey, you can do anything. And I went to schools that advocated that you were all put here for a godly purpose. So I was lucky in that respect. That was always reinforced throughout my life. When I decided to go into journalism, I was 15. And looking back, I know now that was God igniting what he put in me. That’s where he wanted me to be. I didn’t understand why, but I was very introverted. And when I first, I still am very introverted. Oh yeah.
Ray: I’ll take your word for it.
Fanchon: I am. When I’m in public, it drains me and when I, you know what I mean? And being an introvert, if you’ve studied people who are introverts, if there’s a passion and there’s a mission, they can come out of that introverted state for that purpose and be okay. And that is my life. I was very quiet in school, didn’t speak probably at all and I always worried and wondered, well, what God, what is my purpose on this earth? So I didn’t have the actual boldness, but I had a very bold mom. My mom pushed me in the front, go do this, talk to this person, do this, and I would, it was a struggle. It still is. Sometimes I’ve learned to overcome it, but I’ll get back to the point. When I got into this business, I was always very aware that this was a ministry for me. I went into journalism thinking I want to do good, I want to work for the Lord in journalism.
Throughout my career I had a lot of success very quickly and that was a function of the Lord having his hand on my career, but also me working very diligently because I was so hyperfocused and I did not have the boldness I have today. Earlier in my career, a lot of that happened at 9/11 when I was sent to ground zero and I was terrified. The country did not know what was happening. They sent me in. As soon as that first tower fell, we drove from Detroit to New York City. I was the last crew allowed onto Manhattan to go down into the area. And as I spent that entire week there and I saw the devastation, I saw the heartache, I saw the brokenness in a sense. The Lord put me there to kind of break me out of the need or the thought that I had to be this reporter.
What I thought a reporter was, I have to tell these stories from this reporter, quote unquote stance, because emotion was so overwhelming. So it ended up being me praying with family members on the street because they were just in a daze looking for their family and friends, which I knew weren’t coming out cause I’d been down in there. So I knew that they weren’t coming back out, seeing the wall of prayer, seeing what hate can do in terms of what we were looking at, the destruction. And it taught me in a very traumatic way to tell stories from that standpoint and to not care about boundaries, to let people see me being vulnerable, talking to a dad who just lost his son. He doesn’t know where his son is, and he’s begging me to help him find his son and giving me pictures. And he’s about to have a nervous breakdown and I’d have to stop, put the microphone down, pray with him and give him encouragement. God’s never going to leave you. He promises us that he will never leave us or forsake us. You’re going to get through this, you know, and watching how we can come together as a community that taught me how to really let go and really dive into my stories and to feel what people feel.
Ray: I don’t know. I’m emotional just listening. I mean it’s still real. I mean, it’s just, you know, and I see, and as I know you, you bring this everyday with you and it’s authentic. And this isn’t just a position that’s just, is it a posture?
Fanchon: And personally in my life. I mean the Lord has taken me through so many amazing things and they haven’t all been good. I mean, I’ve had to learn some hard lessons in terms of shoring up my faith, understanding who I can and cannot let into my personal space. And when you get a lot of, and I, you know, I always talk to young professionals, when you are grinding in your career and you get a lot of success very fast, you also have to realize, especially if you’ve taken a stand to be here for Christ, that the enemy is right there on the corner looking to take you out and looking to destroy your testimony. And in the beginning of my career, I was too lax with the people who I would hang out with. Oh, it’s okay. I can just hang out with anyone. No, I can’t. Then you know, the company, I mean, the relationships I had to learn. And because I’m a focus person, God had to take me through some things to show me how vigilant you have to be in protecting the testimony and the platform that God gave you. And that goes for any career, any person.
Ray: So as you look back over the course of your career, what encouragement or advice would you have for someone who’s listening to this conversation who is in a high profile position? They have a lot of success by the world’s standards. What encouragement would you have for them right now?
