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Jimmy Sites’ Spiritual Outdoor Adventures
Unique Television Programming Impacting Our Culture
Many sportsmen are familiar with Jimmy Sites’ deep passion for outdoor adventure but may have never heard his full story of launching Spiritual Outdoors Adventures (SOA) and how a Christian sportsman’s faith and vision can so impact the outdoors community. Television has provided the medium for expanding the outreach of Jimmy’s message since SOA started in 2002, but it is the many personalities featured throughout the production that has helped to make it the brand that it is today. Jimmy has a very winsome presence and continues to attract other intriguing outdoor personalities to his television show, which always includes some fast action hunting and fishing while traveling the backwoods of America and other fascinating locations around the world.
Jimmy’s productions engage a variety of celebrities and other sportsmen of notable recognition who themselves have compelling stories of faith, family and outdoor passion. Known for his probing questions that transition from outdoor adventure to one’s personal faith, Jimmy’s loyal fans are never disappointed when tuning into the widely distributed series now found on several television networks across the nation, in Ecuador, and in Russia and the Ukraine.
Many other facets of Jimmy’s outdoors passion include not only an itinerant speaking schedule of church-based sportsmen’s banquets and Sunday worship assemblies, but also an annual media producers camp, a cartoon series for children ages 4 to 12 called “Kids Korner Outdoors with Jimmy Sites,” and hunting camps across the world. The Heart of the Outdoors Bible has continued to be one of the best ways to spread God’s Word to the outdoors community through a free distribution program designed to get the Gospel into the hands of as many viewers as possible. Jimmy is also serving as the editor of the new Spiritual Outdoor Adventures Study Bible as well as a curriculum set to be released by Lifeway Publishing.
Jimmy, rather than us trying to tell your story, we are glad to interview you personally to hear how your journey has brought you to the year 2016. Let’s get started with some questions.
1 - How does a former pastor of a 5,000-member church located in Nashville, Tennessee find himself now using the powerful medium of television while brandishing a firearm or fishing pole in his hand to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ?
While living in Arlington, Texas I hosted a faith-based national TV talk show from 1992-94 called Campaign America and got the TV bug. Then from 1998 – 2000 while preaching at the largest church in Nashville, Tennessee I hosted the Amazing Grace Bible Class TV show. While these shows had a successful track record, I felt that I was mostly speaking to viewers who already believe in God and have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I convinced the producer to do a couple of “special episodes” with an outdoor theme that drew parallels from God’s Word – one trout fishing, and one turkey hunting. These were aired as Amazing Grace Bible Class specials, and they received five times more feedback and stronger ratings than any other episode over the three years that I hosted the show. It was then that I decided the new method of delivery should be outdoor-themed and faith-based. Thus, Spiritual Outdoor Adventures was born.
During this initial phase, I was told two different things; (1), the leaders of the outdoor world (hunting, fishing, boating, camping, shooting) told me that I would never get sponsors if I had a Christian message in the shows, and (2) I was told by many church leaders that churches would never support the concept because a majority of the shows would include harvesting wild animals. Both were correct, and I couldn’t find sponsors or support with the exception of a handful of friends who believed in the mission and understood it, and a handful of local Nashville businesses that were willing to advertise on the local NBC affiliate on which we launched in October 2002.
I felt that God had called me and given me the vision to do Spiritual Outdoor Adventures, so I was not about to give up on the idea. I can be pretty persistent or hardheaded or whatever you want to call it. I just dug in my heels and did whatever it took to get the job done.
2 – It has been said that behind every successful man is a smarter and even more successful wife. Tell us about the bride of your youth and her role in the family and business?
Much credit for the success of Spiritual Outdoor Adventures goes to my wife, Amanda, who returned to teaching public school for a few years so we could have money to buy groceries and pay the mortgage when we first started. We also had a very dedicated group of volunteers who were willing to go the extra mile to help get the fledgling mission off the ground. My wife has always been involved in whatever I do. We are a team, marriage partners, and best friends. I married her when she was 18 years old in 1984, and I feel that God immensely blessed me with an angel.
