First Baptist Greensboro joyfully welcomes Rev. Dr. Eric Mathis as our new Associate Pastor of Music & Worship. Eric was called through the unanimous and enthusiastic vote of the Congregation at the close of worship on Sunday, April 28.

Eric will formally begin his tenure at First Baptist Greensboro on September 3, with his first Sunday on September 8. He will join us throughout the summer at various points, while fulfilling a commitment to lead First Baptist Church DC during Senior Pastor Julie Pennington-Russell’s sabbatical.

Read more about Eric below, and learn more about why we’re so hopeful about our ministry together.

View our Call Sunday worship service, including Eric’s leadership, here.

About Eric

Eric is currently Associate Pastor at The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC. There, he has responsibilities in music and worship, young adult ministry, and administration. Before beginning his tenure at First Baptist, he served as teacher and administrator for universities and seminaries in Texas, California, and Alabama, and held ministerial roles for congregations in the same states. His work in the academy and the church is united by his belief that music and worship are critical agents of spiritual formation, and the heart of his vocational calling is to connect all ages to the power and possibilities inherent in the church’s music and worship practices.

An ordained Baptist minister, Eric holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Wheaton College (2003), a Master of Music in Church Music with a concentration in Choral Conducting and Organ from Baylor University (2007), a Master of Divinity from Baylor University (2007), and a Ph.D. in Theology with concentrations in Christian Worship and Preaching from Fuller Theological Seminary (2013). 

Professional Experience

The First Baptist Church of Washington, DC (2021-Present)
Associate Pastor

At FBCDC, Eric plans and leads weekly worship gatherings that have come to be known for their balance of familiar and fresh expressions of faith. He conducts FBCDC’s Chancel Choir, a group of professional and volunteer musicians that sings a variety of literature and presents multiple musical services annually alongside professional instrumentalists. Their annual Christmas program, now in its 65th year, partners with a local charity to combine music with efforts in reparative justice. To honor the legacy of his predecessor, Eric began and now oversees an organ recital series which brings notable organists to DC and showcases the congregation’s Austin organ, which is one of the largest on the Northeast coast. Eric has been instrumental in FBCDC’s recent Strategic Planning, including extensive attention to the care and use of its historic building. He also leads FBCDC’s vibrant young adult ministry of professionals in their 20s and 30s.

Samford University (2010-2020)
Associate Dean for the Division of Music, Associate Professor of Church Music & Worship, and founding Executive Director of the Center of Worship and the Arts
Under Eric’s leadership, the undergraduate and graduate music programs at Samford saw significant growth, and the Center for Worship and the Arts received more than $3 million in grant funding. These funds fostered innovative programing, research, ministry, scholarship, and collaboration on themes surrounding adolescent spirituality and youth ministry; worship, theology and the arts; race, class, and worship; special needs ministries in congregational life; and innovation, entrepreneurship, and change-based leadership rooted in the arts.

Dawson Memorial Baptist Church (2011-2020)
Music and Worship Associate, including roles as Organist & Pianist
Eric worked with the Minister of Music & Worship in planning and leadership. An accomplished pianist and organist, Eric played multiple weekly worship services in traditional and contemporary idioms for the 7,000-member DMBC, while accompanying weekly rehearsals, service music, and performances for the 250-voice Sanctuary Choir and 150-voice Chapel Choir.

Additional pastoral and music ministry leadership in California, Texas, Illinois and Missouri since 2003. 

Additional academic leadership as an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, Azusa Pacific University, and Baylor University since 2007.

Additional Leadership

Eric is active as a worship leader, musician, writer, speaker, and consultant.

Eric has planned and led worship for multiple denominations including the Alliance of Baptists, American Baptist Churches USA, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Cumberland Presbyterian, the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (E.L.C.A.), the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Church of Christ, among others.

As a musician, Eric has conducted and accompanied choral ensembles nationally and internationally, working with notable conductors Jeffery Ames, Anton Armstrong, Donald Bailey, Rodney Eichenberger, Mary Hopper, Weston Noble, Rosephanye Powell, Paul Salamunovich, Z. Randall Stroope, and others.

As a writer, Eric has published articles in Choral Journal, The Hymn, Worship Leader Magazine, and Working Preacher. With Lester Ruth of Duke Divinity School, he is co-author of Leaning on the Word: Worship with Argentine Baptists in the Mid-Twentieth Century (Eerdmans, 2017). His most recent publication, Worship with Teenagers: Adolescent Spirituality and Congregational Practice, was published by Baker Academic in Spring 2022. He has presented papers and led workshops at a variety of universities, including most recently at Calvin University’s Symposium on Christian Worship (2024).

Eric currently holds memberships in the Academy of Homiletics, the American Choral Directors Association, the North American Academy of Liturgy, and The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada where he has served on the editorial board for The Hymn.

Read Eric’s complete resume here.

A Word from Eric

In so many ways, I am at a loss for words after our Call Weekend. My mind consistently recalls the final line of a hymn we sang in worship: “lost in wonder, love, and praise.”

Call weekends have a tendency to be about one person – the once mysterious candidate who is now known in the flesh. But, this weekend was not just about me.

This weekend was about a congregation who has much to offer anyone who is willing to invest themselves in this place – not the least of which is a strong heritage and legacy in music and worship. This weekend was about a congregation who has – through its search committee – stewarded its gifts through a process that was intentional and thoughtful.

This weekend was about a capable staff who works with excellence, joy, and purpose. This weekend was about a choir who is eager to lift its voice in song. This weekend was about young people who are sitting in the wings, waiting for their gifts to be used.

Moreover, this weekend was about a God who is calling all of us – me, this congregation, and each one of you – to offer our lives as an act of worship. We need what one another has to offer when we are living into our full selves, and our city and world need what we have to collectively offer – the hands and feet of Jesus who point us to a God whose name is of beauty, justice, and love.

It will be sheer joy and privilege to join you and live out our call together – for the good of the church, for the good of this city, and for the glory of God. Until then, know that you have my heart, my prayers, my gratitude, and my love.

Personal Interests

When not at church, Eric enjoys running, cooking, and a strong cup of coffee. He finds respite hiking the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, or relaxing at his family’s place on Kentucky’s Lake Barkley. He will be forever disappointed that his favorite on-screen family – Johnny, Moira, David, and Alexis Rose – didn’t see a seventh season.

Special Thanks

Thanks to our Search Committee for their excellent representative leadership throughout this process: Matt Messick (Chair), Will Crawford, Sarah Frye, Elizabeth Holleman, Laura Lomax, Maggie Martin, Mark McCracken, Tommy Starnes and Levone Tobin Scott.