Scenic view of trees at camp

Staff Profile: Luke “Patches” Cummings

by Tiffany Gilliam

Luke Cummings and City team

Luke “Patches” Cummings was a good ol’ Georgia boy who wanted to be a blue, crime-fighting Power Ranger… but he battled consistently terrible vision incidents. This young man dreamed of fighting for the good guys. He never gave up, even for a time when he sported double eyepatches!

Eventually, Luke healed and didn’t need eyepatches anymore. He also didn’t grow up spending summers at Pine Cove like many of his friends. While his buddies attended camp, he stayed home daydreaming of the good guys defeating the bad guys. 

But God had a seriously fun future in mind for his Christ-centered, others-focused son. 

Pine Cove stayed in the back of Luke’s mind. Through college, he couldn’t shake it. Without any intention of ever moving to Texas, he applied on a whim to work for Camp in the City (now called Pine Cove City). 

We know that God the Father was with Luke all along, creatively orchestrating his life, interests, daydreams and future as he grew into the man and “mighty morphin” Pine Cove employee he is today! 

He now fights alongside the best “good guy” the world has ever known: our Savior. 

From a random applicant to a Camp in the City Site Director to the Camp in the City East Texas Regional Director, Pine Cove is grateful to have a good guy like “Patches” on our team! 


Read below to hear more about Luke in his own words:

Tell us your favorite thing about God. What parts of His character are you absolutely in love with? Who is He to you?
It’s so simple, but I continue to learn so much about God as Father. A Father who created, rescued, and adopted me, His son. I’m so comforted and secure in the fact that I’m valuable because my Father sacrificed so much for me to have a spot in His family. And how He continues to Father me every day, leading and disciplining me toward life. It’s completely overwhelming!

That’s very good news! In light of that answer, what is your favorite thing about yourself?
In light of being God’s son, it’s just being free. I love that I have freedom from former broken, worldly ways.

Can you tell us your favorite part of being the Camp in the City East Texas Regional Director?
The opportunity to empower college staff while serving so many local churches and communities. Getting to actively learn together while working and serving is so special. Not just hearing but doing! We’re constantly engaging in God’s word and getting to apply what He’s leading us in. It’s amazing.


So you’re stuck on a desert island with one other Pine Cove staffer. Who do you choose?
It’s gotta be Elliott Dobbs, who works in IT in East Texas. You know that friend that did Eagle Scouts and knows how to do EVERYTHING? That’s Elliott (except I don’t know if he was an Eagle Scout). If we were stranded, I’m certain he’d have a plan of action within minutes and could build literally anything we needed. And he’s a blast!

That’s a great pick; sounds like you and Elliot will be fine. Do you have a favorite song?
Pretty much any country song because country music never gets old! 

What about a favorite meal?
Torchy’s chips and queso.

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Let’s be honest—everyone has a most embarrassing camp moment. What’s yours?
A few years ago on a full-time staff retreat, we had a skeet shooting competition with all the Camp in the City staff. We agreed that whoever got last place would dress up in a full skit character outfit for dinner and not be able to give anyone an explanation of why. I was overly confident in my skills. I got last by a long shot and attended dinner (with about 100 other people) in a scuba outfit. 

In your opinion, what sets Pine Cove apart as a ministry?
I can think of two things. The first is that the Gospel is rooted in everything, from top to bottom. From small to large decisions and interactions, the Gospel presents itself everywhere as it permeates the culture. The second thing is the people Pine Cove hires. Pine Cove is very intentional when selecting amazing staff to help carry the vision. All staff further the Gospel influence that I appreciate so much. 


Tell us about the kids that attend camp. What are they like?
We have all kinds of kids. I am encouraged to see kids that have grown up in the church having just as much fun at camp as others that come knowing nothing at all about the Gospel. To some kids the experience feels like Disney World more than others, but every kid at Pine Cove hears the Gospel message. The Gospel transcends the unique circumstances between all kids, and that is an exceptional thing to be a part of.  


How and when do you see Christ move at Pine Cove in a way that is completely unignorable, completely life-changing, completely worth everything. Tell us everything!
Man, you see God’s glory and life transformation in so many different contexts at Pine Cove.
I’ve seen it in an elementary camper being told they are loved and cherished by God for the first time ever.
I’ve seen it in a college student truly start to believe God’s word for the first time.
I’ve seen it in an unchurched young parent being comforted by a Camp in the City church partner.
I’ve seen it in God using a group of young summer staff to refresh and remind a tired, weary family who opened up their home to host for a week.
I’ve seen God’s glory in my life as He continues to use countless people’s stories to open my eyes to His goodness. He’s at work through this place and I’m so thankful! We don’t deserve to be part of it, but He is gracious and kind.


Posted Oct 2, 2019

Tiffany Gilliam

Guest Author

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