Amanda works diligently as a volunteer behind the scenes, hosts guest with her amazing gift of hospitality and her ability to cook wild game, and is often on-screen as we travel and film all over the world. She is the most remarkable woman I have ever known. Once SOA got established financially, Amanda decided to discontinue teaching in the public school system to pursue a career in art as a portrait and plein air artist. Her work is starting to become popular, and she is now leading art adventure trips each year to Italy, France, and various places in the United States. Amanda is passionate about whatever she does, so we fit together very well.
3 – Tell us about your own family, while growing up with your parents in Arkansas and now with your own children settled in Tennessee?
I like to jokingly say that I came out of my mother’s womb with a bow in one hand and a Bible in the other. My father, Colonel Carroll Sites (who has also been a preacher since 1962), began taking me hunting and fishing at the age of four. He would literally carry me on his shoulders while quail hunting, and when the dogs pointed I would be right by his side with my BB gun when the birds flushed. I usually always claimed at least one kill from every covey rise. Deer hunting followed, and by the age of twelve I was a whitetail fanatic, reading every piece of literature on the subject that I could find. My mom – Sarah Sites – even helped me skin my first deer when I was twelve by hanging it on our swing set in the back yard and looking at photos in a book about how to process a deer.
When my dad would travel and preach Gospel meetings, I would often go with him. During the day I would fish for bass, catfish, and bream in ponds of church members, and then go to preaching at night. I loved listening to my father preach God’s Word, and I cut my teeth on a pulpit. I preached my first sermon at the age of four. My parents would take me to the little country church early on Sunday afternoons, set up a Coke crate behind the pulpit on which I would stand, and I preached one of the two sermons in my repertoire – the Good Samaritan, or the Temple. I did this for years. Several other members of the church heard about it and would come early to listen. I haven’t stopped preaching or spending time in God’s great outdoors ever since those early years. I credit my love for the wild and my love for the Lord to my Godly parents. I also credit them with teaching me how to be a good dad.
I have been blessed with two amazing children – Christin (born 1989) and Jonathan (born 1992). Both kids grew up going on adventures with me literally all over the world. When other families were taking their children to the beach or the ski slopes during Spring Break, we headed to the Amazon Jungle and lived with a fierce Stone Age Indian tribe. The adventure gene definitely runs through my daughter Christin’s veins. She went straight from high school to a six-month mission trip with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) and ended up spending three months in the remote villages of Bangladesh. She is heavily involved with Spiritual Outdoor Adventures as a videographer, editor, and occasionally an on-screen host. She also does work as a video host for Salt Life and edits and shoots for other major companies. She is an amazing young woman of God.
Jonathan is our sports fanatic. He led his high school team to their first ever 5A State Football Championship in 2009 and was named Sumner County High School Football Player of the Year as well as Track Co-MVP of the Year. Jonathan then went on to play linebacker for Carson-Newman University. He ended his four-year career in the top-12 tacklers of the school’s 110-plus years of football, and had some tryouts with professional teams. He is an accomplished bow hunter and fisherman, and is always the life of the party. God also blessed us with an unofficially adopted daughter named Mary, who came to live with us when she was 18 until she married at the age of 23. We took Mary and her husband Jourdan on their first fishing trip to Alaska in their second year of marriage, and it was an amazing adventure.
4 – Where did you attend school through the years and eventual graduate with theological degrees?
I grew up in North Little Rock Arkansas, attending public school at Sylvan Hills until 9th grade. I graduated high school in the second graduation class (1979) of Central Arkansas Christian School. I was the first Student Council President at CAC, and I learned how to run a campaign as well as work with a team of other students and faculty. Being part of CAC in its fledgling years taught me the importance of persistence, how to launch new businesses, how to push through and finish strong even against the odds.
The “experiment” of CAC was a great adventure for me as a teenage boy. Now as a grown man, I am passionate about adventure, and I seek them all over the world. You tell me that I can’t climb that mountain on the horizon, and the next thing you are going to see is me climbing it, or at least trying. I don’t have any fear of failure. What I do fear is not trying. I see life on earth as one big adventure that is basically a warm up of what is to come in eternity. I try to live daily with that eternal focus in mind, as a business leader, a husband, and a dad of grown children. I’m thankful that CAC played a role in shaping this way of looking at life.
From there I attended Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas to play football and eventually baseball. My senior year we won the AIC championship in baseball, something Harding had not done since 1938. The greatest thing was that I met my future wife, Amanda, there, and I obtained a degree in Biblical Communications.
