Interview with American Idol Finalist Scott MacIntyre

You can also read this interview in the September, 2020 issue of Faith Filled Family Magazine.


From performing on the American Idol stage to ministering in the streets of Ammon, Jordan, Scott and Christina have truly learned what it means to be “content in all things”. For them, their gifts are not just an avenue to recognition or fame, but a tool given to them by God for the sake of spreading the gospel throughout the world. Which is also how they feel about their disadvantages. Having been through two kidney transplants and spent his entire life almost completely blind, Scott insists that they wouldn’t change a thing, because suffering is an opportunity to demonstrate God’s goodness.


Scott began setting the stage for his future ministry at three years old, when he first became interested in the piano. From there, it was just a matter of time until he realized who God had made him to be. During those formative years, Scott’s gifts were recognized by everyone around him. He received several accolades, recognition and performance opportunities even before being discovered on the popular ABC show American Idol, which only worked to further spread his reach in the world.


After leaving that stage, God continued to use it as a platform for him, opening doors for him to speak and perform before people who never would have heard of him otherwise. Nations all across the world became open to hearing not his only music, but the message of hope God had given him for this generation. After marrying his wife, Christina, in 2011, the two continued to minister wherever opportunity presented itself. Now, they are known across the world and are using their platform to change as much of it as they can for the gospel.


I recently had the opportunity to hop on a call and talk through some of their story with the pair of them and I hope that what they had to say resonates with you as much as it did with me.


Has music always been something that is in your heart?


Scott: For me—probably for both of us—it has been a part of our story individually and now with the ministry, as a couple as well. For me, being blind, music was a huge thing for me because I didn’t have my sight. And so the world was a very auditory place for me and I started playing the piano at a very young age and it went very quickly from a hobby to something I was very passionate about and, eventually, to what I did full time.


That’s incredible. So you are in music as well, Christina?


Christina: Yeah. So, I have a little different background from Scott. I’ve always loved music as a hobby. I never was really interested in pursuing it as a career. I never auditioned for American Idol—that was never something I was pursuing—and I actually didn’t really find that I was comfortable singing on stage in front of people until I began leading worship with Scott. So even though it was something I did growing up as a teenager, I found that leading worship is not just a performance. It’s all about giving glory to God. So I found that I actually really enjoyed it and actually worshiped better myself, personally, when I lead worship.


That’s beautiful. I’ve always found that the gifts we find naturally while we worship God are the deepest gifts in our lives, so I love that story.


Scott: And one thing that I think is interesting is that we both came to Christ at different times during vacation bible school events, which are very musically inclined, as you probably know. So music has always been a part. Even of our spiritual journeys.


Christina: And we actually met in a musical, so that’s definitely a part of our story. I was fourteen and Scott was seventeen and our church was doing a musical theater camp of the Music Man. So, that’s how we met back in 2003. So we were friends for a long time before we started dating and got married.


Scott, regarding American Idol: When you stepped on that stage, did you already have an idea that you would use music as a platform for the gospel, or was that news to you when God did that?


Scott: That’s a great question. I would say that I did not have an awareness of the extent to which God would use the American Idol platform to spread the gospel when I was on American Idol. I knew that people were seeing Jesus in my life. I would notice a lot of people—even in the secular world—say that there was something different about me and notice that there was a light when I was on stage when they were listening to me sing or looking at me. And so I always prayed that people would be touched by my music and pointed toward Jesus with my life but I had no idea that God was going to use it in such a bigger way than that.


Moving a little into the ministry. This really all began with a spontaneous donation from a stranger while you were working on a cruise, is that correct?


Scott: That’s right. I was singing on a Christian Cruise. It was the In Touch Ministry Cruise with Charles Stanley, and after one of my many performances that week, a dear woman came up to our table in the book store and she started giving a monthly gift to us. She came up and asked if we had automatic giving and we said, “No, but that sounds interesting so we will get it set up for you.” Kind of half joking but really wanting to make that possible for her. And we didn’t think too much of it right away, other than what a generous act for someone to want to support us in that way. And then over the coming months, really without putting a lot of effort into seeking it, some other people started giving monthly gifts to our ministry. And it got us thinking—we did not have any kind of a non-profit structure set up at that point and yet people were still believing in what God was doing and in what He could do in the future. And we realize that if we set up a non-profit structure, then we could use these funds, and even invite more people on the journey with us, and be able to go serve in places where we might not be paid to go.


You know, a lot of the events we’ve done have been adults—whatever that is: if it’s a corporate event, if it’s a non-profit gala fundraiser—but whenever we got to sing and share for kids and students, we felt a really special connection there. First of all because the next generation is really important. Those are gonna be tomorrows leaders. And secondly, there is a lot of brokenness in schools right now. Both in Christian schools and in mainstream schools, and we get a lot of questions from young people about bullying or depression or just being treated differently. And being a blind person, I dealt with some of that growing up, so I think they feel comfortable asking me some questions—even in front of their peers—that they might not normally ask.


