The Rev. Dr. Clayton Schmit

Denomination: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Organization: Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary at Lenoir-Rhyne University, Columbia, SC


Clayton J. Schmit

Provost (Head of School), Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University

Columbia, South Carolina


"Clay," as he prefers to be called, was born and reared 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 in 1983, Pastor Schmit served as Associate Pastor and choral director at Olivet Lutheran Church in Fargo, North Dakota.  In 1985, 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 adult children.

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 a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. During his twelve years at Fuller, Dr. Schmit co-lead the development of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts. Through his work at the Center, he developed a number of academic masters and doctoral level programs including Master of Arts in Theology and the Arts and doctoral programs in Preaching and Worship. He also established two Brehm Center publication series: Engaging Worship with Baker Academic and Art for Faith's Sake with Cascade Books.

In July 2012, Dr. Schmit accepted the call the call to serve as the first Provost of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University, following the merger of the historic seminary with the Hickory, North Carolina based university.

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: Too Deep for Words: A Theology of Liturgical Expression (Westminster/John Knox 2002) Public Reading of Scripture (Abingdon Press 2002), Sent and Gathered: A Worship Manual for the Missional Church (Baker Academic 2009), Praying the Hours in Ordinary Life (Cascade 2010, co-authored with Lauralee Farrer), as well as other edited and co-authored volumes.  He is author of numerous articles dealing with the topics of preaching, worship, and church music and has published several hymns and liturgical works.  His professional associations include The Academy of Homiletics, Societas Homiletica, The North American Academy of Liturgy, The Hymn Society, and The Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.


Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Dr. Clayton Schmit

View All Day1 Weekly Programs...

I Have Called You By My Name

Tuesday January 05, 2016
Dr. Clay Schmit says when we are baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, we are given the name of the one who was baptized before us, Jesus Christ, the anointed one. And we are anointed ourselves--from that moment on, bearing his name: Christian.

Knowing the Heart of God

Tuesday December 29, 2015
John 1 introduces us to the Word. Dr. Clay Schmit says words are a way we share what's inside of us with another, and this connection also works with our relationship with God. The tragedy is that no matter how purely God seeks to make God's self known, there are still those who don't know God.