Next, I attended Harding Graduate School of Theology in Memphis, Tennessee where I obtained the Master of Divinity degree. It was a tough 90-hour degree, but it opened up many spaces in my mind that I had not realized needed opening.
In 1989 we moved to Arlington, Texas where I could work on my Biblical languages for entry into a doctorate program. I took advanced Greek Readings courses at Brite Divinity School (TCU) and took Hebrew at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
In 1992 I began the Doctor of Ministry program at Abilene Christian University and graduated with the D.Min in 1996.
5 – Who have been some of the key personnel instrumental in the operations of the television show and ministry?
The old saying is that it takes a village to raise a child. Similarly, it takes a lot of dedicated people to launch an effective ministry that reaches across the world. We have always had a strong team of volunteers as well as a small but committed staff. Three of our seven board of directors members have served for 15 years, and we have supporters as well as sponsors that have been with us for that long as well. One particular volunteer, Don Belles, has served as a cameraman on so many trips that he would have earned over a half-million dollars had he been working for hire. We wouldn’t even be in existence were it not for him. I’m a firm believer that a person is only as good as the people with whom he surrounds himself. That is certainly true for me and for Spiritual Outdoor Adventures.
6 – Tell us about your personal story of receiving Christ into your life and how a ministry such as SOA could have appealed to a teenage Jimmy Sites in drawing you to the LORD through outdoor adventure?
As previously mentioned, I grew up in the church and was actively involved as far back as I can remember. I have never really known a time that I didn’t feel loved by Jesus, and I have always loved him. So pinpointing when I “received” Jesus is a difficult task. I can say that I was really convicted of sin around the age of 11 and that was the year I was baptized.
My story is very different from one who grew up outside of the church. If Spiritual Outdoor Adventures had been around when I was a kid, and I had the opportunity to watch it on television, I would have been glued to the screen. I loved watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins, so I know I would have gobbled up anything SOA would have offered, especially with the spiritual overtones.
7 – Who were some of your heroes in the faith and how did they specifically inspire you as a young entrepreneur to launch into a major outdoors television production?
My father has been my #1 role model and hero as a man for all of my life. Recently he was awarded the Eagle Servant Award by the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame for his exemplary service to our country, for 42 years of military service, for preaching the Gospel across the world, taking care of orphans, and championing African American churches in the 1960s. He is an exceptional and ethical outdoorsman to boot, and can out fish about anyone except my mother. He is now 80 years of age and still going strong. He has shaped me more than any other man alive.
I have also had the privilege of hunting and fishing with many of the top names in the outdoor world, and all of them have so much to offer through their wisdom and experience. But one does rise to the top, and it is my dear friend Hank Parker, with whom I have filmed around 13 episodes. Hank is not only a seriously good bow hunter and fisherman, he is also a very loyal friend and brother in the Lord. He is wise in many ways and has taught me many things. His word is his bond, and that’s how I like to live. Plus, I love hearing his crazy stories about his many escapades with Dale Earnhardt!
8 – How has the television and the many related ministries of SOA impacted the outdoors community on a local level such as in a church setting, and do you have an example of how the gospel has transformed a sportsman and his family?
During the first couple of years I wrote a Bible-based Study Guide to go along with each episode and offered it free of charge to viewers. Then my board of directors of which I am a member decided to start offering free “Heart of the Outdoor” Bibles to viewers. We have now distributed over $1.3 million of these Bibles and other spiritual resources that I have written or produced over the least 15 years. Many churches began calling us and asking how to start an outdoorsman’s ministry. So we partnered with B&H Publishing (Lifeway) and came out with a series of DVDs, books, and a Resource Kit. Over 2,000 churches have used the Resource Kit to start a new ministry to reach out to outdoorsmen.
B&H also published our most recent product – Talk the Talk with the Duck Man – A Duckumentary (with Phil and Jase Robertson of Duck Dynasty). A couple of years ago I was approached by EEM (Eastern European Mission) when they heard that SOA had developed a strong following in Russia and the Ukraine. They proposed to handle the Bible distribution in the Eastern European block, so all commercial blocks were donated to them and they created special Russian-language commercials prompting viewers to contact them and request a Russian-language Bible. Their giveaways increased by over 30%. I was recently told that even the President of Russia watches our show!
