TV 5 Leon Bibb
by Terry Nighswonger
Most people perceive television news reporters and anchors to be in a highly glamorous roll-like movie stars in the eyes of their faithful followers. Many perceive these same media people to be pawns of the secular media, twisting news to fit the secular agenda and leaving out all that we see as "good".
The truth is, in most cases, none of these perceptions are true. Television news reporting isn't glamorous and there are reporters and anchors who aren't loud about their faith, but they love God, pray regularly over their assignments, and believe that God has placed them where they are.
Leon Bibb, WEWS Channel 5 reporter, is one of those people.
Bibb came to know the Lord in a personal way when he was 10 years old and has never strayed from his Christian roots. He grew up in a Christian home where going to church was a way of life.
"I don't remember not going to church," Bibb said. "As far back as I can remember, I was in Sunday school. Mom and Dad would take me and drop me off and go to their Sunday school class. We went to church as a family.
"No matter what I had done the Saturday night before, my folks, while I was still under their care, said if you stay out late you're still going to church in the morning. That's no excuse not to go."
Bibb's father is a church deacon and a trustee, as was his grandfather. Grandparents on both sides of his family were involved in the church. When it came time for a young Leon to hold a church position, he did.
"When it was time for me to join the junior usher board, my dad said, 'I signed you up for the junior usher board. You're on the usher board now.'" Bibb explained. "He was on the senior usher board, mother was in the choir and my sister was in the children's choir. They didn't ask. They knew what was best."
Although Bibb has a rich Christian heritage, he made his faith his own and didn't fall away when he left the watchful eyes of his family.
"When I went off to college, I went to church and the girl that I was dating went to church and 34 years later we're still married," Bibb said. "I'm not one of those people who went off and went to jail and found themselves or did drugs and then found myself. I don't have a book to write about how I came back. As far as I'm concerned I've always been there."
A stint in Vietnam only helped to seal Bibb's faith.
"It was a trying time for me but you do what you have to do. I kept my faith and came home," Bibb said. "I said the worst thing that could happen is I get killed, but I'm going to die anyway at some point. However I die, I will die in the arms of Jesus. I tried to keep that in mind."
Today, the fast-paced world of a television news reporter puts Bibb on the road putting together news reports on a daily basis-not much time to fraternize with his coworkers.
In spite of his busy schedule, Bibb encourages others to "put first things first" in their life.
"Make sure that you're right with the Lord, right with God and then everything else falls into place," Bibb said.
Bibb knows that journalism is a gift that God has given him and his desire is to use that gift to give glory and honor to God.
"I may pray over a story. In the midst of writing a story I may say, 'Lord, help me write this thing. Help me find the words. I've got to tell this story and I don't have much time to tell it. Lord go with me on this and help me be what you want me to be," Bibb said.
Bibb believes that many people live their life in search of something and don't know what that something is. Showing them the love of Christ is essential to helping them find what they are looking for. That can be as simple as reading magazines to the blind, coaching a youth basketball league, or cooking a meal for a neighbor in need.
"Periodically I think it's good to do things for somebody else where you get no credit for it," Bibb said. "God has given me a couple of bucks in my pocket to give not only back to the church but to worthwhile organizations. God not only wants a certain percentage of my finances, and resources, God wants a certain percentage of my time and my talent. I do some things involving writing and speaking and voice-overs simply as a gift."
For several months Bibb spent several hours of his free time every day reading newspapers and magazines to the blind at Cleveland Site Center.
"There's so much that we can do to bring people to Christ. If you don't know Christ you are lost," Bibb said. "Being a Christian does not mean that problems will not visit your door," Bibb added, "but it does mean that you will be able to deal with them. You're better armored or clothed or cloaked to deal with those problems."
And finally, as the Bible commands, Bibb said we need to love our enemies.
"We never saw where Jesus hated anyone. He died for our sins and we must know if we take it (our burdens) to Christ He will say, 'I understand, I've been there. They nailed me to the cross. They despised me and spat on me. They took my life. We can handle your problems,'" Bibb said.
'Nothing will happen today that the Lord and I can't handle', Bibb said, is one of his favorite sayings, and he was quick to add Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."