Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Robert Schuller's Church (Crystal Cathedral) Bankrupt

October 18, 2010
Crystal Cathedral Ministries, the Southern California megachurch founded by television evangelist Robert Schuller, filed for bankruptcy court protection from its creditors, which are owed as much as $100 million.

The church, known for its television show “The Hour of Power,” listed assets and debts of $50 million to $100 million each in Chapter 11 documents filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana, California. The church, based in Garden Grove, claims a congregation of 10,000 members.

“Budgets could not be cut fast enough to keep up with the unprecedented rapid decline in revenue due to the recession,” Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman said in a statement.

U.S. churches are struggling financially because high unemployment has cut weekly offerings, said Wayne Bradshaw, president and chief operating officer of Broadway Federal Bank. The Los Angeles-based lender does about 25 percent of its lending business with churches.

Broadway, which has about $510 million in assets, has made about $100 million in loans to churches, Bradshaw said. The church-related loans have a higher rate of late payments than Broadway’s other loans, Bradshaw said.

“We’re seeing more late payments,” Bradshaw said in a phone interview. “There certainly has been increasing delinquencies.”

Crystal Cathedral spokesman John Charles said in an interview the church’s revenue has fallen about 40 percent this year. From 2008 to 2009 revenue fell from about $30 million to about $22 million, he said.

To counter the declines, the church sold a 170-acre retreat, cut staff and canceled its “Glory of Easter” program. One of the vendors that provided the animals for that service is among the church’s creditors, along with some television stations and a supplier of high-definition television equipment, Charles said.

The church decided to file bankruptcy after some of its creditors sued for payment, according to the statement. The board of directors on Aug. 27 authorized a bankruptcy filing by Chief Financial Officer Fred W. Southard, according to court papers.

Robert Schuller cited the title of his 1984 book --“Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People DO!” -- as he forecast in the statement that the church will overcome its financial difficulties. Church operations, including the television show, will continue while Crystal Cathedral tries to reorganize and reduce its debts, the church said.

Schuller retired from daily oversight of the church earlier this year. He was succeeded by his daughter, Schuller Coleman.

The Crystal Cathedral was founded in the 1950s at a drive-in theater and attracted congregants with its sermons on the power of positive thinking. It is a glass-enclosed building designed to double as a television studio to broadcast the Sunday worship services. The 145-foot wide chancel area can hold 1,000 singers, and the church organ contains 16,000 pipes.

The entranceway contains two 90-foot-tall doors and the alter is dominated by a 17-foot-tall wooden cross decorated with gold leaf.

Its worship hall featuring a soaring glass spire that opened in 1970 and remains an architectural wonder and tourist destination.


Anonymous said...

So what is the big deal?

Akin said...

A continuing narrative of a spiritually bankrupt CHURCH.......a church that has lost its spiritual mooring.

How in the world did we get to a point where a Church of Christ declares bankruptcy?

BANKRUPTCY!!! We are talking about a Church here...not a Fortune 500 Company.

What further evidence of the moral decadence in the Body of Christ do we need?

That my friend is the BIG DEAL!!!

1. The Bible
2. The Holy Bible
3. The King James Version of the Holy Bible

and perhaps

4. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream by David Platt.

Anonymous said...

r, do not forget the devil is the god of this world , he will marshall whatever it is within his domain to make sure the Church the is under attack constantly. Crystal cathedral has been in television ministry for over 50 years they are known to be pple of integrity.I believe the bk written by Robert Schuller will speak at this time.Don't get me wrong i am not for all these money making churches, i am too committed for the cause of Christ to let evil grieve me . I have seen minters mortgage their home to make sure the church is saved from foreclosure.All, i am saying is we are entering into another face of ministering and so is the attack.A pointer to the end of the age.Gen 26, there was a famine in the land and God told Isaac what to do, He remembered d covenant He had with his father.I trust God to remember the souls, lives touched, changed by this ministry and help them in this dare time of need.

Akin said...

Lady T, thank you. Your sentiments are appreciated.

The issue I'm addressing though is not specifically Robert Schuller or Crystal Cathedral. It is not their integrity that worries me. Since I don't know him personally I'm not in a position to either vouch for or question his integrity. What concerns me more is the larger picture of Christendom or what Christendom has become. Crystal Cathedral just happens to reflect what is wrong with us today.

I'm of the opinion that we Christians have missed it. I think we have redefined Christianity. We have taken the Jesus of the Bible and twisted Him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable with. We have molded Jesus into our image. A materialistic Jesus who doesn't infringe on our comfortable lives.

Here is what the Jesus of Luke 9, 14 and Mark 10 tells us about the Cost of Following Him:

1. Take nothing for your journey
2. Lose your life in order to save it
3. Become homeless
4. Let someone else bury your dead
5. Don't say goodbye to your family
6. Hate your father, mother, wife, children, siblings, and your own self
7. Bear your cross (a symbol of shame and disgrace)
8. Go sell everything you have and give to the poor

In which of these categories does a Cathedral made of Crystal fit? Where do we put a church organ with 16000 pipes or an entranceway with 90-foot-tall doors and a 17-foot-tall wooden cross decorated with gold leaf? A church that has become "an ARCHITECTURAL WONDER AND TOURIST ATTRACTION".

I agree with you that the Church is under attack. But the attack is coming from us who call ourselves Christians and not from the devil.

Anonymous said...

All these decorations in the honour of Who? Check out what was brought in the time of David to build the temple. When has building a place of worship of this beauty becomes a crime?You are making the bible sound like we need to run away away from Christ.He that hate is brother is a murderer ko ni bibeli wi ni?I agree we all need to go back to the Word and read with the eye of Christ.Any shift to the right or left will be going off track. I am not for materialism neither can i ever advocate poverty. I have lived poor, i will not wish the experience on anyone. Paul understood both end and i love his conclusion "In my own understanding "let Christ only be glorified.For a church to be architectural wonder is a plus in time not too long ago the church was described as poor even the rats bore witness. We need to wake up bring accountability to the church, only spend what we have, cut unrealistic spending projection, get professional help with our finances and church budgeting very necessary. This will help a lot. I love you loads. love from Pastor Tee.

Akin said...

I guess it's a matter of perspective. Regards to Pastor T.