God has opened other exciting doors and grown the SOA platform far bigger than I ever dreamed, adding a national drive-time radio show for five years on the Salem Music Network, as well as an animated cartoon called “Kids Korner with Jimmy Sites” that teaches outdoor-related safety to children ages 4 to 10. Premiere Speakers Bureau came on board and helped create annual speaking tours. It’s so exciting to see thousands of men gather in an arena to hear outdoor adventure stories from a guy named Jimmy that they see on TV, but by the time they get home they are more excited about one named Jesus. That’s what it’s all about! There are many more exciting things going on, including documentaries, movies, an annual producers camp, and even a TV network on Dish that we are transitioning into a family- friendly outdoor network. We are also currently developing an international social media platform. I believe that God will continue to expand the platform as long as we honor Him and don’t try to take the credit for any of it. It is all from Him. We know that His idea is working when we hear from or meet a man whose life has been totally transformed by God through SOA. We have met literally thousands over the years.
One that I especially remember was an outfitter in Canada that ran a camp where he would bring in prostitutes for his hunters. They would drink and gamble more than they would hunt. This outfitter beat his wife regularly and even broke her nose with his fist. He watched one bear hunting episode of Spiritual Outdoor Adventures and heard that I would be speaking in his area. So he brought all of his hunters and guides from camp, along with his wife, and attended the wild game dinner. By the time the night was over, he had heard the Gospel and his life was changed forever by the grace of God’s love. He cleaned up his camp, got all new clients, and began loving his wife and treating her kindly. He got involved with a local church and now he and his wife are going great, his camp is prospering, and he is leading a men’s ministry in his small town. That’s the kind of report I live for.
9 – Tell us about your annual Producer’s Camp and the effectiveness of teaching outdoors media production to others who aspire to use the powerful medium of television to spread the gospel?
The Producers Camp was launched in response to so many people approaching me and asking, “How did you get started doing an outdoor TV show?” Sometimes it’s not a question but a statement that I hear, such as “I want to start my own show. How do I do it?” Since we are a non-profit, we keep the cost down and offer a 5-day, 4-night camp at a private 300-acre property with a beautiful lodge called Five Star Retreat. I bring in excellent teachers and a gourmet chef, and we lay out the red carpet for our students. We offer scholarships for disabled students and wounded veterans, and have graduated 76 students from the program over the past four years. The age of our students ranges from 14 to 68 years of age.
Many top people in the entertainment industry help out, such as Mark Carver – a lighting specialist who has lit everything from the Olympics to the Presidential Inauguration to the Grammy’s red carpet program. We bring in Hollywood producers who have worked on multi-million dollar movies, as well as actors. We bring in videographers and editors and graphics specialists. One year John Cherry, the creator and producer of the Ernest movies and over 3,000 major TV commercials, stayed at camp the entire week as our “Producer in Residence.” That year the students produced a 10-minute movie. We always have a major project for them to do, and on the final morning of camp we debut the finished project and then give out awards. It is an intense five days of learning, as one student said it was “like drinking from a fire hose!” We also have quiet time each morning and encourage our students to read their Bible and spend time in prayer, and we have a back-porch devotional each evening.
The coolest story that has come from our producers camp is when retired Special Forces sniper Tim Stamey, who has more confirmed kills than anyone in US military history, was transitioning into becoming an outdoor cameraman. He was impacted by the spiritual element of the camp, had some private studies with me and board of directors chairman Wilson Burton, and he was baptized in a creek along with his buddy after camp.
10 – Have there been any on-location television shoots where you have come across danger or found yourself in a precarious situation while filming an episode of the show?
Twice I have had to give my tent camp to coastal brown bears in Alaska. Once, while kneeling along an Alaskan stream and doing a scene showcasing a portable cook stove, a grizzly bear stalked to within ten feet of me with his mouth open wide enough to insert a basketball. I had to wade the stream to get away from the bear, and he wouldn’t back off. He followed us all the way back to our tents and we ended up having to give up the camp.
