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5-year-old Genesee County resident gets ready to ‘preach to the world!’

Featured photo from the Jennifer Hudson Show.

Written by Tanya Terry

For many, it takes a lifetime to find what they feel is their true calling from God and in life. But, millions and millions of viewers have witnessed a gift in a young man from the Flint area while the young man is still at the age many kids are beginning school.

5-year-old Genesee County resident Luke Tillman and his mother, Catrina Tillman, recently talked to the Courier about being on the Jennifer Hudson Show and other doors of opportunity that have opened since a video the family put out went viral. On the YouTube video, Luke Tillman baptizes his Paw Patrol stuffed animal in a bathtub.

The 5-year-old told the Courier how it felt to have so many people see him and say they were blessed.

“I was actually happy because I got a lot of followers from God,” he said.

Catrina Tillman told the Courier a producer on the Jennifer Hudson Show, Angela Nichols, had interviewed her a few years ago during the Flint Water Crisis and during her church’s involvement. The show she was on previously was called the Areva Martin Facebook Live Show. Nichols saw the viral video.

“My face isn’t shown in the video at all,” Catrina Tillman said. “But she remembered my voice from our interview from years ago. She ended up going to my social media page, confirmed it was me and reached out via email. She had just started at the Jennifer Hudson Show as a producer. She reached out saying she thought Luke was amazing! At that time, he had over 15 million views. He’s well over 25 million views with that particular video now.”

The video has been reposted by Tina Knowles-Singer Beyonce’s mother, Viola Davis, Teddy Riley, Questlove from the Roots and other well-known celebrities. On many of the celebrities’ pages, the video also received millions of views.

So, the producer felt Luke Tillman’s appearance on the Jennifer Hudson Show would be a great fit, especially since Hudson also has a church background.

Luke Tillman said when he got back to school, it seemed like almost everyone in his class had seen him on the show. This included his teacher and the school’s principal.

Photo from the Jennifer Hudson Show.

Luke Tillman said when he baptized his stuffed dog, Chase, from Paw Patrol, he “loved it.”

“I decided to do it,” he added.

Hudson gave Luke Tillman many more Paw Patrol stuffed animals to baptize. Luke Tillman told her he would baptize them all.

“I was happy,” Luke Tillman told the Courier.

He said he looks up to his dad, Ezra Lee Tillman Jr., because his father is a pastor and because he sings. Luke Tillman especially likes that his father sings his grandfather’s song. The single “Heaven” was released Nov. 14, 2022, on Ezra Tillman Sr.’s birthday. Ezra Lee Tillman Jr. released the song after his father, who Luke Tillman’s grandfather, had suffered three strokes. As a result, Ezra Tillman Sr.’s voice was damaged and singing became a challenge.

“Me doing the song the way he would sing it as a tribute I think was very touching” Ezra Lee Tillman Jr. previously told the Courier.

Luke Tillman and two of his brothers: Ezra the III and Isaac, like to sing. The other brother in the amazing family, Micah Tillman, prefers cooking.

Besides his father, Luke Tillman looks up to Pastor Donnie McClurklin, Pastor Samuel Berry III of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Flint, Bishop William Murphy, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Pastor Maurice Flaniken of Trinity Baptist Church in Detroit. Flaniken is Luke Tillman’s godfather. Luke Tillman told the Courier he likes pastors who know about the Word of God.

Robin Lorraine Photography

Luke Tillman asked to be baptized when he was only 2 years old! He stated he had been knowing the Holy Ghost since the age of 2 because he was attending church.

Luke Tillman was baptized at age 4.

“The first thing, when I got out the water I was shaking,” he said. “I thought I was going to drown because it’s so much water. It was a blessing when I got baptized, alright girl! When I got out the water it was the same. It was a blessing!”

Luke Tillman’s coloring book, the “Bible Adventures with Luke: Take Me to the Water” coloring book, was released on Sunday, Jan. 29, on the one-month anniversary of posting the viral video of him performing a baptism on his stuffed toy.

Luke Tillman said his plans for the future include praising and worshipping God, being a pastor when he grows up and being a drummer.

“My gift is I’m a pastor,” he added. “He told me I’m a pastor.”

Robin Lorraine Photography

Luke Tillman likes to post daily prayers on his Instagram page.

His mom said they have already received messages from people from across the world including Africa, Mexico and Australia who say his videos encourage him.

For more information, or to follow Luke Tillman, visit According_2Luke on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.



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