Eric Mathis believes corporate worship is a critical agent of spiritual formation, and he is deeply committed to connecting all ages to the power of worship in church and life. Eric is Associate Dean for the Division of Music, Associate Professor of Church Music and Worship Leadership, and Executive Director of the Center for Worship and the Arts at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music and worship.
Under his leadership, the undergraduate and graduate worship leadership programs at Samford have seen significant growth, including curriculum expansion, student recruitment, scholarship availability, and ensemble diversification. Samford University’s Center for Worship and the Arts, of which Mathis is founding Director, has now received funding of more than $3 million toward grant based initiatives. These funds have 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.
An ordained minister, Eric holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Wheaton College (IL), a Master of Music in Church Music with a concentration in Choral Conducting from Baylor University, a Master of Divinity from Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Theology with concentrations in Christian Worship and Preaching from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before moving to Alabama, he taught as an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, Azusa Pacific University, and Baylor University.
He has maintained an active role as a minister, serving congregations in Missouri, Illinois, Texas, California, and Alabama. He currently holds memberships in the American Academy of Religion, the American Choral Directors Association, the Academy of Homiletics, the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, the North American Academy of Liturgy, and the International Council of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada where he has served on the editorial board for The Hymn.
Eric remains active as a writer, speaker, congregation consultant, and worship leader with published articles in Choral Journal, The Hymn, Worship Leader Magazine, and Working Preacher. With Lester Ruth of Duke Divinity School, he is co-author for Leaning on the Word: Worship with Argentine Baptists in the Mid-Twentieth Century (Eerdmans, 2017). He is currently writing the manuscript for Worship with Teenagers: Perspectives in Youth Ministry, Worship Ministry, and Adolescent Spirituality, under contract with Baker Academic Publishers for publication Spring 2021.
Eric is married to Brittany, a Certified Public Accountant with Spire Energy. Together, they are dog parents to a miniature Schnauzer, Gainey, and members of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, where they volunteer with the student ministry and Eric serves on the music and worship staff as pianist.
Degrees and Certifications
- B.M., Wheaton College, Piano Performance
- M.M., Baylor University, Church Music
- M.Div., Baylor University, George W. Truett Theological Seminary
- Ph.D. Fuller Theological Seminary, Christian Worship and Preaching
- Teenage Youth Worship Practices
- Adolescent Spirituality
- Liturgical Theology
- Liturgical History
- Ritual Studies
- Sacred Music
- Worship Leadership
- Preaching and the Arts