In Canada I was stranded by a storm overnight in the deep woods, and had to shoot a black bear with my bow at eight steps that was about to climb on top of me. But the scariest encounter was in the Amazon Jungle when we were hunting with blow guns deep in the jungle and our two native Stone Age hunters got very nervous and quiet at the end of a dark drenching rainstorm. We had been careful to avoid the “down river people” (cannibals and headhunters who have never had friendly contact with anyone from the outside world), and I think our two hunters believed that a hunting party from this fierce tribe was nearby, maybe even stalking us. I expected a blow dart to hit a tree by my neck any moment like in the Indiana Jones movie! Needless to say, we got out alive.
11 – Knowing your personality Jimmy, there has to have been many humorous occasions experienced while in the woods or on the water trying to get television shows produced. Tell us about a couple of the most memorable?
One time I shot a wild boar in Texas with my bow. I said on screen, “Man, I can’t wait to get back to camp and see you between two biscuits.” Hank Parker and his two boys, Billy and Hank Jr., saw that footage and thought it was the funniest thing ever. They went on a campaign to make fun of me for about a year. I showed up in a Texas hunting camp they were at and they awarded me an arrow with a fake sausage and biscuit in place of the broadhead. I went to my favorite ground blind the next day and they had turned it into a church building with a steeple and 21 fake sausage and biscuits on it.
Then Hank aired one of his hunting shows on what is now CBS Sports and spent 5 minutes making fun of me with animated sausage and biscuits popping up on the screen. I didn’t realize what a far-reaching impact this had until one day I ordered coffee at a local coffee shop near my house, and the clerk asked, “Do you want that between two biscuits?” I think Hank was just trying to get back at me for beating him bass fishing during the one time that he invited me to be on his fishing show (which by the way, that episode won an Emmy because it was so funny).
The most recent funny experience is when my wife and I were hunting wild hill country stags in Scotland with John Carter Cash. My daughter Christin was the videographer. We were on top of the Scottish Highlands right where they filmed the movie Brave Heart. My wife was crawling on her belly to a ledge where she could look down on an old stag that was roaring. Christin, at the time 25 years old, was crawling right behind her and she literally crawled right out of her pants. I happened to be behind her with a Go Pro camera and turned it around on myself to show how hard I was laughing. My laughter made it on the episode, but the scene that caused it didn’t, needless to say.
12 – Biblical teaching has certainly been a hallmark of your influence within the outdoors community. What are some of the topics that you share that best relate to sportsmen and how do you hold the attention of sportsmen in communicating scriptural truths?
A good hunter is a good deceiver. A hunter or a fisherman is practicing the art of deception so that he or she can lure the animal or fish in without the prey expecting any danger so that the hunter can kill or catch the prey. Likewise the Great Deceiver – Satan – is using the same techniques. His first successful hunt is recorded in Genesis 3 where he deceives mankind and ruins the Natural Order of Things created by God. The implications are still being dealt with to this day. Men need to know how the Deceiver is hunting them with the goal of killing them spiritually. So, I deliver this message whenever I can, calling it “Decoys of Deception.” A new curriculum containing this lesson will be available on DVD in the summer of 2016.
As far as capturing and holding the attention of outdoorsmen, I use the strategy of Jesus by starting with the person’s interest. When Jesus called the fishermen to be his disciples, he said, “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” When he met the woman at the well at Samaria who had come to draw water, he explained to her that he has “living water” and he revealed himself to her. She was so excited that she ran back to her village and left her water jar at the well.
After Jesus miraculously fed the 5,000 with the loaves and fish, they came back the next morning wanting breakfast. He explained that he didn’t have breakfast for them, but that he is the “bread of life.” For me, I have hunters and fishermen watching Spiritual Outdoor Adventures on TV, or attending my speaking events, or buying my books. So, I start with adventure stories that entertain, and then transition into applications that educate and eventually inspire.
That’s the formula: ENTERTAIN in order to EDUCATE in order to INSPIRE. If I have done my job right, they may have come to see me, but when they go home they have seen Jesus.
13 – When considering the outreach to men within church communities, what are some of the trends you have observed and what is the best way to impact sportsmen to inspire growth and maturity that is so essential in making disciples?
Statisticians tell us that churches in America are comprised of 70% women. This is alarming. Where are the men who are supposed to be leading their families and leading churches? A large number of men who serve as ministers in various roles are not very manly. This makes sense because the majority of the people being ministered to are women. That’s why the outdoorsmen’s ministry movement is so crucial, and I am very excited to see the growth that has been spawned over the past 15 years. Men who have never gone to church in their lives, or who have had a bad experience with church, are being attracted to wild game dinners, outdoor expos, and specialized ministries that present a platform that they can enjoy and in which they can participate (archery shoots, fishing tournaments, hunting trips, skeet shoots, etc.).