Fanchon: I would say, and this is something that David A.R. White, one of the cofounders of Pure Flix shared with me. Cause I asked him that question when I interviewed him before. And it’s so true. If you have a relationship with Jesus, you have everything in all bold, you have everything for young people. If you’re getting into a career and you have a relationship with Jesus and he’s put you there and you’re walking in the path that he’s given you, you have everything you need to be successful because what’s going to happen, and even if you’re at the highest levels of being a CEO and every single day you’re getting messages that you’re not good enough. You’re not measuring up in this place, in this area. You’re not serving these people that you know the numbers, the bottom line, we’re not making. We’re not making it.
If you are walking and your steps are ordered by the Lord each and every single day, and the gospel is your compass, you have everything you need because the world is going to tell you this. You don’t know enough people, young people. You’ve got to get out there and you’ve got to network more. You’ve got to meet more people. You’ve got to get another degree. You don’t. The message is you’re not good enough and whatever way they try and make you believe that you’re not successful enough. There’s another notch you’ve got to get. You’re the CEO. Well, we’re not at the top, we’re not this, but are you working in the place where God has you? That’s the question. And whatever you need to be successful, God’s going to give you that. And he’s going to give you the guidance to get where he wants you to be. So that has to be our focus. I have to be working where God puts me, and if he wants me to go left, I’m going left. He wants me to go right. And so it’s the ability to tune out that negative noise and to be so deeply rooted in your relationship with Christ that you hear his voice and know his voice when his voice speaks to your soul. And to know that. And I think that goes for any success level.
Ray: Starting to make a little sense to me here, a few weeks ago I had a chance to interview Dayton Moore, the General Manager of the Kansas City Royals. And I remember him saying that comparison is the thing that Satan loves to use to destroy God’s children. And then just recently we interviewed a fellow named Dan Miller, a three time a New York times bestselling author and he grew up in the same church and kind of as a competitor to Dave Ramsey and Dan’s company is a company of one and then, you know, here’s Dave’s company; thousand employees and he said it would be real easy and tempting for me to compare what I’m doing to what Dave is doing. And so here you are reminding us again of the importance of walking in that lane and in that place that God has uniquely called us. And that’s enough.
Fanchon: That’s enough. That’s all you need because enemies, that’s exactly what he does. He compares you and I, whenever I mentor young people, my first question always is, cause they will come to me with, well I have this contract. Tell me over, I have to make this decision. My first question beyond any of that stuff, what’s your relationship with the Lord like? And how someone answers that question tells me a lot about how I’m going to mentor them and where I’m going to start with them. Because especially in my business, it’s a very subjective business. I can walk into a studio and they can tell me, well, you’re just not what we’re looking for. You’re just not really good at this, or you don’t have the right look or this or that. If I don’t know who I am in Christ and why I’m doing this, that can destroy me.
I can walk into the same day, same, you know, environment to another studio. And they tell me, Oh my gosh, you’re the best thing since sliced bread. We want it to spend millions of dollars on you and promote you and dah, dah, dah, dah. It could be the same day. And if I’m getting my worth and my value and my direction from the world like that, I will be an emotional wreck. So I think, going back to your original question, if you have a relationship with Jesus, a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ, you have everything. And when you look at life from that standpoint, then your focus becomes growing deeper in your faith. The deeper your faith, the more you can trust him and then the more you can trust, and the more than he can give you to trust him for.
Ray: Yeah, thank you. That is just such, not only a great reminder, but it’s such truth, such truth. And so, you know, as I read in your opening bio and I thought, I didn’t have time to get into everything that you had been able to accomplish 15 time Emmy award winner, multiple national awards, amazing career, but you had to have had some low points along the way when your faith just was the thing that got you through. Whether it be an example of a time in your career when you were, you know, discouraged, frustrated, maybe borderline depressed where you knew all you had to hold on to is your faith. What was that like? What happened and how’d that work?
