Rev. Jonas Revis, who began preaching at the age of 18, is celebrating his 49th year in the ministry. Revis, who presently is semi-retired due to health problems, attends the Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church, which he once pastored. In fact, the present pastor of the church, Rev. Randy Johnson, announced his call to the ministry during Revis’ tenure at the church.
One of 16 children, Revis is a native of Marion, N.C. “There were 10 boys and six girls. Our father was a farmer. We grew up on a farm and we worked hard,” he said. In addition to Jonas, three of his brothers also became preachers.
His first pastorate was at Peterson Chapel Free Will Baptist Church in Green Mountain, N.C. Before coming to Carter County in 1972 as pastor of Piney Grove Free Will Baptist Church, Preacher Revis pastored the Covey Rock and Liberty churches in Marion, N.C. Prior to becoming pastor at Piney Grove he was a bivocational pastor, working in a thread mill and furniture factory in North Carolina. In addition to local pastorates at Piney Grove and Valley Forge, Revis has pastored the Watauga Valley Free Will Baptist Church, Union Hill, Pearce Chapel and Friendship Free Will Baptist Churches. He also pastored a brief time in Greeneville.
During his time in the ministry, Rev. Revis said he has met a lot of good people as well as good preachers. He especially mentioned Rev. Ed Burnett and Rev. Henry Colvard, as well as three members of the famed Hardin Brothers Quartet — Wesley, Hobart, and Gilbert, who recently died. He noted that Rev. Cecil Higgins, a former pastor of Valley Forge Free Will, ordained him to the ministry in 1968 at the Riverview Church in Erwin. “He was my mentor as was Rev. Clyde Fender, who officiated at the marriage ceremony of my wife and me,” the preacher said.
“I’ve enjoyed some great moments in the ministry. It’s not easy, but it’s rewarding,” he shared. Rev. Revis’ advice to young preachers: “First, make sure you are called, then be true to your Lord and your calling. Love the people you pastor, and be good to them.”
During his 49 years in the ministry he guesses he has performed more than 70 weddings and around 260 funerals. He has prepared and delivered an untelling number of sermons. What does he enjoy preaching about the most? “I really don’t have a favorite sermon. Whatever the Lord gives, that’s what I preach. I don’t care what it is. It’s all God’s Word,” the preacher shared.
He and his wife, Ann, who is a nurse, are the parents of three children, Becky, Mark and Amanda, all of whom are school teachers. Also, Becky’s husband, Mikey Taylor, is a supervisor with Carter County Schools, and Mark’s wife, Tiffany, is a teacher. Amanda’s husband, Tim Colbaugh, works at Citizens Bank.
Rev. and Mrs. Revis also have four grandchildren, of whom they are quite proud — Adam Colbaugh, who is a student at ETSU; Jordan Taylor, who plays football at Carson-Newman College; and Weston Colbaugh and Makenzie Revis, who attend Carter County schools.
Ann is now retired, but does some substitute teaching with the Carter County School System. The Revises currently live on Wilbur Dam Road in the Siam community.