Special outdoor-related curriculum materials are now being developed to target these men (and women), as well as outdoor-themed Bibles and books. Spiritual Outdoor Adventures has grown astronomically, which proves that people are hungry for outdoor related adventure that incorporates a positive spiritual message. This is one of the biggest trends sweeping across the nation currently, and it is not only reaching non-believers, but also activating believers who never before had a ministry in which they could not only participate but also lead.
14 – How do you see church pastors responding to the need for effective men’s ministry in reaching sportsmen and their families in fulfilling the Great Commission? The Great Commandment?
Many pastors enjoy the outdoors and are hunters or fishermen. It’s easy for them to get the concept of outdoor-related ministry, endorse it, and even participate in it. But many more pastors didn’t grow up hunting or fishing. They don’t share the same passions as hunters or fishermen. I encourage such pastors to be open- minded about the amazing possibilities that exist to reach men in their community through this type of specialized ministry.
But I also encourage them to not try to be someone they are not. It’s obvious when a pastor that is not a hunter gets up at a wild game dinner wearing a starched camo shirt for the first time and tries to look and talk like a hunter or fisherman. While he has good intentions, it would much better for him to delegate the MC job of the event to someone who is an experienced outdoorsman. The key is to be real. Non-believers can see through fake really quick. Don’t go there. It’s a turn off.
15 – Most men seem to be performance driven when it comes to their career, family and even church involvement. How can the message of grace best be understood by hard-driving sportsmen who seem to always strive to do things for God instead of allowing Him to do things through us?
Success looks like different things to different people. Nice cars, big houses, private planes, long vacations, high ratings, climbing the corporate ladder, or who you know and hang out with. While there’s nothing wrong with any of these in and of themselves, I really don’t think they are the true markers of success. To me, I feel most successful when I shake the hand of a man who had been busting hell wide open with his life until he ran across our TV show and requested a Bible. He eventually read it and gave his life over to God, and now he is overseeing a small outdoor-related ministry at his little country church for kids who don’t have fathers.
I’ve heard hundreds of these stories over the fourteen years of SOA, and my heart always feels the peace that passes all understanding and the joy that is beyond words. That, to me, is the ultimate definition of success, and that is the mark of grace. If we as men are performance-centered, we will try to earn our grace through works. If we are God-centered, we will receive grace with a big thank you and be at peace.
As I was hunting in the duck blind one day with Phil Robertson, we had an interesting discussion about this very topic. You can see it on a documentary published by B&H Publishers titled “Talking the Talk with the Duck Man: A Duckumentary.” The bottom line is simple: I can either live my life trying to do enough good works to earn my grace and I’ll end up feeling guilty all the time (because I can never be good enough or do enough for God); or, I can live my life thanking God for His amazing grace and then do works out of my thankfulness. This leads to peace and joy and a strong feeling of eternal security.
One is a “got to” mentality and the other is a “get to” mentality. I’ll take the second one because it is the only one that truly works as it brings out the best in me and it usually brings out the best in others around me.
16 – What are some of the core Biblical teachings that you believe men most need in our current age and culture?
My main message to men, outside of the fact that Satan is hunting them to kill them and put them in his trophy room, is that God has out-smarted Satan and offers resurrection from death through His Son Jesus Christ. This is pivotal. Once a man understands this, I then try to inspire him to become a man after God’s own heart. David is the only person in the Bible of whom it was said that he was “a man after God’s own heart.” But it wasn’t because he was such a good follower of God. David committed adultery with Bathsheba, had her husband murdered to try to cover up her pregnancy, was a terrible father, didn’t do well as a husband overall, and developed an unhealthy pride over his kingdom accomplishments.
Many men today can relate to one or more of these. Those men need to know that they can still be considered a man after God’s own heart. This does not mean that you have a heart like God. It does not mean that you’ve got your act together perfectly. What it means is that you are PURSUING God with everything you’ve got. You desperately want a relationship with Him. When you screw up, it hurts your heart and you grieve over it. In your heart of hearts you want more than anything to honor God and make Him proud. That’s being a man AFTER God’s own heart.