So, we love doing that. We always love interacting with kids. But we seldom got to do that over the ten years or so since American Idol, because a lot of schools maybe didn’t have the budget to bring us out. A lot of the money—money from event--is geared toward events for adults. It’s just kind of the way of the world. And we were kind of just going along with the music business. So when God changed that and started to bring people into our lives who really spoke this idea into our lives, we realized that instead of just going where the money is available, we can raise the money to go where we can have the biggest impact for the gospel. And it really turned our lives and our musical pursuits upside down.


That’s beautiful. I saw that you were able to minister in Amman, Jordan. Let’s talk about that experience.


Christina: Yeah, so domestically, we go to schools and churches. But we also felt that, internationally, Scott would also connect with people and they would connect with his story. American Idol is aired all over the world. Every country, it seems like, has seen it. So even as far away as Amman, Jordon, people know about it. So, it seems like God has just uniquely positioned him and his platform to be able to connect with people because there is already a sense of familiarity, because they know him, or they at least know the brand. And they are more positioned to listen to what he has to say. And what he has to say now is, “Jesus”.


Scott: I think it is interesting. Looking back, we have had a lot of invitations over the years from countries all over the place. I remember an orphanage in India one time. Someone had read my book and it inspired them, in part, to go found an orphanage and then adopt kids in that region and just really develop a heart for that region. And they tried to bring us over one time. They tried to raise money locally with businesses over there. We tried to make it work, business wise, over here, but it didn’t work because it didn’t make business sense.

And there were a lot of opportunities like that. Where schools and orphanages and different organizations wanted us to come overseas. There’s a lot of opportunity there, because as Christiana said, ten plus years ago—when I was on American Idol—four out of five people in the U.S. were watching it and then it would air in so many different countries around the world. So we always knew there was a desire to have us come minister, but we didn’t know how to make that happen. And then as people started giving and we started raising support—much like a missionary couple would do—it made It possible to walk through a lot of those doors. And Amman, Jordon is one of those examples where we went over and our ministry partners funded the entire trip. It was such a blessing to go over and serve at all of these churches and schools where there is such a need, by the way, for the gospel. A lot of the people that I share Jesus with over there have fled Isis first hand. You know, they were from Iraq, from Syria, from elsewhere also. And when people reach out--to some of those refugee kids especially--with Christian love, gospel is very real to them because they have seen evil in their lifetime. They have seen so much evil, and the message of the gospel is so starkly contrasting to that, and they respond in such gratitude. (For more information, feel free to watch a video of their experience there: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3311697675722008)


Being able to minister in those settings, did that really change your own perspective on who God is, on the way that he loves or the way he’s called us to love?


Scott: You know what. I think it did. I am always trying to better understand that. I think the biggest thing that changed my perspective on God’s love for us and his grace for us was my two kidney transplants. You know, growing up blind was one thing, but I’ve been through two kidney transplants in my life, and just like I was powerless to save myself physically until my kidney donor gave me the gift of life, we are all powerless to save ourselves spiritually and yet Jesus Christ steps in and offers us the greater gift of eternal life. And sharing that story with kids and students has really helped some people internalize that kind of sacrificial love in a new way. And going through it personally, that’s what it did for me as well.


Absolutely beautiful. And Christina, what did going through that do for you and your relationship with God?


Christina: So, Scott had one before we were married. We were friends at the time, and I didn’t know much. So going through it as a married couple was very different. We had known it was coming for a couple years and that definitely set the tone for our marriage to really appreciate every day and live in the moment and not let small things bother us. But that really heightened when Scott was in end stage kidney failure, kind of leading up to the transplant. That would have been about a ten month period where he was getting really sick and we were kind of waiting for that transplant to happen. We definitely felt God’s presence throughout that whole time. We tried to have the perspective that hindsight is 20-20 when we were still in the trial, rather than when we were out of it. We were trying to see what God was doing in the midst of the hard time. What was he teaching us, what was he teaching other people through us and our story and just seeing how we handled that difficult circumstance. Because we know that God doesn’t always provide the transplant. He doesn’t always give us the cure-all solution to our problems in the way that we think he should. We don’t always get the healing this side of heaven. So, we say that is was one of the best years of our lives because we felt so close to God and so close to each other and living day by day. In a little bit of survival mode and a little bit of just really feeling close to God and having a sense of wonder, like, “what is he doing now” because we could see how he was working in so many different ways.


On the other hand, it was hard. There was definitely hard moments and hard times. With him physically losing his strength, I had to become strong in other ways and rely on God for other things. But he did provide in the end, but it was definitely a time of growing for us personally and in our marriage. And I think that gives us just a little appreciation for health that a lot of people our age don’t have. I’m glad, in a way, that I got to go through it with him. It helped me understand what he went through the first time. And yeah… it was amazing.


You two are amazing and I for one and grateful you are well now.


Scott: Thanks, Michael. It’s interesting. I wouldn’t wish what I’ve been through on anyone, but a lot of people ask me if I would change it. And I can honestly say that I would not. Because I’ve seen how my suffering has helped other people trust God more deeply. And when you go through a hard time, how you trust God in that difficult place really has a profound effect on those around you.


I’m glad you said that. I think that is very important for our readers to hear. You also recently filmed a special. Can you tell me a little bit about that?


