Dave Schmelzer

Dave grew up an atheist in San Diego. As a student at Stanford University, he had an encounter with God that, after two years of exploring religions, he came to understand as being an encounter with Jesus. Afterwards he helped found a ministry to kids in a nearby high-crime neighborhood before spending a decade as a working playwright in San Francisco, where he met Grace in a local church. After being married for two years, Dave and Grace were invited by friends in Cambridge, Massachusetts to consider moving there to help start a new church. (By this time, Dave had also picked up a Masters in Theology from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena.) The church boomed, a surprising outcome in a city with a 2% churchgoing rate (compared to about 35% nationally). This led to conversations with many church leaders in the U.S. and Europe, and ultimately to the formation of a new network called Blue Ocean Faith.  He and Grace have five children and live in Santa Monica where, along with helping lead the Blue Ocean Faith network, they’re exploring this pilot group.


Grace grew up in Houston and as a child used to pray every night to grow in her faith (something which at the time seemed completely mysterious to her). In college, she discovered a vibrant Christian group on campus. After graduating, she moved to inner city San Francisco to join in with a team working with kids among the large S.E. Asian refugee community in the neighborhood. In 1995, she & her husband Dave moved to Cambridge, MA to be part of starting a church there. She particularly enjoyed helping lead classes exploring faith and developing the church's International Initiatives & overseas partnerships - including launching a long-term team to the Middle East in 2008. In 2012, Grace & Dave began to sense God inviting them to move to L.A., not sure what He would have for them there. That next year, they and their five kids made the big move cross-country, and the Blue Ocean Faith network was formed as well. These days in L.A., Dave & Grace are working with a team experimenting with new "forms" for church, leading home-based spiritual direction groups practicing meditation, centering prayer & faith.