Fanchon: When I alluded to, you know, understanding how real spiritual warfare is and that when you stamp as a believer, the enemy wants to take you out. And again, I said, you know, I had a lot of success in my career very quickly and I worked really hard, but I didn’t understand how deep that warfare was. I let wrong people around me and I’m just going to fast forward through. I don’t want to get into all the details. I mean one day, maybe I’ll write about that, but I got to a point where my career was almost destroyed.
Ray: Is that right?
Fanchon: In a very public way. And my character was questioned, my decisions were questioned and the truth was manipulated. I watched that happen to me by people who were very close to me. And at that point, everything that I worked for, everything that I thought of, a lot of it was because I was not diligent in making decisions that I should have been making along the way before that happened.
And a lot of times when we get distracted, we allow ourselves to get strapped. We can just think, well, it’s really not that big of a deal. Everything is a really big deal. And the Lord was with me. He warned me. He showed me before things and I kept thinking, well, no, it can’t be that bad. Oh no, it’s not really that serious. So what happened was a consequence of me not listening to the Lord’s guidance and direction and thinking I can, it’ll be okay. And he was really doing that. I have love and protection for me. So what I went through, I would not wish on anyone, but I’m so happy because it forced my faith to go so much deeper now. And I don’t compromise on anything, never will. The Lord tells me to go. I’m going. So at that point, my career and my name was attacked.
But because I had been diligent in my faith, in my work prior to that, everyone who knew me knew that something didn’t seem right, didn’t add up. And when God tells us, vengeance is his, I cannot, if I can convey one of many big things is let the Lord handle those things. Because I could have came out and I could have handled that in a very different, ungodly way because I was justified. Because there were a lot of things that were done and said that were wrong, and there were complete lies, and I handled it legally. I went and got, you know, good attorneys, but I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to even go back into news because of it. I tried to leave. I started a company. I did very well. I ended with my company. I worked, did some work in Washington with the Pentagon, with contracts and things like that, and I was very blessed with that.
But the Lord then at one point told me, I want you to go back into it, and I understand today why. Because I came back into it with completely different mindset, much wiser. And the boldness you see today is because of what God put me through. I remember the day sitting in my bedroom thinking, these people want to take me out. They want to destroy my career and end it. Lord, I’m going to trust you. I’m going to pick myself up and I’m going to get up every day cause I wasn’t working for about a two year period in the media at that time. And I’m going to get myself into the gym because that’s how I keep myself from getting depressed. I’m going to get into the Word and I’m going to trust the Lord to handle this. And he vindicated every single thing, and he gave me a different platform.
So that grew my faith in ways I can never even express. But it also showed me how cunning and how evil the enemy is and what the enemy uses or what the enemy means for our destruction. God can take that, turn it around, and use it for our good and to lift us up and give us an even higher platform or even higher purpose. And I watched the Lord do that. And coming out of that, I made one commitment to the Lord that I can say that I’ve never gone back on. And my commitment to him was, Lord, I will never ever hesitate in doing what you tell me to do. Never again. And the Lord has asked me to allow hard things as you know. You know, but I have no trepidation, and moving and stepping how God leads me because of that.
And when I came to Indianapolis, it was because of that. It didn’t make sense for me to come here, but somehow the Lord was telling me I should be here and I walked away from a very lucrative business. I walked away from a lot of different opportunities and I came here in complete faith and had I not, I don’t know where I would be today because the Lord did not bring me here for my job. It was for my spiritual growth and the friends that I have and the family that I’ve been able to establish here. And you’re part of that and how we don’t have the luxury of questioning when God tells us something. But I know what it’s like to fight depression. I noticed like to be publicly ridiculed. I know what it’s like to have information twisted and used against you.
