“I see my role as that of introducing Erskine Seminary to the city of Greenville, and the city of Greenville to Erskine Seminary.”
That’s how the former senior pastor of Greenville ARP Church, the Rev. Matthew Miller, describes his new job as director of the Erskine Theological Seminary extension site in Greenville, S.C. “I believe it’s a natural fit, and an introduction that’s long overdue!” he says.
Boosting the city of Greenville, fourth among the fastest-growing cities in America, comes naturally to Miller after a decade of ministry there. “Greenville … is garnering national attention on an almost weekly basis as an up-and-coming city with beauty, charm, and culture,” he says proudly. “It is also known for its hundreds of churches.”
As a senior pastor, Miller “needed to connect with a wide variety of people, and that will be important in this role as well,” he says.
“Erskine Seminary needs to connect with its numerous alumni in the Upstate, with area churches, with city leaders, and—of course—with potential students. This role of connecting with people tremendously excites me.”
His new job description reads, in part, “responsible for providing a personal and sustained visible presence of Erskine Theological Seminary in the city of Greenville, building relationships with potential supporting partners of ETS, connecting in person with potential students in the Greenville area, and developing critical institutional supports…for an expanded Greenville campus.”
Miller sees areas of similarity between his current job and his former position as senior pastor, but there are differences as well.
“Greenville ARP Church was an established church when I became the senior pastor. We had an existing staff, seasoned officers, and a beautiful building that was paid off. The need there was one of ministry revitalization, which we saw happen substantially over 10 years,” he explains. “This new calling is much more like church planting—starting from the ground up.”
The facility for the Greenville site is far from makeshift, however. “We have a beautiful classroom on the second floor of the ARP Center with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Chanticleer golf course of the Greenville Country Club,” he says. “Additionally, we have office spaces for faculty and admissions, as well as a student lounge.”
Miller says Erskine Seminary will offer courses for three master’s programs at the Greenville site, but focus will be on the master of divinity degree. “Our greatest desire is to grow our M.Div. program here. It’s a great city for someone to live in for three or four years while earning the M.Div. degree,” he says.
“There are hundreds of churches where seminary students can plug in and dozens of internships in the area,” he points out. “We believe the city of Greenville is a very attractive place for an aspiring pastor to live while earning a master of divinity. I know I would have loved to live here while attending seminary.”
Meanwhile, what’s in store for Miller? “Most of my time will be spent meeting with leaders in the city and its churches, telling Erskine Seminary’s story and learning how Erskine can best connect with and serve the Upstate,” he says.
“I will have the assistance of David Cathcart in seminary admissions as well as the faculty and administration from the Due West campus, who will be supporting the work in various ways.”
Matthew Miller received his bachelor of arts degree in Economics and Philosophy at Wake Forest University in 2000. He went on to earn the M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte in 2004 and the Th.M. at Erskine Theological Seminary in 2015. He has done additional study at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, Harvard Divinity School, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Duke Divinity School. He is currently enrolled in the Townsend Leadership Program. He and his wife Lindsay have three children. He is working on a Doctor of Ministry degree at Erskine Seminary.