For T.C. Stallings, acting wasn’t always the plan.
Known for his roles in faith-based movies like “Courageous” and “War Room,” Stallings has carved out a niche for himself in the entertainment industry. It wasn’t until he landed a very small featured extra role in the 2010 film “Secretariat,” though, that he even knew he wanted to make a career out of acting.
Stallings’ original plan was football. But, as is often the case, God had something different in store.
The 44-year-old actor explained this week on “The Prodigal Stories Podcast” that acting was something he was always interested in, but wasn’t sure it would pan out. Regardless, Stallings — a Christian — said his No. 1 priority is using his work, wherever it might be, as a vehicle to share his faith.
“For me, when I read Scripture, I realize that’s why I’m here,” he said. “Once I realized that, I want to live out my God-given purpose — and I trade in what I want for what He wants — that’s why I just try to use all my gifts and talents for Him.”
Acting, he continued, “just gives me an opportunity to reflect all the glory toward Him.”
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While Stallings is known for starring in faith-based films — including the upcoming Christian movie “No Vacancy” — he wasn’t raised in a devoutly Christian home, though his mother was a strong believer who kept him in church.
Looking back, though, Stallings said his faith was “habitual” and not authentic. It wasn’t until his sophomore year of college that Stallings actually encountered Jesus in a real way.
“I thought I was doing the right thing,” Stallings said of how he was living. “I would go to church and go to [Fellowship of Christian Athletes], stuff like that. I was one of those people — I was an outspoken type of Christian, too. I just innocently thought I was doing enough, you know?”
Stallings’ life looked so put together, in fact, he was the athlete other Christians in his college would send to share his faith with teens. But in his private life, he said, “I’m still cussing, I’m listening to cussing music. I did whatever I wanted, because I didn’t think God cared about those things.”
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“I thought all I had to do was believe,” he explained, noting it was someone in a one-on-one Bible study who revealed to him that it’s “not enough” to believe in Jesus. “The Bible says even the demons believe, you know? We started reading about who a true follower is and what that looks like. It was through that Bible study that I just kind of felt like, ‘Man, I’m letting God down. I gotta get this stuff right.’ So from that point on, I didn’t just let somebody tell me what God [wanted]. I looked in the Bible and I study and I let the Holy Spirit speak to me, and I really started caring about what was in Scripture.”
“I can see in Scripture what it means to be a Christian,” Stallings added. “And if God ever used the Bible to look for His Christians, He needs to be able to find me. That was the way that I started to look at it — not what people said, what God said a Christian is. It was from that point on, that one Bible study that one night from a kid who kept pursuing having a Bible study with me, a one-on-one Bible study, pretty much changed the way I saw what being a Christian was all about.”
Even though secular culture is increasingly hostile toward faith, Stallings said the consequences of remaining silent about what he believes are too serious.
Stallings has even developed a coaching program for Christian actors called “Uncompromised.”
“For me, I fear God,” he explained. “I don’t want Him looking at me and saying, ‘You know what? You were a coward on earth. You did what you needed to do to blend in. You tried not to have people upset with you because of Christ and all of that, so you think you can have it both ways.’ I fear that.”
“What makes it easy for me [to share my faith] is like, ‘What would God want me to do? What would Christ want me to do? What is the Holy Spirit leading me to do?’ And I care more about what He thinks than anybody else,” Stallings continued. “So to not share puts me in the line of fire of the Lord, and that ain’t happening. So that’s what give me the courage. It’s not hard. And plus, I don’t control the outcomes. I leave that up to the Lord. I let the Holy Spirit lead.”
You can watch the trailer for his new movie, “No Vacancy,” below:
The movie debuts in theatres nationwide May 9.
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