I know what it’s like to be attacked. And when I was asked to come and work in this station, I was very clear to them. They knew a lot about what happened and they knew the injustice that happened and it was made right and legally, and then the Lord took it and made it right. But I was very clear with them. I said, if you want me to come here, I just want you to know I’m a Christian and it’s not I’m a Christian one day and I come to work and I’m a different person. Like that’s who I am. That is the standpoint from where I tell stories. That’s how I talk to people. When I speak in public, that’s how I speak. I’m going to share my story and that is my story. And I’m not going to be, I can’t be anything else. So if you are uncomfortable with that, trust me, I’m not the person you want to hire. I thought for sure, right, that we’re going to want to hire me cause I didn’t want to come. And they were like, Oh great. You know, but that’s where the person you see today, the boldness that I have today. It’s because of that experience. And it was awful. It was very traumatic. But I’m so grateful for it.
Ray: So there’s a couple of things that I’m hearing, really profound seasons or experiences that have shaped you. One, you talked about 9/11 and just the whole compassion and really being that voice of encouragement. And then secondly, you experienced personally the power of negative media, the power of falsehoods and sensationalism.
Fanchon: And how people can take half truths and turn them and shape and change a person’s perception. And it’s intentional. So when we talk about a lot of things we’ve talked about today, I’m very sensitive to the ethics of journalism and the responsibility that we have to not just tell information and facts, but to make sure we’re telling complete facts, complete information. People have choice and we have freedom to choose and believe what we want to believe. But my responsibility as a journalist is to give you as much information that I can so that you can make an educated decision. If I’m not doing that, then I need to check myself and my integrity and my ethics. And if I’m omitting things, sometimes you’ll miss them. Information can be even more damaging than the information that’s there.
Ray: Okay. So I’m going to try something I’ve never done on any of our interviews. And so let’s imagine right now, Fanchon, that somebody listening to this conversation, they’re in business, they’re a leader and maybe they’re, you know, they’re getting a lot of negative reviews on Yelp or maybe, you know, lot of negative social media going around about their company, their reputation or whatever. And I’m, you know, I’m this person, I’m listening and I know that it’s not true. I just know it’s not true. You’re the person being, I’m the one being attacked and negative things and you know, my company’s under attack. Maybe I’ve got a former employee who is out spreading all those on Glass Door, whatever the case is. Cause that’s the day and age in which we live. So I’ve never in any of our conversations to this point on Bottom Line Faith, I’ve never really had this kind of opportunity and story with someone who that publicly has been disparaged as you. You what advice, what steps, what encouragement would you have for that person that knows they’re being falsely attacked?
Fanchon: Two things come to mind is when I was going through that. Aretha Franklin, she’s from Detroit too, and working the Detroit media. She became a very dear friend and she reached out to me and she said one thing to me, she said, dear, and she’s so sweet. She said, don’t ever let anyone tell your story. You tell your story. And she encouraged me to grab a hold of the narrative, meaning put my story out there. The website that you were on, I need to, I actually need to update. That was the website came out of that conversation with her. The story that I put on there about what happened and all those things came out of that conversation with her and she taught me a very valuable lesson because you do feel like it’s out of control. I’m powerless against all these voices that are going on.
And the second thing I would say, and this is going back to again why the cornerstone of who you are professionally has to be directly related to the depth of the relationship with Christ. I cannot say that enough times because if you are operating each and every single day based on that and Christ’s example, your daily interactions with people, even when there’s conflict, even when things come up in business, it’s always going to exude Christ. And when you do that, as I saw in this situation, people are going to come to your defense and say, well, hey, I’ve dealt with this person here, here, here, and here and this is how they’ve always treated me. This is how they’ve always acted. This is the person that I know and an army will form that will become your kind of backup in your ambassadors and then probably being a Christ follower, you are probably going to, I know I would probably reach out to the people who were saying these things, if I haven’t done something to harm you, please let me know.
Please forgive me. What do you know? What can we do to, what can I do to make this right? And that will disarm a lot of those negative naysayers because again, you’re operating from Christ’s example, but if you are, if your relationship is not deep enough and things like that come, you panic and you go into flesh responding out of the flesh mode and responding out of emotion and responding out of I just have to fix it rather than the, you know, grabbing onto the depth of that Christ like relationship, praying first Lord, how do I handle this? How do I trust you through this? Even though it looks like my company is about to go out, God can use that to lift her company higher, make it even bigger. But you got to go to the steps that he’s helped you to go through. You know, so it’s never letting, never giving the power of your story completely over to someone else.
