Jay Knolls was born in Milford, Delaware in 1970, the youngest of five children. He came to know Christ as his personal Savior when he was nine years old at a small Nazarene Church in Maryland. When he was 12, he followed the Lord in believer’s baptism. Because he grew up being taught the fallacy of sinless perfection, he struggled with his relationship with God during his high school years. While he felt the call to ministry when he was 16 years old, he didn’t follow that call because he knew he wasn’t sinless as he believed one needed to be to serve in ministry.
After high school graduation Jay attended the University of Delaware for his freshman year before transferring to Salisbury University in Salisbury, Maryland. He graduated with a degree in Respiratory Therapy from Salisbury in 1992. He entered the health care industry right after graduation and began working in Dover, Delaware.
Jay married Michelle Van Ness in January of 1995. The summer after they were married they moved to Vermont where Michelle attended the University of Vermont for graduate school. Jay took a job at the local hospital and worked his way into an administrative position. He had the privilege of serving as the Director of Clinical Education for four years. While they were in Vermont they attended Trinity Baptist Church which is where they were attending when the Lord called them into fulltime vocational ministry. God did an amazing work in their lives while they were at Trinity.
Following the Lord’s leading, the Knolls moved to Lansdale, Pennsylvania where Jay attended Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary. After finishing his MDiv, they moved to Orlando, Florida where Jay served as youth pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Winter Garden. After two years as youth pastor, he was asked to serve as the Discipleship Pastor. When the senior pastor resigned, he was named Interim Senior Pastor. The Knolls served at Calvary for four years before the Lord called them back to Trinity Baptist Church in Vermont to pastor.
After five years of ministry in Vermont, in 2011, God brought their family to Grace Baptist in Wilmington. Jay served as Discipleship Pastor for the first two years, and in the fall of 2013, the church voted for him to become the Senior Pastor. In the spring of 2014 Jay earned his doctorate in ministry. He is a dynamic preacher of the Word of God and a compassionate, caring pastor.