If men get this, their focus becomes God-centered. A God-centered man is a powerful force to reckon with! That’s what our world needs most at this time – God-centered men. I’ve always said, “You get the man, you get the family.” My mission is to travel around the world and convince men of their real role on this earth. I’m involved in a revolution that will impact families all over the world, and therefore have a positive impact on communities, states, and nations.
17 - What are some of your greatest passions for hunting and fishing adventures, favorite destinations, animals to hunt and preferred equipment?
I am in love with Alaska! The last great frontier, in most places, is just like it was hundreds of year ago. I also love to research where Teddy Roosevelt hunted and then go to that area and do a drop camp. I did this for moose and ended up living out of a small tent for several days, harvesting a 63-inch bull on the eighth day of the hunt. It took us two days to get the moose back to base camp, and then three days for a bush plane to break through bad weather to pick us up. It was tough, but was a pure adventure of the utmost kind.
I also love turkey hunting, elk hunting, and whitetail hunting – especially with a bow. There’s nothing like matching wits with a really old buck that is almost completely nocturnal, and trying to outsmart him with a bow. But if I had to put all of my eggs in one basket, so to speak, and choose only one place to spend the rest of my life hunting, it would be Africa. I have made multiple trips there with my wife Amanda and a team of friends and cameramen, and I am mesmerized by the Dark Continent and its amazing animals. I have a huge passion for Africa because it is in such dire need for conservation support.
The liberal media has joined sides with the anti-hunting establishment, and Africa is in their crosshairs. They are on a campaign to shut down hunting in Africa (just consider the media fiasco related to “Cecil the lion”). If they get their way, they will single-handedly do more damage to the eco-system and the animal population than all of the poachers in Africa combined over the past 100 years. They will literally wipe out species of animals, and all the while they think they are saving the animals. The only reason there are animals left in Africa is because of the value put on those animals for safaris.
Once that value is removed and hunters can no longer hunt them, the animals will be killed and eaten by the native people, without consideration to game laws or conservation. Plus, all of the extra money that supports the local economies of Africa will dry up, costing South Africa alone approximately a half-billion dollars annually. This will sign the death warrant of many subsistence farmers, devastate poor villages and small towns, and have a very negative effect all over the country.
That’s what drives me when I go on national television on Fox News and debate PETA’s Sr. Vice President. That’s why I have spent hours being interviewed by reporters and execs from CNBC about what is really happening in Africa. I just hope I can make a difference before it’s too late.
18 – Leave us with some of your fondest stories from the Bible, some heroes in the Christian faith that have influenced your life, and do you have a favorite scripture verse?
I love the story of Jesus calling Peter to follow him. In this story you have a bystander telling a professional fisherman how to catch fish, and that’s after the pro and his buddies have stayed up all night fishing without catching anything. Peter had every reason to ignore the suggestion that he should try it on the other side of the boat, especially since he had already spent two hours cleaning and putting up the nets. But there was something about Peter that told him to take risks, and he did. The result is astounding, and it changed his life forever. I want to be like that.
Even though I mess up sometimes, and blurt out stupid things sometimes, and sometimes take my eyes off of Jesus and start to sink, there is something in my heart of hearts that propels me to move toward Jesus. I know that he loves me, that he cares for me, and that he wants to use me to do something special. So, like Peter, I’m going to do what he says, no matter what anyone else thinks, or no matter how futile it may seem. Jesus knows what he’s doing. He sees a bigger picture than I do. So, I choose to follow him wherever he leads, and do whatever he assigns me to do, no matter what it may cost me.
As far as a favorite Scripture verse, I love Romans 8. The whole chapter is just mind- boggling. It is the crescendo of the Bible. There I am told that all things will work out for the good of those who love the Lord. I am told that as long as God is for me, it doesn’t matter who is against me. I am told that nothing can ever separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus my Lord. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
Jimmy Sites, what a privilege it has been interviewing you to learn more about your personal life, family background and such unique ways of telling the great stories of faith from outdoorsmen who follow Jesus Christ. Please keep us posted with your travels and new ventures in outdoors ministry so that we can make sure our loyal readers are up to date and can follow your television show as you take it to the next level. God bless you and your future outreach to sportsmen across America and around the world!