Samuel Greer, the 2022 Grand Rapids Theological Seminary Alumnus of the Year, lives the life of a pastor, even when he is not at the pulpit.

For the past 32 years, Greer has served as lead pastor for Queen Esther Missionary Baptist Church. He also recently retired as head of school for Western Michigan Christian High School (WMC), where he ministered to teachers, parents and students every day—celebrating his students when they win sports games or mourning with them at the funerals of their parents.

Greer grew up in a small town in Arkansas. He felt the call to church ministry at 14 years old and began his pastoral ministry at the age of 19.

“Can you imagine a 19-year-old pastor?” Greer said. “I was in my second year of college but privileged to lead a congregation of over 50.”

His congregation loved him and inspired him to continue his calling as a minister. At that point, he was earning a degree in education. The LORD brought him to Michigan to pastor a small church after the chairman of Queen Esther heard him preach in Chicago.

“My initial thought about moving to Michigan was ‘Absolutely not!’” Greer said. “But the chairman of the church called me three days straight.”

Greer is incredibly happy and blessed that he faithfully answered God’s call—even if it took three tries. Moving to Michigan also brought him to Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, which became a vital part of his spiritual formation. He recalled with fondness all of the professors he studied under.

In his words, Greer believed that GRTS provided three vital things for his ministry: it broadened and deepened his understanding and worldview, equipped him to serve in a postmodern world and gave him the tools to begin teaching what he learned. After graduating, Greer started a small Bible institute for pastors in the Muskegon, Mich., area.

“Seminary allowed me to look at Scripture through a sophisticated lens and understand the significance of it,” Greer said. “It also taught me how to relate it to the families that I was serving.”

After the sermon was done on Sunday, Greer would go to WMC on Monday and continue his ministry. Greer started at the school in 2001 as a chaplain, and in May 2022, he retired from his role at the school. Greer has loved serving his students and staff at the school and looks forward to what this generation will do for the church.

Greer also serves as the chair of the Social Justice Initiative for Muskegon County and state president of the Michigan Baptist Convention. Now that he is retired from WMCA, Greer says he is waiting to see what the LORD has in store for him next.

“I’m trying to be mindful of God’s timing, which is not always my timing,” Greer said, “but may His timing and His will be fulfilled in my life.”