Clayton Schmit

"Clay," as he prefers to be called, was born and raised in Northern Wisconsin (hometown: Tomahawk) and earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree at the University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire. Following college, he entered Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota and served for two years as Director of Youth Ministries and choral director at Midvale Community Lutheran Church in Madison, Wisconsin.   Upon completion of his Master of Divinity degree, Pastor Schmit served as Associate Pastor and choral director at Olivet Lutheran Church in Fargo, North Dakota. From Fargo, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area to pursue graduate studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He served as Associate Pastor of Elim Lutheran Church in Petaluma, California during and after the pursuit of a Ph.D. in Theology and the Arts: Worship and Proclamation. 

During his tenure as pastor and choral director in Petaluma, Dr. Schmit led The Elim Chorale on three international singing tours that took the group to Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Russia, and Germany. Other musical accomplishments during this period included directing a men's chorus in San Francisco known as The Sons of The Sea, composing sacred and secular music for choirs, writing hymns and music for Christian worship, and being active as a vocal soloist. As a composer, he has been commissioned to write hymns and choral works honoring the anniversaries of several congregations and was asked to compose choral works in honor of the personnel aboard two U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Abraham Lincoln.

During his time in Northern California, Clay married a California native, Carol Vallely. Carol is an attorney who specializes in Estate Planning, Litigation, and Legal Issues for Clergy and Churches. They have two children: Kyrie and Jacob.

In 1998, Dr. Schmit was invited to serve as the Luce Fellow in Preaching at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina.   He was selected in the spring of 2000 to fill the Arthur DeKruyter/Christ Church Oak Brook Chair of Preaching as an associate professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Soon after arriving in Pasadena, he was called upon to provide academic leadership for the newly founded Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Seminary. 

At the center of Dr. Schmit's theological project is a focus on the ways that Christ is made known to the Church through preaching and other worship arts. His publications include several books, including: Too Deep for Words: A Theology of Liturgical Expression (Westminster/John Knox) and Public Reading of Scripture (Abingdon Press), Sent and Gathered: A Worship Manual for a Missional Church (forthcoming from Baker Academic), and a book and DVD called Performance and Preaching: Bringing the Word to Life (co-edited with Jana Childers, Baker Academic).

He is author of numerous articles dealing with the topics of preaching, worship, and church music and has published several hymns and liturgical works.

Dr. Schmit is also editor of two Brehm Center book series: Engaging Worship (co-edited with Todd Johnson through Baker Academic) and Art for Faith's Sake (co-edited with Fred Davison through Cascade Books).

Clay's personal interests include flyfishing, skiing, woodworking, cultivating rutabagas, and an unregenerate allegiance to the Green Bay Packers.

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