by Valerie Morby Posted Sep 24, 2020
If you’ve spent any time around Pine Cove, it’s likely you’ve met—or heard about—Taylor “Fish Face” Jervis! After serving at the Ranch and Bluffs, he’s now the director of the Pine Cove Shores, a co-host of the Pine Cove podcast, a frequent staff orientation emcee, and so much more. So if you haven’t met him yet, you’re likely to soon! Until then, get to know Taylor in the following staff profile.
How did you get the camp name “Fish Face”?
I may have a great camp name, but I don’t have a great story to go with it. I was being trained in lifeguarding the week I was named, and they said I was a fast swimmer like a fish. I also said one of my hobbies was fishing. They also got me confused with another new guy who said he was glad he wouldn’t have his phone all summer so he could break his Facebook addiction. So they put the Fish and the Face together and… I’m stuck with Fish Face for the rest of my life.
Why did you decide to transition from summer staff to full-time staff at Pine Cove?
As a sophomore in college, I wanted to spend one last summer doing something fun and worthwhile before I “had to get an internship” for my business degree (at the time). Long story not as long, I fell in love with camp and ministry and ended up staying for four summers at the Pine Cove Ranch. During my third summer on the Ranch Leadership team, the Lord opened my eyes to camp and ministry being a career. And here I am 13 years later!
How did you and your wife Lacey meet?
We officially met in the youth group in high school! I had actually spotted her in middle school at a basketball game. We went to rival schools and she was a cheerleader. We started dating our junior year of high school and I proposed seven years later in the same spot at our church that we had first met. (Fun fact: Being from the Nashville area, she went to high school with Taylor Swift. On our first official date to get ice cream, we saw her and said hey for a while. Shores campers and staff enjoy this story and it gives me camp-street cred.)
Where is your favorite place you’ve ever visited?
Hands down, Israel. We went with The Forge program a few years ago. For the rest of my life, I can see and hear and taste and smell and feel the words and stories of the pages of the Bible.
What was your dream job as a kid?
Professional basketball player—just wanted to play games. Saturday Night Live actor—just wanted to be in front of people. Real Estate developer—just wanted to build things and work with people. The fun thing about camp is that I think I’m kind of doing all of those (on a different level) and getting to share the Gospel.
What does an ideal day off look like for you?
We’re up bright and early. Coffee in a Chemex. The house is quiet and slow. Just me and my dachshund, Trudy, are awake. Pray. Read. Write. Then, pancakes with the family! Work out. Lunch with Lacey. A round of golf. I play really well and don’t lose any golf balls. Pick up the kids from school. We go swimming. I’m grilling burgers. Lots of watermelon. Remember the Titans soundtrack blaring in the backyard. Kids are screaming – in a fun, playful way. Friends are here to swim and hangout! We eventually put the kids down, and it’s really easy… ha. Lace and I get slow, quiet hangout time together. Maybe we’ll watch a movie. I’m eating a bag of Boom Chicka Pop kettle corn. FaceTime with our family to check in. I’m in bed and asleep before 10pm. I sleep like a rock and no kids cry.
What camp name that you’ve sold are you most proud of?
I’ve sold a lot of camp names in 13 years, but most of them are because I had to—meaning the time ran out on the clock and my boss would make me stand up and just go for it. But my goal was to always give a great, fun-loving name that actually fit the person’s stories. (Can you tell I just loooooooove my camp name and story?) So most of my names are goofy but just above average—I like to think.
I will say that one of the times I laughed the hardest during the name game is when my friend Jon “Opa!” Quick sold a name for a girl who grew up on a farm and the week before she got to camp she was out mowing the big field. Halfway through mowing, she heard these consecutive “PHOOMP!” sounds over her headphones. Phoomp! Phoomp! Phoomp! It turns out she mowed over several bunny nests. She started crying again when she retold the story. So, my friend Jon stood up, recounted the story, and named her “Dagnabbit I Mowed the Rabbit.”
What did the Lord use this summer to teach you?
At the beginning of the summer I sensed the Lord saying to me, “This season can shape your leadership for the rest of your life. But more importantly, it will shape your followership. I want to walk with you through this.” This gave me great peace and confidence through the unknown everyday. The Holy Spirit continued to lead me to Psalm 66, especially in the last 4 or so weeks of the summer. The entire chapter is so good, but specifically verses 8-13 where the writer is saying to God that He has “laid a crushing burden on their back” and let men ride over their heads” and how they have “gone through fire and water”…..”yet He brought them out to a place of abundance.” And through the hardest summer of leadership and ministry I have ever experienced, I wanted to know what this place of abundance was. And the answer isn’t a what—it’s a Who. Just being with Jesus and walking with Him—that is the place of abundance.
What’s a habit or hobby that you’re working on developing right now?
I was introduced to Listening Prayer about a year and a half ago. This is essentially when you still yourself before God and begin a conversation with Him. You may ask Him questions or He may bring a passage to mind. And you journal or write out what thoughts, pictures, people, etc. come to mind. This has given me such life and intimacy with Him! There are a lot of great resources out there to help—one my favorites is Dallas Willard’s book, “Hearing God.”
It may sound silly, but I’m also trying to play more golf lately. I love playing with friends, my dad and brother, but especially myself. I think of it as unhurried time to pray, talk with God, and just be outside with Him.
What’s something you work hard to instill in your staffers, or something you really hope they come away knowing after serving at camp?
For too long in my life, I worked for God. Now I work with Him. For too long, I was all about my appearance and performance. Now, all I want is His presence. His presence with me empowering my presence with people. This is another way to think about when Jesus says over and over “I only do what I see the Father doing.” He is making me into a man of presence. And I pray that Shores staff, Shores campers, parents, my coworkers—anyone I can be present with on camp property—would sense the presence of God, the promises He’s given us, and the practices that Jesus perfectly displayed, in and through me.
How has camp changed you?
Besides marriage and family life, camp has been the main environment that God has used to shape me and make me more into the likeness of Jesus. We say that camp is “a greenhouse of growth”—there is nowhere I know of like camp where a person can grow and experience the presence of God. He removes distractions, temptations, stale life rhythms, and brings you out to the piney woods to meet with you. He has been doing that with His people for generations (see Genesis, Exodus, etc). And He is still doing that today—and I’m thankful to just be a part of it.