Senior Pastor, Dr. Matthew S Brown
Born in Indiana in 1960, Matt was raised in the “vacation wonderland” of Missouri. Seriously, though, it was a wonderful place to grow up. Following high school, Matt enrolled in the University of Missouri where he would earn a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. During his tenure at MU, encounters with Econ. 229 and the ancient computer language of COBOL helped to open Matt’s heart and mind to the hearkening of the Holy Spirit, whose “still, small voice” challenged him to consider what alternative life plan God might have for him.
A Presbyterian since birth and grateful for the faithful witness of pastors, parents and friends, Matt entered Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and received his Doctor of Ministry degree in 1987.
Upon his ordination to the ministry of Word and Sacrament, Matt began his work as Associate Pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church and in 1990 was called to serve as the pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church in Hickory, NC where he also had the privilege of serving as the President of the local ministerial association and the local crisis ministry.
In 1998, Matt accepted the call to become the Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Morganton, NC. While in Morganton, Matt had had the opportunity to serve as the President of Burke United Christian Ministries and to serve on the Executive Committee of Burke County United Way. In 2002, Matt was elected to serve as the Moderator of the Presbytery of Western North Carolina where he also served on the Presbytery Council and the Committee on Ministry.
Matt has lived in North Carolina for a total of 22 years and now considers himself to be a true North Carolinian, a slave to the drawl-inducing taste of seriously sweetened iced tea. He has been a runner for over 30 years. Each year he gets a little slower but still is an endorphine addict. He loves reading, movies, being with his family, and has a weakness for mint M & M’s (a rare delicacy that appears in select places at Christmas time), a love surpassed only by his disdain for all things coconut.
Matt is married to his best friend, the former Donna Elliott, a native of Jamestown, NC. Donna is a graduate of Appalachian State University and received her master’s degree in special education from Winthrop University. Donna serves as a preschool specialties teacher with Union County Public Schools, teaching children with developmental disabilities and working with them in a variety of settings (from daycares to double-wides). Donna is a voracious reader, enjoys walking and cooking, and demonstrates tremendous forbearance with her husband. Donna and Matt have two sons, Noah and Seth. Noah is a student at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, who has a passion for cross country, track, people, and currently serves on the Youth Council for the Presbytery of Charlotte. Seth, the comedian who may soon be appearing in a club near you, has an infectious smile and enjoys music and sarcasm. He is a senior in high school. He plays bass in a jazz band and is a member of the Charlotte Junior Youth Orchestra. Donna and Matt enjoy their time with the children and traveling.
Regarding his sense of call to the ministry and his family’s sense of call to South Mecklenburg, Matt writes, “Before I ever moderated a Session meeting; before I married; before I ever officiated at a funeral; before I realized that I cannot run as fast as I used to; before I was ordained; before I completed my schooling and went out to face the ‘real world,’ it was my belief that God’s grace is sufficient. After the variety of experiences I have had as a follower of Jesus Christ and as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament, I can still say that I believe this is true. Entering the ministry has been a tremendous blessing for me. It has allowed me to develop and utilize those gifts which God has given to me and it has offered me the opportunity to encounter the abundant joy which can only be found in the body of Christ.
As a grateful heir of the Reformed tradition, I feel humbled by the opportunity I am being given through the grace of Jesus Christ to proclaim God’s Word in the Church. Ministry is a privilege and we continue to be genuinely excited about the ministry of South Mecklenburg Presbyterian where a fellowship of dynamic and gracious disciples have demonstrated immense patience with their admittedly slow-witted and vertically-challenged pastor who was once referred to as “the little preacher.”. It is my prayer that through our shared ministry we will glorify and enjoy the God who is, who was, and who is to come.”