When you think about the word “VOLUNTEER,” many examples and thoughts come to mind. The concept obviously involves the giving of TIME. It also includes sacrifice, generosity, selflessness, supporting a cause, putting others first, tirelessness, often times financial giving, and so much more. These sentiments and examples do a wonderful job of at least introducing our “Get to Know the Remnant” member for this issue – Mr. PATRICK STITES. Patrick and his wife Amy have been integral parts of this movement since its earliest days. They were here when we only numbered a handful of eager Saints…gathering in the Weigh Down warehouse…along with various homes, parks, and restaurants in the Nashville/Brentwood/Franklin, Tennessee area. Both Patrick and Amy DEFINE the terms “devoted, loyal, dedicated, hard working, supportive, and joyful all the while.” You won’t see a Remnant event that doesn’t…in some way…involve their valuable efforts in the planning and implementing stages. Patrick is heavily involved with our Remnant Youth Group, and our young people are able to look at both Patrick and Amy and see a couple and family FULLY INVESTED in the health and growth of this Church and of Weigh Down Ministries. It cannot be stated enough…and Remnant and Weigh Down founder Gwen Shamblin has said it herself…that this place would not be what it is without Patrick and Amy Stites.
Now…as you get to KNOW Patrick…one thing that stands out about him is how CALM his demeanor is. This is a Saint who you would want handling things during times of busyness…whether those times are “HAPPY busy” or “CRISIS busy.” It is wonderful to have a gentleman and his family who lead by example and are fully committed to the vision that Gwen and our Leaders have set forth. With that said, let’s “get to know” Patrick a little bit more…
RN = Remnant News
PS = Patrick Stites
RN – Talk about how and when you heard about Gwen Shamblin and Weigh Down.
PS – I first heard about Gwen when I was away from home in college and her family moved to my hometown. My mom told me about this wonderful lady who had written a book on Bible-based weight loss that was a huge hit. I didn’t know much about the Weigh Down principles until my wife, Amy, started working at the Weigh Down Workshop a couple of years later and took her first class. (That’s a whole story in itself! God coordinated it all.) For the most part, I had been a “thin eater” most of my life…so I didn’t really think it was something I needed until I started seeing Amy changing dramatically.
RN – Share about how this message has changed you.
PS – Quite simply, I went from being a moody, self-righteous hypocrite to looking inward to get my own heart right. I was better than most at presenting the right outward appearance, but my heart was not pure. I learned early on to hide my sin and seek the praise of man above the praise of God.
RN – Talk about your marriage and family.
PS – Since Amy started working at Weigh Down just a few months after we got married, I’ve been blessed for pretty much all of my married life to have a godly wife who understands authority and is looking for God’s will in everything. Even though I believe we were both looking for God before we learned how to focus on Him above all else, no one had ever pointed us to total obedience like we learned through Gwen’s teaching and the examples we saw at Remnant Fellowship. And now we get to pass that on to our children as they grow up. If I try to imagine where we would be after 19 years of marriage without the teachings we have learned through Remnant Fellowship and the Weigh Down principles, all I can envision is discord, frustration, anger, jealousy, sadness and strife. It wouldn’t be a pretty picture.
RN – Talk about you and Amy deciding to join the Remnant Fellowship in its earliest days. Feel free to reflect upon that commitment…in spite of the controversy, employees leaving, etc. You guys are unwavering, you always have been, and that is an inspiration to others out there!
PS – When we first realized God was calling us to join the small group worshiping together at the Remnant, we never imagined the persecution that would come from that. We truly saw a place where God ruled above all else and wanted to have that closer relationship with Him. Since we felt like we were always looking for that unity in God’s Spirit, we assumed that our friends and family would be just as interested. But it didn’t turn out that way. Honestly, there were many times where I couldn’t adequately express why God led us that way, but I knew that He did and wanted to be obedient to that call. It wasn’t always easy, but I’ve learned that I don’t have to know all the answers to please men, but I have to answer to God and please Him.
RN – Talk about your background/education/upbringing. What did you study? How has that impacted your understanding of this message today? How has it affected your professional career and how you conduct yourself?
PS – I did grow up going to church regularly, several times a week. And one thing I am thankful for is the time that we spent reading the Bible and memorizing verses. I didn’t always understand the Scripture, how it applied to my life – nor did I always obey them, but I had a decent knowledge about God. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily translate to knowing God. After I graduated from college with a business degree, I fully expected to work for a few years and then go back to the family business. But God had other plans, and I ended up in the financial services world. It was quite a struggle at first, but a couple of years into my business and a couple of years in learning about this relationship with God through the Remnant teachings, I had that moment where it all came together. I read Haggai 2 and realized I was trying to let the external make me righteous…instead of purifying my heart. From that point on, my whole perspective changed and my eyes were opened to the wholeness of God in everything. And I’ve looked at everything from His viewpoint instead of trying to fit God’s will into my viewpoint.
RN – Talk about being a husband and father in this message. How different are you than who/what you would have been without this message.
PS – I don’t even want to think about how poorly I would handle my duties as a husband and father without knowing what I know today. The amount of selflessness that goes into serving a wife and children is immense, and I know that I didn’t have that tendency before I learned what a wholly devoted heart looked like. I would have served, but it would have been for my own selfish gain. Watching leaders like Gwen, Tedd, David, Elizabeth, Brandon, Jonathan and so many others has helped me see that there is a whole other level of service that is totally focused on the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of self.
RN – What do you want readers/seekers to know about this place?
PS – The Remnant Fellowship is the most peaceful, joyful, happy, healthy, selfless, thoughtful, wonderful group I have ever been around. Those traits rub off on you a little, but you have to jump in and look for God’s will in your life to experience it completely. The greatest asset that we as a body of believers have is the willingness of those who have gone before us to share their experiences and help others find God’s will for their own lives. No one will tell you what to do. They will tell you to find out what God wants you to do.
RN – What would you say to people who “did Weigh Down” years ago and now are finding themselves hurting…and wanting to return to this Ministry?
PS – Think about the old hymn: Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. It’s not as complicated as we make it. If God is giving you a second chance to experience something that brought you peace before, embrace it once again.
RN – What are some interesting facts about you that people might not know?
PS – A few years ago I started beekeeping. It’s something that my grandfather did many years ago, so I thought it would be fun to carry on the tradition, so to speak. Here’s what I’ve learned from that experience: Every honeybee has a job, and that job is to serve the hive. The queen is the only one that gets to have the babies. All of the other bees clean the hive, feed the babies, gather the pollen, build the honeycomb, make the honey, defend the hive and serve the queen. Their life is in no way about themselves. It’s totally selfless and focused on the big picture. I’m learning to be a honeybee. And I play hockey.
There you go! As you can see, Patrick is focused, devoted, and ready to serve at a moment’s notice…and that honestly is a great summary description of the entire Stites family! They are loving and full of dedication to GOD and to His Church. It is an honor to call them brothers and sisters in Christ, and we look forward to seeing this family continue to lead by example for years to come!