About Dr. Paul Etter
Dr. Paul Etter serves as the Chair of Department of Music and as tenured Director of Choral Activities for Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. He has been a member of the faculty there since 2001 where he is the Director of Concert Choir (auditioned), Chorale (non-auditioned), Choral Union (major works with orchestra), Handbell Ensemble, and Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He teaches conducting fundamentals, choral conducting and techniques, handbell techniques, all church music courses. Paul is also an experienced trombone player.
Complementing his work in higher education, Dr. Etter is ordained and licenced to the ministry. Through this calling, he has filled many full-time and interim roles in the church, including:
- Fill-in on Sundays/Wednesdays for local vacationing music ministers
- First Baptist Church, Shelby, North Carolina – interim (2017 – 2019)
- Boiling Springs Baptist Church, Boiling Springs, North Carolina – interim (2012 – 2015)
- Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, Shelby, North Carolina – part-time (2004 – 2008)
- First Baptist Church, Gastonia, North Carolina – interim (2003 – 2004)
- First Baptist Church, Lubbock, Texas – associate (1996 – 2001)
- Full-time Music & Youth Minister at churches in Missouri and Illinois (1990 – 1996)
- Part-time at churches in Texas while attending seminary (1987 - 1989)
- Part-time at churches in Missouri while attending college (1983 – 1986)
Dr. Etter is experienced in planning and leading all worship services, planning and leading adult choir in weekly worship and special presentations, senior adult choir, youth ensemble, adult and youth handbells, coordinating children’s choir, planning other services as needed. Though he has not officially served as a Senior Adult minister, he has planned/participated in many retreats, and not just musically, but also in Bible studies and Seminary Extension courses. More than once while serving in a church, he has been approached by members asking if he would be interested in being the Senior Adult pastor. Through his many years of serving in churches, he has ministered to people of all ages.
Paul achieved his terminal degree in 2002, a Doctorate of Philosophy in Fine Arts, Major in Choral Conducting from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He also holds a Master of Music, Music Ministry (1989) from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and a Bachelor of Music, Church Music, cum laude (1986) from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri.
Paul and Jeanne (Baylor Class of 1983) met and married during their time at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Their son Trey and his wife Rebecca are both Baylor grads living in Waco.
What Others Say About Dr. Paul Etter:
“I'm excited to welcome Dr. Etter and his wife Jeanne to our ministry family. He is highly gifted and qualified and has a heart to serve and lead God's people. Most importantly, our search committee felt a sense of unity and peace in calling him to be our next associate minister of choral music. I anticipate great work to be accomplished under his leadership at Columbus Avenue.”
– Elizabeth Bristow, Search Committee Member, Columbus Avenue Baptist Church
“He studied under two of the best choral conductors in the world...not just in the nation...in the world.”
“If he comes to Columbus, I would want to be in his music ministry.”
– Dr. David Guess, Interim Minister of Choral Music, Columbus Avenue Baptist Church
“In my estimation, you could not call a more qualified and dedicated Minister of Choral Music and Boomer Ministry than Dr. Paul Etter. He embodies what it means to be a servant of Jesus Christ.”
"Paul’s music ability is all about excellence. He knows how to speak to the ‘musically educated’ as well as pulling in the people that just enjoy singing and praising God with their voices."
– Dr. Tracy Jessup, VP for Christian Life and Service; Sr. Minister to the University, Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs, NC
“Paul has a gift of getting along and working with everyone!”
"Another great thing that’s in his corner is his wife!! She's a great compliment to him!! You will find that she will make a great addition to the church family."
– Wesley Smith, Associational Missionary in Shelby, NC
“One of Paul’s greatest strengths is he is a Great leader in worship and loves the Lord.”
"The choir loved him and he made choir enjoyable."
– Tony Tench, Executive Connections Pastor, First Baptist Church, Shelby, NC
“Paul shows so much maturity and patience, and he works so well with all ages of people. He is a great problem solver and listener. Paul knows when to speak up and when to stay quiet.”
“So impressed with Paul’s family life and how he and his wife Jeanne have dealt with family situations. They have reared a wonderful son, and they work so well together in their family and in ministry.”
– Dr. Rit Varriale, Pastor, Elizabeth Baptist Church, Shelby, NC
Thoughts from Dr. Paul Etter:
“Jeanne and I are excited that the Lord has opened this door at Columbus Avenue. Though academia has been rewarding, through the years I have missed being able to lead in a music ministry and, recently, have felt the Lord leading me back into that area. The needs of Columbus Avenue match well with my strengths and I pray that my talents will be able to be used for His glory in this new chapter of our lives.”