Patten Interview

Patten Interview

TLC: Why are you passionate about camp?

Patten: I love discipling people at times when they are fertile ground to hear and respond to God’s Word. Camp does a wonderful job of providing an environment that is free from the normal distractions of the world, surrounded by God’s creation declaring His majesty and power, and feeding the camper God’s Word through teaching, activities, times with cabin leaders, and more. Even the people serving food for the glory of God help set the stage for God’s Word to be heard and applied. I LOVE that!

TLC: How were you saved?

Patten: I was in church as a boy listening to my Dad preach about the reality of heaven and hell. When he talked about what steps were necessary to be saved—confess my sins, ask for forgiveness, repent (turn from sin towards Jesus), and commit my life to God—I realized I hadn’t done any of those. Not only that, but I was shocked to find out the Bible calls unsaved people enemies of God (Rom. 5:10). That night I confessed my sin to God, asked for His forgiveness, told Him I would work to turn from sin and towards pleasing Him, and commit my life to Him. Praise God for His love and forgiveness!

TLC: Can you introduce us to your family?

Patten: Yes! My wife and I both come from ministry families, so I’m a p.k. (pastor’s kid) and Stacie’s an m.k. (missionary kid). We’ve been married for 25 years. Stacie is a great teacher, gifted musician, and gentle encourager. If you are having a rough day, she’s the kind of person you’d love to be around. Luke is our oldest and just finished his freshman year at Cedarville; he is in Cedarville’s 5-year biblical studies and M.Div. program and aiming for full-time ministry. Jenna will be a senior in high school and is excited for camp ministry over summer. Kayla will be a sophomore in high school and enjoys plants and crafts. Our youngest, Levi, will be in eighth grade and loves outdoor adventures like fishing, backpacking, etc.

TLC: What’s your favorite camp activity?

Patten: Archery combat. Hearing that “thwack” when someone gets hit is pretty satisfying. Plus it’s almost as much fun to watch as to play.

TLC: You’ve become known for wearing funny t-shirts at camp. How did that start?

Patten: Funny t-shirts are a great way to make people laugh and break down walls, especially with unsaved people in everyday living. After laughing at my funny/stupid t-shirt, people are way more willing to let me ask them if I could pray for them in some way or even share with them about Christ. It’s so effective, that I wore them when I came to camp to do the same—help break down walls and make it easier for people to talk with me about Christ, the Bible, and life. Plus, it’s great to bond over humor.

TLC: What’s the strangest job you’ve had?

Patten: It would probably be when I worked for a cleaning company, and one of the sites I cleaned at night was the offices of a recycling and trash processing plant. And yes, it stunk like you wouldn’t believe.

TLC: What’s the coolest job you’ve had?

Patten: Ooh. Tough one. Camp director and pastor are at the top (not joking even a little bit). But after that, either being on Cedarville University traveling teams as a sound man or working at a high-tech fiber optic manufacturing company and managing the production lines. Don’t think that last one sounds cool? Two words: laser welders. Yes, please.

TLC: You are open about losing half of your hearing at age 24. Were there any special verses God used in your life during that time?

Patten: There were a lot of passages that became special, but two really are at the top. The first one is Matthew 6:25-34 where, (allow me to paraphrase) God tells us not to be anxious about our lives (which I was), asks us why we worry when He’s in control (which was incredibly convicting), rebukes us for our lack of faith (again, convicting), and steers us to what we really should be focusing on…pleasing and obeying Him (again, paraphrasing).

The second is Exodus 4:10-12 where, after Moses says he can’t do what God’s told him to do because he “can’t talk good,” God asks him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” I found this very convicting when I questioned God and His purposes. I was rebuked and reminded of a very simple but profound truth: God knows what He’s doing, and no weakness of mine will stop Him from accomplishing what He wants.

TLC: Did you play any sports in school?

Patten: In jr. and sr. high I ran in cross-country and track and played intramural volleyball. I also played in the pep band, which was somehow considered a sport at my school.

TLC: Do you play any instruments?

Patten: I took piano lessons until 5th grade when I was allowed to switch to a different instrument. I’ve never been great, but I have been able to become at least a utility player of the trumpet, baritone, and trombone. More recently, my daughter Jenna and I took guitar lessons; I’m still quite bad.

TLC: How has God prepared you for camp ministry?

Patten: Romans 8:28-29 and other passages indicate God ordains every step of our lives to help us grow to be more like Christ and, therefore, prepare us for the next stage of life and glorifying God. My love for God and people has driven my choices so that I have been in pastoral ministry for 18 years, devoted to teaching and preaching God’s Word but also personal biblical counseling and discipleship with people in difficult times of life. In my roles as pastor, I’ve been a Christian school administrator, youth pastor, camp speaker, missions team leader, and lots more. God’s also blessed me with five years of being a conference director for ACBC (formerly NANC), putting on conferences and regional trainings around the country. God has even blessed me with a love of the outdoors, camping from a young age, starting backpacking and spelunking (caving) in high school, and continuing my love of outdoors to this day. (Fun fact: one of my early dates with Stacie was taking her caving. You can ask her about experience. Ha!) Most recently my youngest son, Levi, and I went backpacking in MI and had a great time. God has prepared me and my family for camp ministry in so many ways, it reminds me again of how amazing God is.