Meet our team

VillageChurch Staff

Erik Estep

Senior Pastor
Erik is the founding pastor of VillageChurch. He grew up in Oklahoma but moved to South Carolina as a senior in high school. He is a graduate of Spring Valley High School, Furman University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. During his time at Furman, Erik met Emily and they married in 1992. They have 3 children: Hank, Glyn and Janie.

Matthew Phillips

Associate Pastor
Matthew Phillips is a native of Texas, but do not let that fool you because he was raised in Columbia, SC. This avid Gamecock fan graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2008 with a degree in Public Relations and has a Master's of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Matthew has been on staff at Village Church since September of 2008.  He is married to his better half, Emily, and they have two beautiful boys, William and Henry. They also have have a yellow lab named Tanner.

James Ballew

Worship Minister
James has been the Worship minister at VillageChurch since May 2008. He graduated with a BA in Music from the School of Music at the University Of South Carolina. He is married to Lauren Ballew whom he met while leading worship at Camp Longridge in Ridgeway, South Carolina. They have a little girl, Raylee James Ballew, born October 2018. James is also an avid Crossfitter at Crossfit Valor and loves to compete in local competitions when he can. His favorite verse is Philippians 4:13.

Hamilton Mathis

Student Pastor
Hamilton Mathis joined the Village Church staff as Student Pastor in November 2020. Hamilton graduated from Anderson University with a Bachelors of Arts in Christian Ministry and completed his Master's of Arts in Christian Education degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2021. Hamilton and his wife, Allee, have been married since 2017.

Will Bonniville

Middle School Pastor & Park Street Worship Leader
Will was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina where he attended Blythewood High School and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2017 with a degree in Political Science. Will is now pursuing his Master’s of Divinity through Southeastern Theological Seminary. Will has been an intern at Village Church since 2013 and joined full time in 2018. Will is married to his wife Sally. When he has free time he enjoys fishing, playing guitar, and spending time with friends.

Amy Paolucci

Children's Ministry Director
Amy was raised in Minnesota, graduating from St. Olaf college in 1997 with a BA in economics. She has a traveled extensively to include a one year exchange program in France, an internship at the American Embassy in Tunisia, and missionary trips to India and Thailand. Amy worked for a financial investment firm before moving to South Carolina. She is passionate about her relationship with Christ, her family, and the ministry at Village Church. Amy is married to her loving husband Ryan and they have three wonderful children, Paige, Grant and Reed who are all involved in the children’s ministry.

Bill Howard

Park Street Campus Pastor
Bill and his high school sweetheart, Jennifer have been happily married for 35 years. Bill pastored for 25 years, 21 of them at Willow Ridge Church in Lexington, SC, before answering the call to minister to orphans and villages in Haiti. He and Jennifer have three grown sons, all who are involved with Disciples’ Village ministry, and three perfect grandchildren.

Michelle James

Park Street Office Admin
A native South Carolinian, Michelle has been an active member of Village Church since 2006. She has served on the worship team through the years, facilitated many small groups, volunteered with the children and youth programs, and led several women’s bible studies. Since Village Church opened the doors of its second campus at Park Street in February 2020, Michelle has been actively involved in volunteering and serving at this campus. Retiring from the legal world in 2021, Michelle brings her knowledge of the business and corporate world to her role as administrator. When she’s not at church, she enjoys spending time outside with her husband and boys, reading a great novel, and on weekend trips.

Kerri Fischer

Business Administrator
Kerri was born and raised in California and graduated from Hartnell College with a business degree. She moved to Columbia in 2001 where she has worked at several churches in various positions. Kerri married to Kelley with two kids; Tyler and Alyssa. Her hobbies include reading, baking, and going to the beach.

Dr. Wendell Estep

Staff Consultant
Many of you are familiar with Dr. Estep (Pastor Erik’s father) after seeing him preach on television as the pastor of First Baptist Columbia for 32 years. He grew up in Texas, served as a pastor for 50 years, and is the father of Stephanie, Erik, and the grandfather of 5. He and his wife, Lynda, have been a team for over 5 decades.

Mark Oxendale

Building Superintendent
Mark was raised in Pennsylvania, where he got his degree in Industrial Technology Management. He married his wife Cathy 30 years ago and raised 3 boys before retiring from his custom cabinet shop. Then moved to South Carolina in 2019. Mark came to know Jesus in 1992 and now desires to serve Him through maintaining the Village church Campuses in Blythewood and downtown Columbia.

Marte Thomas

Student Ministry Assistant

Hughes Butler

Student Ministry Intern
Hughes graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2019. He has been a part of Village Church since 2018. He is currently attending Columbia International University, where he is pursuing a certificate in Bible. He loves Jesus, the Gamecocks, all things sports and fishing on Lake Murray. He is the nephew of Erik Estep and the grandson of Wendell Estep.

Anna Gillespie

Student Ministry Intern
Anna was born and raised in Blythewood, SC, where she graduated from Blythewood High School in 2022. Anna is attending the University of South Carolina as she pursues her degree in Early Childhood Education. Anna has been a part of Village Church since 2018 and is now excited about this internship opportunity in the Student Ministry.

Jennifer Hanna

Children's Ministry Assistant
Jennifer was born in Charlotte, NC but has lived in Northeast Columbia for most of her life. She graduated from USC and earned a B.A. in Early Childhood Education. Jennifer has been an active member of Village Church since 2008 and has served in the student and children’s ministries. Jennifer came on staff as Children’s Ministry Assistant in 2016 and feels truly blessed to work alongside Amy Paolucci and all the amazing staff at Village Church. Jennifer has been married to her husband Brantley for 27  years, and they are the proud parents of four daughters: Maddie, Mollie, McKenzie, and Macie. When not at church, Jennifer enjoys spending time with family and friends, doing crafty things, and being anywhere near the ocean.