by Pine Cove
Each week during the summer, all four of Pine Cove’s family camps feature teaching from amazing Bible scholars and Christian parenting experts. These weekly teaching pastors—many who have been coming to speak at camp for decades—make an impact for Jesus by investing richly in our camper parents and families. One such speaker duo is Bob and Ann Livesay, who recently decided to step back from their roles as frequent family camp speakers after 40 years of faithful ministry at Pine Cove. In addition to their time at camp, Bob and Ann have served in pastoral ministry in Houston, served as missionaries to Southeast Asia, and spoken at many marriage and parenting conferences throughout the United States. Join Bob and Ann as they reflect on their incredible tenure as family camp speakers and share some of their favorite Pine Cove memories!
How did you first get started as a family camp speaker?
Bob: Phil Hook, a seminary professor of mine before he became CEO at Pine Cove in the early 70s, asked me to speak alongside him when another speaker had to back out. He said, “I’ll take half, you take half!”
Why do you believe in the mission of Pine Cove?
Ann: We came to Pine Cove year after year as our kids grew up, and then some of our kids were counselors. Pine Cove shaped their whole concept of a relationship with Christ. I mean, our kids would choose camp over going to Disney World any day. We had such a good time learning to walk with the Lord together as a family. Pine Cove is sending off young people and shaping them for the next generation.
What’s something you love about the ministry of speaking at family camp?
Ann: The people! We would always let people know that we’re here for them and we’re available to sit down [and talk]. And we had people come and pour out their lives. Families had that week to be away and talk and evaluate. And so we would have the privilege of getting to help them think through direction in their life.
Bob: We had one of those conversations and encouraged a summer staffer to go to seminary, and now he’s pastoring the church I started in Spring, Texas.
How have you seen some of the families transform after a week of camp?
Bob: I think there’s quite a bit of realignment in people’s lives. Anytime you can get men to get into the Scriptures and learn how to do a devo with the family, you’re making enormous progress. It’s life changing.
How have you seen Pine Cove change throughout the years?
Ann: I remember speaking for the first mother/daughter conference they ever had at the Cedars (the current Woods property). We sat around a little fireplace and I spoke to a small group of moms. We’ve seen the facilities change. We’ve seen the programs change. The people change, you know. But Pine Cove remains Christ-centered, others-focused, and seriously fun. The ministry really focuses on doing the Lord’s work and holding it open handedly, letting Him lead.
What’s a common theme you’ve found yourselves speaking on year after year?
Ann: I feel like God has gifted Bob and equipped him to really speak to men and to really challenge them in a good, healthy way to step up as husbands and fathers in their homes. And yet he is so encouraging because he also understands their struggles. How they feel like they’re not confident or they’re not worthy to be a spiritual leader in their home. He addresses those things.
Bob: From my own experience, I have observed the tremendous difference it makes in a home when a father steps up to his role as a leader in his home. If a man is involved with his family and even goes to church, then statistically instead of just 2% of the kids following up and going to church when they are adults, it changes to 44%. We also talk about how men and women compliment and complete each other—they don’t compete with one another.
Now that your own kids are grown up and have kids of their own, what is the most impactful piece of advice you would give parents today?
Bob: A father is respected if he’s open, transparent, and asking for forgiveness. Did your parents ever say they were sorry, or ask you to forgive them? For Ann and I, our parents never did. So we learned to walk with some authenticity by being humble towards our children. I think that makes a huge difference.
Ann: Proverbs 20:7 says, “A man who walks in his integrity, how blessed are his children after him!” Integrity doesn’t mean that you’re perfect. It means that you’re honest. You’re true. You’re the same thing on the outside that you say you are on the inside. That you’re the real deal. Which means when you mess up, you fess up. So we say you can be a person of integrity and make lots of mistakes. And we certainly did.
What’s next for Bob and Ann Livesay?
Bob: Ann’s continuing to meet with married ladies on a regular basis. We’re meeting with couples. We have a couples study. Then the Forge—this is our, I think, sixth year to teach the Forge [Pine Cove’s leadership training and discipleship program]. We’re continuing to stay involved with discipling and mentoring the Pine Cove staff. And then, you know, we’re going to continue speaking. I think that will continue as long as God gives us utterance.
Ann: Our favorite life verse for this phase of our life is Psalm 71:18. And it says—let’s say it together…
Bob & Ann: ‘And even when I’m old and gray, O Lord, do not forsake me until I declare Your strength to this generation, your power to all who are to come.’
Ann: We cannot begin to say how in every way there’s been nothing better than following the Lord in our lives. And we haven’t done it perfectly, but we’ve really sought to walk with Him and to honor Him with our lives. We’ve had struggles. We’ve had times when we had to hold our children with an open hand and didn’t know if they would live or die. We’ve been through so much stuff in our lives, but what we have found is that what Jesus says about where real life is, we’ve had it. He’s given it to us!
Bob: If you give your life away to Christ, you will truly find it. If you keep it, you’ll lose it. And so we have found life with super abundance because we simply just said, “You can do a better job with our lives than we can. So we’re giving it entirely to You.” That’s what we want to continue to do.
Posted Jan 2, 2023