Seasoned pastor and church leader Jay Stewart is widely recognized as a creative communicator and thinker regarding church growth. He and his wife Melanie planted The Refuge in 2004 and in its first five years, attendance grew to over 1100 and gave over $1 million to missions. A graduate of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, Jay serves on several ministry and church boards and as a consultant to other church planters. He enjoys riding Harleys, playing basketball, hanging with his family, and traveling. He and his wife have four children, and one grandson.