by Anna Birch
Pat “Michaelangelo” Preston is currently serving as Southeast Senior Director of Ministries and Camp Director of Chimney Point, but he has held quite a few other titles in his time at Pine Cove! As a father of five and former youth camp director, Pat has lots of experience ministering to kids and college students, and now he gets to switch things up and hang out with parents at family camp! If you’ve ever met him, you can quickly tell he is always learning and wanting to share Truth with others and is marked by his humility and leadership. We caught up with him after his recent move from Central Texas to the Southeast region and here’s what he had to say!
What is your current role at Pine Cove?
Senior Director of Ministries (Southeast) and Chimney Point camp director.
What roles have you held in the past?
I was Guest Services Coordinator at the Shores, Associate Director at Outback, Camp Director at Outback, and then the Camp Director at the Ridge as well as the Senior Director of Ministries in Central Texas. I think that’s it.
I’m impressed that you remembered all of those!
I have to go in order. It’s like I have to do with my kids’ ages sometimes.
How’d you get to Pine Cove?
I was a college student and I walked by the display that Pine Cove had on campus. And they said, “Hey dude, what are you doing next summer?” And I was like, “Not working for you guys.” I had a full-time job lined up. I thought, “I cannot play around with a summer camp.” And one of the guys was like, “Hey man, give us 30 to 45 minutes just to sit down and get to know you and tell you a little bit more about this place.” That interview stretched me. They asked me questions that I had never been asked before and pushed me in ways that I hadn’t been pushed before, made me think in ways that I hadn’t been thinking before and convicted me of some things. I was like, “Man, if they’re this intentional and serious about the Lord and what they’re doing here, maybe I could try this out.” At the time, I was going into ministry and missions, but to see their passion, zeal, and relational capacity made me think, “They’re serious about this!” The Lord was very gracious to let my boss say that I could have six weeks off in the summer, so I did it.
You’re new to your role of family camp director. What are you most excited about for family camp?
Honestly, for Meg, my bride, and I to be able to do ministry together. We love to do things together and spend time with our whole family. We’re very family-oriented. During our time at youth camp, it was a little bit more difficult to feel like we could do a lot of things together. So at family camp, we’re excited to have the opportunity to serve and do ministry together and learn together in that. It’ll be great to see people at camp that are my age… which will be different than being at the high school camps!
How did you and Meg meet?
We both went to the University of Mobile, and there’s this college newspaper there called the “Ram Report.” I saw a picture of Meg on the front cover, worshiping. And I told one of my buddies, “I’m going to date that girl.” Totally kidding. But she was beautiful and worshiping and I’m like, “She’s awesome. And she loves Jesus, that’s great!” Then randomly a few days later, two mutual friends invited us all to hang out, and that’s where we met and became really good friends.
Tell me about your family!
Meg and I have been married since December 2007 and we have five kiddos. Aaden, Ellie, Adley, Asher, and Everly. We’re learning and growing and being pushed and pressed in awesome ways by Jesus. Shepherding kids’ hearts is an incredible, amazing, hard opportunity. We’re grateful for it, but also humbled by it consistently. We’re learning a lot about our kids. It’s so cool to see them grow in personalities and ask crazy questions. We’re getting to learn them and grow with them too.
You have an entire day off to do any activity you choose–what would it be?
It doesn’t happen very often! I would want to spend it with Meg or doing something with our family. Maybe go hike a mountain because we love being outdoors. Or go play golf. I’m not saying I enjoy it because I’m good at it, but it’d be fun to spend a significant amount of time doing something that will humble me.
Do you have any embarrassing or hilarious moments from camp?
One time I was in a skit and I was trying to find something that would heal “my brother” and there was this huge mayonnaise jar that we had actually filled with vanilla ice cream, but it did not look like ice cream. So I was making everyone think it was mayonnaise and I ate it—just went to town on it. I’m pretty sure it made a few campers add some “chunkies” to the mix, if you know what I mean!
Speaking of skits, best skit character you’ve ever seen.
It’d be a tie between Trac Cook’s “Leroy Poncetrane,” Colton Venner’s “Doug” character, and Taylor Jervis’ “Harold Darren.”
Other than the Bible, what book has been the most impactful to you?
There’s a few. I would probably say Knowing God by J. I. Packer, Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee, Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller, and The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer.
Knowing God helped me grasp a better reverence and humble understanding of God. It put me in a position of gratitude towards God that He would allow us to know who He is, that He would welcome me in. As I really began to dive into that, the fact that I get to know God—that deepened my desire to want to know Him even more and humbled me. CJ Mahaney says, “Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.” That book really helped do that for me.
What is one thing you’re learning right now?
I’m learning to submit daily and commit daily to Jesus. It’s this learning to submit everything to Him, surrender to Him daily, and to then commit everything that I do to Him and His glory. It’s saying, “I trust you with whatever’s going to come.” And then also whatever does come, I’m going to commit to doing what I’m going to do for God and for His name. That’s a lot easier said in an interview than actually done, but just remembering to submit and surrender to Christ and to come in and give Him the glory daily is important. That’s probably what I’m learning the most right now.
Posted Apr 19, 2021