Ray: And as you’re speaking on that topic, Fanchon, I’m thinking that I’m looking at how did Jesus handle his persecution, right? When he was standing before Pontius Pilot, and he was being accused and he knew, right? None of it was true. And he just said, you know, unless you were given this authority by someone else, you wouldn’t even be in position to ask
Fanchon: And think about this too. Someone told me this just recently at the last supper, Jesus was sitting there and he took the bread and the wine and he said, one of you is going to betray me and think about what he did next. He reached to his left and gave it to Judas knowing he had to know at that moment, what Judas was thinking, what Judas was going to do, and Judas was sitting right next to him. How many of us could have done that knowing that that person was going to be responsible for us being crucified? So we have to remember that I, you know, it’s hard. I’m human. I’m not always the best, but we have to remember that.
Ray: That’s right. That’s right. Ooh, this is fun. I am having fun. My ears are pinned back. Got a lot of notes and it’s not only fun just talking to a dear friend, but this is such substance, you know, just your journey and your story. There’s a lot of great content here. So as we kind of segue into the, toward the tail end of our conversation here, Fanchon and I, if you could go back and think, and maybe it was some of the information, like you’d mentioned Aretha Franklin shared with you, but if you could go back and think about what’s the best advice you were ever given, what was the advice? Who gave it to you and how does that impact you yet today?
Fanchon: The best advice I was ever given was when I was 15 years old. I was shadowing the main anchor in Detroit. He was a Christian. Which God put him right in front of me at that point. He sat me down in his office and he said, I can tell you’re a Christian young lady. He said, if you want to really do this and you really want to do this business, well never compromise your values, your principles for anyone or anything. I didn’t understand at that point how important what he said was, especially going into what I went through through my career today. That was probably the most valuable piece of information. And then second to that would be what Dave A.R. White told me. If you ever release it with Jesus, you have everything. And if I could, I just beg young people, I beg all of us, whatever, wherever you are in your career, please just think about the power of that.
Ray: So on that note, why don’t you tell us how that conversation came about? You’re very humble about this. You’re like a movie star.
Fanchon: Well, no, I’m not. No, I’m sorry. I, well, you know, David A.R. White spoke at the Truth At Work Conference in 2014 and prior to that I did an interview with him talking about his, how he started Pure Flix Entertainment, which is Christian, faith based streaming content, entertainment content. Sign up if you want to make sure your family is seeing. And over the years, he and I just kept in touch and not even really talking, but just on Twitter, you know, I’d retweet some of his Scriptures and he, you know, comment on some of my things and one day I’m sitting in a meeting and I’m going through a trial and I’m thinking, okay Lord, I just need you to guide me.
And he texted me in a meeting, Hey, I might have something for you in GND three. I’m thinking, what does that mean? Well, like email me. So he asked me to be in God’s Not Dead: A Light in the Darkness. The third installment of that movie. And it was such an honor because I really truly believe in the mission, in the ministry that they have and reaching the globe for Christ and that is my mission in my ministry, in my little mission field that the Lord has given me. But to be able to have an opportunity to join forces with them on that project and some others is just a true honor, and it’s a testimony to where God can take you. It does not matter how you started. It doesn’t matter what valleys you go through, it doesn’t matter where God takes you.
If you just remember everything that he allows in our life is meant to refine us, to make us better, to bring us closer to him. You will be amazed at where he will take. I would have never guessed that would be part of that movie. I’d be able to experience some of what I’ve had to experience and that goes for so much of my career. I’m just a living testimony and my testimony and my message is if God can use me, how he’s using me, he can use you, how he can use you wherever you are and it will blow your mind. Just trust him. Just trust Him please.
