Seeing Scotty McCreery grow up through First
in Garner to become this season’s American Idol is no surprise to Travis Tobin.
“We are very proud and pleased in how he’s represented the
Lord,” said Tobin, FBC’s senior pastor.
When the 17-year-old defeated Lauren Alaina in the final
show May 25 he knew exactly who to thank: “I thank the Lord. He got me here.”
When he made the final three, McCreery came home to Garner
to a warm welcome. Thousands of fans packed a Garner park and showed up
throughout the day at his various appearances.
“It’s really unbelieveable how all this has come together
quickly,” Tobin said. “He was quick to honor the Lord while he was here.”
Tobin remembers it was almost a year ago that McCreery went
to Milwaukee to audition for the
show. After receiving his prized Hollywood ticket,
McCreery caught a plane back to Raleigh
to go with his youth group on a mission trip to New York.
McCreery has been part of the church’s youth praise band on
Wednesday nights, and throughout season 10 of American Idol, has been sharing
symbols of his faith.
“We knew he was trying to let us know he had his mind and
heart on the Lord,” explained Tobin, who said he’s spotted McCreery wearing a
BeDoTell shirt, reflecting the Baptist State Convention’s youth ministry. He
also wears a cross necklace and an “I am Second” wristband, showing his support
for a movement that chronicles the personal stories of struggle and
transformation of celebrities and everyday people.
When asked about McCreery’s faith life, Tobin said that the
teen feels closer to God than ever before even though it has been a struggle
not being part of his church family.
Scotty and his mother have only been able to attend church
services a couple of times since being in Hollywood.
“It’s been more of Scotty with his mom spending time in
prayer,” Tobin said. “One of the things he desires is that God give him a
greater hunger for His Word.”
Tobin said the students have tried to include Scotty in
worship on Wednesday a couple of times via Skype. Because of the time
difference, he could usually participate some.
During his May 14 homecoming, about 130 church members
wearing “Team Scotty” yellow T-shirts canvassed the park distributing tracts
that included “My Story,” Scotty’s personal testimony, and sharing how to have
a relationship with Christ. The volunteers also helped people with directions
and provided assistance to town officials.
“In between his songs, he was quick to give testimony to the
Lord,” Tobin said. “My prayer is that he’ll keep walking with the Lord so He’ll
keep blessing him.”
Tobin believes “people fell in love with Scotty and the
character he exhibited.”
Because of Scotty, the church has seen an uptick in emails
as well as visitors. Tobin said on Memorial Day weekend, typically a low
turnout day for most churches, there were more visitors than normal. Tobin has
received emails from across the country and around the world praising Scotty
for his Christian witness.
“It’s been an interesting experience,” said Tobin, who is
becoming known as “Scotty’s pastor.” “God’s showing favor to Scotty right now.”