Scott: Yeah, we really—with the ministry—have a mission of reaching the millions of people who watched me on American Idol. The one way we can do that is through media, and through television. And so we have been working on our first TV special for several months. It is on schedule to hopefully come out this fall. But it was really interesting because television and media have been a part of our strategy from the beginning, because we know we can reach people with the gospel that we may never get to in person using television and media. It makes a lot of sense as that’s how a lot of people first knew me—as a TV personality. But we had no idea that we would be producing a television special during COVID. And I will not say that it was easy. We had all kinds of things happen. Flights cancelled, hotels shut down, people deciding not to come, others deciding that they wanted to come and help and have work. So a lot of change along the way as we waited to see what God would do. But in the end, he allowed it to continue forward and we had a crew of about 30 people come together in Arizona. Pastors, musicians, production teams, camera crew, you name it, to make this happen. And it was so encouraging in the month of April—right during the height of this pandemic—to see a little slice of humanity again. A little slice of normalcy and to be able to come together with a number of people—with masks and with social distancing—in worship. One thing that was really cool was that several of the crew members did not go to church regularly and may be in different places in their spiritual journey—only God knows—but we got to share the gospel with those people. Even behind the scenes as we filmed this television special, people on the crew were touched who, I believe, really needed to hear about God’s provision in our lives amidst suffering. From our writers to our makeup person, and others, there were people who were noticeably moved in a meaningful way. And that really encourages us because if we see God encouraging people who are working on it, we are really excited to get it out there this fall and see how it’s gonna touch even more lives.


That’s amazing. And you mentioned that you have a book out. Is writing something that you are going to continue to do?


Scott: Yeah. My book is Called By Faith and Not by Sight, and there is a little bit of our story—meeting Christina and our story kind of coming in and out of each other’s lives—in the book. But it really goes through growing up blind and then the first kidney transplant and then American Idol. And it ends with us getting married, and so it is a great book if people want to pick it up anywhere where you can get books these days. We really do want to write a book together as a couple. I don’t know how far on the time horizon that is, but as we moved into full time ministry, it really united us as a couple—even musically. Where we are equally sharing this responsibility and honor of sharing the gospel through music with the world. And so I think in the future we’d love to take that to paper as well and share some of the lessons that we’ve learned, particularly as a couple.


And you mentioned that you have a little one on the way. How excited are we?


Christina: We are pretty excited! She is actually due to be born in two weeks. So yeah, it is definitely a gift. We are looking forward to having a little playmate for our son, Christian. And its going to definitely change the family dynamic, but we love kiddos. We’re thrilled.


Are you keeping the name a secret, or can we scoop ya?


Scott: I think we’re going to announce it soon.


I’ll keep my eyes peeled then. I had to try.


Scott: We are waiting to see if we still like it.


I totally understand that. We had a name picked out for our first daughter before she was even conceived, but then a few days before she was born, we changed it. So you’re probably making the right move there.


Scott: Well, I can tell you that it’s a girl. And I may not be the only blind guy, but I’m probably one of the only blind guys that have filled a pinata with the pink ribbons to give to my son to hit open.


Christina: Basically, I gave him the responsibility of surprising me. So, I didn’t know what the gender was. I had the doctor’s office tell him and I gave him pink confetti and blue confetti. He was just hoping he didn’t get it wrong.


Scott: I was hoping no pink ribbon stuck to the outside, cause I wouldn’t see it if it was. I think that was more nerve-wracking for me than being on American idol.


Just to keep the fun going, Scott and Christina provided us with a link to watch their special moment where Christina got to find out the sex of their baby.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2879015272166906



And real quick, before I let you guys go. Is there anything that you’d like to leave our readers with? And where can they go to get more information?


Scott: Well, first of all, you can go to scottmacintyre.com/ministry for videos, information, testimonials, all surrounding Scott MacIntyre ministries and the non-profit venture that God has really called us into here. And it’s just cool to see him continue to open doors, because it’s not something we were looking for. It’s not something we would be doing and he literally opened the floodgates just for us to be able to make so much more of the time he has given us. You know, people sometimes think that you have to do something crazy in order to change the world, and the reality is that even the smallest actions can have lasting consequences for God’s kingdom. You know, God calls some people to go and live over in Africa and be there for a time. He calls others to pray for missionaries. He calls other people to give financially. And the reality is that anyone reading or listening can make a difference just by giving a gift to our ministry and really see God opening doors that we never thought possible. It’s the gifts of others that he’s chosen to use to walk us through those doors. We would be honored if people would go to scottmacintyre.com/ministry and read about what we are doing and prayerfully consider helping us take advantage of the opportunities God is laying before us.

A note from Michael: It was an incredible joy to be able to spend some time getting to know Scott and Christina and I am so excited about the opportunities God is providing them to change the world through worship. Not everyone demonstrates the kind of grace they have in the face of similar adversity and even fewer demonstrate humility in the face of similar success. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to do this interview and my prayer is that you, as a reader, are leaving with the same feeling of joy and gratitude that I am. God bless.

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© 2019 by Michael LaBorn