Ray: So you mentioned earlier you’ve been in the business 24 years I think you indicated. And so if you could go back and give advice to the Fanchon Stinger in her first year of her career, knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to Fanchon in the first year of her career?
Fanchon: You know, the calling that you have trusted and don’t waiver. And when I say waiver, I don’t mean I lost my faith or anything like that, but I was lax. Does that make sense? I wasn’t aware of how serious each and everything was. I wasn’t aware of how serious the friends, we keep the company, the messages we allow to infiltrate our mind. You have to guard your mind, your eyes, your heart with everything you have. And I’ve said this to you over, this is war. This is not a game.
Ray: That’s right. That’s right.
Fanchon: This is not a game that we are in and this responsibility that Christ has given us to represent him and be his ambassador is not a light task. And it’s not for the faint of heart. We will not get through it if not for his grace and his strength that only he can give us. So I would tell him, cause I used to, you know, read my Bible for every newscast. You know, as I got busy that got put on the shelf, I got called to do more speeches. I’m getting called to speak here, to travel here, to go there. I wasn’t refilling my tank as much as I should have been. And when that happens, little subtle things, little subtle compromises can come into play. And that’s exactly where the enemy wants you.
Ray: That’s right. While your guard was down.
Fanchon: My guard was down, right?
Ray: And it, Scripture tells us that the devil is as a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. He’s not playing, he’s not playing at all. Okay. So last question. Gosh, it’s gone so fast. So fun. This is the last question. This is always how I sum up the interviews. In Proverbs 4:23 Solomon writes above all else, guard your heart for from it flows all of life. So Fanchon, as we wind down our conversation today, I’d like you to fill in the blank. What is that one piece of advice that you’d like to leave our audience with? Above all else…
Fanchon: Above all else? Protect your relationship with Christ. Because that’s the one thing that the enemy wants to destroy and he can destroy it through doubt, through fear, through anger, through bitterness, through sin, through bondage. He’ll use anything. And you have to be vigilant and unapologetic about protecting your relationship with Christ because it has to be deep in order for us to run the race or run it well, I can’t be fake. So that’s, I mean, that’s what I would say. And I would say don’t apologize for it. Use it wisely. You know, Know when to speak and let the Lord lead you in that. But you know, put on that full armor every single day and understand what that means. When I was growing up, I heard people say, put on the full armor of Christ. I thought I knew what that meant until I got into the trenches. It means something completely different for me today than it did before. And you may hear me say sometimes, well, if God didn’t say it, I don’t want to hear it. If that’s not what God’s saying, I don’t. I didn’t want it in my ears. I don’t want any of my mind. I don’t want it in my mind and my eyesight. I’m very particular and very careful about that today.
Ray: Good word. Well, thank you for being on the program today. Well folks, another amazing conversation with a woman that God has, as you can tell, uniquely wired, uniquely gifted and uniquely placed to be his instrument in the marketplace. Fanchon Stinger. You can learn more about Fanchon at her website FanchonStinger.com. And I know she’d love to hear from you. And folks we get asked quite a bit here, at Bottom Line Faith, what’s the number one thing you can do to help the program and help it grow and help us succeed? First of all, pray, pray that God continues to expand this platform. We’re seeing amazing growth in the program and the second thing you can do is go online and give us a review. As you give these positive reviews for these conversations like we’ve had a day with Fanchon, it only helps us to grow in awareness, gets us to the top of the search engines and so forth, so we’d love it and we’d be grateful and appreciate it if you would do just that. If you’re a Christ follower and you’re in business and you are interested in community with other Christ followers who lead and run companies and organizations, please check out our website at TruthAtWork.org. That’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Click on that tab there that says round tables and get in touch with us and we would be happy to get you connected with a chapter of Christ-following business leaders in a town near you. Until next time, I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith as always encouraging you to live out your faith each and every day in the marketplace. God bless. We’ll see you next time.