David R. Schmitt

Dr. David Schmitt has long explored the intersections of faith and culture, particularly literary culture. At Concordia College, Ann Arbor, he pursued a dual major in English and Biblical Languages (B.A., 1984). After completing his M.Div. at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (1988), he pursued a master’s degree in English at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (1990). In his first call, he served as pastor of St. John the Divine Lutheran Church on the south side of Chicago, and also occasionally taught literature as an adjunct instructor at a local community college. After being called to teach at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, (1995), he earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in English at Washington University, St. Louis (M.A., 2002; Ph.D., 2005).

Dr. Schmitt has been writing and teaching courses in the Department of Practical Theology since 1995. Within the discipline of homiletics, he has analyzed the recent history of Lutheran preaching (with particular attention to the influence of Richard Caemmerer), has explored the Lutheran theology of preaching (with his paradigm of the tapestry of preaching), and has integrated insights from the New Homiletic into preaching (with particular attention to the use of narrative and imagery). Within the discipline of literary studies, he has taught courses in the devotional life (creating a course on spiritual autobiography and offering a genre study of devotional literature) and developed courses in the intersection of literary culture and theology (focusing, for example, upon a major literary figure such as John Milton). Receiving a grant for “Integrating Technology and Theological Learning” from the Wabash Center (2000), Dr. Schmitt has since developed and taught courses in different programs of non-residential education.

Dr. Schmitt currently holds the Gregg H. Benidt Memorial Endowed Chair in Homiletics and Literature. The responsibilities of this position involve teaching courses in homiletics and literature and serving as a resource to the church-at-large, through writing, speaking, and conducting workshops and symposia.

In terms of current projects, Dr. Schmitt is interested in the intersection of faith and the visual arts and is working on two book projects: Beholding the Sacred, a homiletics text that explores the use of images in preaching, and Restoration Spiritualities, a literary study that explores faith and literary culture in the later seventeenth-century.


  • The Gregg H. Benidt Memorial Endowed Chair in Homiletics and Literature
  • Professor of Practical Theology


  • B.A., Concordia College, Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • M.Div, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
  • M.A., University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Ill.
  • M.A., Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Ph.D., Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.

Contact Information:

Concordia Seminary
801 Seminary Pl.
St. Louis, MO 63105
Office phone:  314-505-7137
Email:  schmittd@csl.edu


Conference Topics

  • “Sharpening the Sword of the Spirit: Strengthening Your Preaching through Analysis and Technique”
  • “Sermon Structures”
  • “Beholding the Sacred: Using Images in Preaching”
  • “Narrative Preaching”
  • “Contemporary Trends in Preaching”
  • “Preaching the Songs of Zion: Integrating Hymnody into Preaching”

Congregational Workshops:

  • “Having Ears to Hear: A Congregational Workshop on Preaching”
  • “Living with the Living God: Conversations about Devotional Life and Practice”


  • “The Tapestry of Preaching.” Concordia Journal 37.2 (Spring 2011).
  • “Richard Caemmerer’s Goal, Malady, Means: A Retrospective Glance.” Concordia Theological Quarterly 74.1-2 (2010): 3-18.
  • “The Use of Scripture in Recent Study Bibles” at the 2010 Theological Symposium, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Co-authored with Dr. Mark Hoehner and Pastor Matt Hoehner.
  • “American Mystic Spirituality,” in The American Mind Meets the Mind of Christ. Ed. Robert Kolb. St. Louis: Concordia Seminary Press, 2010.
  • “Appraising Polity: Theological Lenses for Evaluating Structural and Governance Proposals.” Concordia Journal 35.1 (2009): 35-53. Co-authored with Erik Herrmann.
  • “Law and Gospel in Sermon and Service,” in Liturgical Preaching. Eds. Paul Grime and Dean Nadasdy. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2001. 25-49.
  • “Sermon Structures: An Overview,” Concordia Pulpit Resources 11.3 (2001): 5-7.
  • “Sermon Structures: The Question-Answered Design,” Concordia Pulpit Resources 11.4 (2001): 5-11.
  • “Sermon Structures: The Proverbial Design,” Concordia Pulpit Resources 12.2 (2002): 5-10.
  • “Sermon Structures: The Image-based Design,” Concordia Pulpit Resources 12.1 (2001): 5-9.
  • “Freedom of Form: Law/Gospel and Sermon Structure in Contemporary Lutheran Homiletics,” Concordia Journal 25.1 (1999): 42-55.
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