Jason Tolbert felt the call from the Lord to preach at the age of 15, and has been preaching ever since. Twelve years later, at the age of 27, he answered the call to become pastor at his first church — Refuge Baptist.
Now, a year later, the church has grown from about eight members to averaging 50 to 70 and sometimes 80 in church.
“I was at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church when I felt the call to preach,” Tolbert said. “Bro. Richard Squires was the pastor at the time. I preached every opportunity I had, no matter where it was. God opened doors for me to go and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s what I do.”
Tolbert grew up in Pell City and attended Pell City High School, playing in the marching band.
He has no degree in the ministry, nor has he been to any Bible college.
“All of my knowledge and wisdom comes from Jesus Christ himself,” Tolbert said.
His favorite Bible verse is John 3:16, which says, ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’
“Our congregation is growing, and it is a blessing,” Tolbert said. “Refuge Ministries is growing. The food and clothing ministries that we have is wonderful. My goal is to see us grow and to be a light to this community and surrounding communities.”
Tolbert said they have started a drama team with over 30 youth involved in it.
Tolbert and his wife Katie have been married 11 years. They have three children, 10-year-old twin daughters Destiny and Chelsy, and 6-year-old son Lathan. All three are in the Pell City School System.
Tolbert was quick to say that just a few months ago, Lathan preached his first sermon at Refuge — at the age of six.
“It was a wonderful blessing, the church was full, and there was not a dry eye in this place,” Tolbert said.
Katie said she never thought growing up that she would one day marry a preacher.
“Being a pastor’s wife is challenging, but very rewarding,” Katie Tolbert said. “It’s not an easy road to take, but it is a blessing. God provides, and He has done so much for us.”
Tolbert said when he took over as pastor at Refuge, God showed him a vision.
“That vision was the pews were full, and people were standing outside waiting to get in,” he said. “Here recently, our drama team was performing and we had over 100 people in attendance. There was literally no room to sit down. But I do want people to know and understand that it is not me or Miss Katie. We’re just vessels that God is using. I want people to see Christ through us. Don’t look at us — look at Him. Because He is the only One who can make this happen.”
Tolbert not only preaches, but he plays the keyboard, leads the music, and he and Katie are also the youth pastors.
Contact Gary Hanner at email@example.com.