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Thread: Poor Robert Schuller

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    Poor Robert Schuller

    Crystal Cathedral makes deep cuts as revenues drop
    By GILLIAN FLACCUS, The Associated Press
    2010-01-30 13:15:10.0


    GARDEN GROVE, Calif. -
    Blaming a struggling U.S. economy, the megachurch founded by Robert H. Schuller Sr. is pulling its signature TV program "Hour of Power" and taking other measures to offset a nearly $8 million drop in revenue.

    The Crystal Cathedral's "Hour of Power," which has aired for 40 years, will continue to appear on cable networks such as Lifetime and TBN, and on broadcast TV in markets including California, Colorado, Florida and Ohio, said John Charles, director of development and public relations.

    "If we can just hang in there and be smart about surviving the downturn in the economy, this storm will pass and we will be OK and we can begin to grow again as a ministry," Sheila Schuller Coleman, Schuller's daughter and the church's recently appointed leader, said in a prepared statement.

    The church was founded in the 1950s at a drive-in theater and attracted congregants with its sermons on the power of positive thinking. Now boasting 10,000 members, its worship hall features a soaring glass spire that opened in 1970 and remains an architectural wonder and tourist destination.

    The church saw revenue drop 27 percent from roughly $30 million in 2008 to $22 million in 2009, church spokesman Mike Nason told The Associated Press. The church had projected an 18 percent revenue drop.

    Church leaders blamed the decline on the struggling U.S. economy. They intend to save $4.9 million and stave off further financial collapse by selling 170 acres in southern Orange County, including a retreat and wedding center, laying off 50 employees and cutting "Hour of Power" from eight of the 45 domestic broadcast TV stations that air it.

    Church officials declined to name the cities where the program would be cut because station managers have not yet been notified.

    The church will also cancel this year's "Glory of Easter" pageant, which attracts thousands of visitors and is a regional holiday staple along with the church's "Glory of Christmas" show.

    The disclosure mirrors the troubles in recent months at other megachurches that have suffered from the downturn and reduced charitable giving.

    Rick Warren, best-selling author and founder of Saddleback Church, made an appeal on New Year's Eve for urgent donations after finding his organization was nearly $1 million in the red. Parishioners raised $2.4 million for Saddleback and its ministries within days.

    The Crystal Cathedral doesn't expect a similar outpouring from its members or viewers of "Hour of Power."

    "It would be nice, but we understand the economy and people are hurting and our audience are not rich people," Charles said. "There's a lot of people on fixed incomes and they're giving what they can."

    That aging membership base, along with the bad economy, could be a big part of the Crystal Cathedral's problem, said Richard Flory, a senior research associate for the Center for Religion & Civic Culture at the University of Southern California.

    The era of blockbuster televangelists is fading and viewership is declining even as the age of the average viewer creeps upward, he said.

    "I can't imagine anybody younger than 40 watching some sort of televangelist," he said. "Younger people are worshipping in smaller venues. I think the megachurch is always going to appeal to groups of people, but the television piece of it, I just don't see that as a growth market anymore."

    The church and its internationally known telecast have been bleeding dollars and members for years - a trend that accelerated when Schuller Sr. stepped down and passed his senior pastor role to his son, Robert A. Schuller Jr.

    Schuller Jr. became engaged in a bitter family feud, disappeared from "Hour of Power" broadcasts and abruptly left the church in 2008, less than three years after he took over for his father.

    Schuller Jr. announced his own weekly show on AmericanLife TV Network last summer. Coleman, his sister, was appointed as the ministry's top administrator.

    "Hour of Power" changed formats, with Coleman and her father appearing on the show with a stable of up to six guest pastors. Last year, Schuller Sr. pleaded for donations in an open letter posted on the church's Web site, saying the final months of 2008 were devastating.

    Nason rejected the idea that the losses were the result of turbulence among leadership. A random survey last fall of nearly 700 members showed the departure of Schuller Jr. was not a factor in reduced giving, he said.

    "What was significant was the economic downturn, and they were giving 30 to 40 percent less dollars to the ministry in 2009 than they did in 2008," he said.

    Flory, the professor, said the economy undoubtedly plays a large role in the church's troubles - but the leadership changes at the top don't help keep viewers tuned in.

    "The turbulence at the top blows up and nobody's ever heard of the daughter," he said. "I think since the beginning it's been pretty much an entertainment, feel-good place and it probably doesn't feel very good right now."

    Schuller Sr., now 83, first formulated his outreach to the unchurched in the mid-1950s when he opened his ministry at the drive-in, catering to Southern California's emerging car culture.

    The "Hour of Power" telecast, filmed in the cathedral's main sanctuary, at one point attracted 1.3 million viewers in 156 countries. Charles said he didn't know what viewership is now but suspected it's lower.

    Nason said the property to be sold is a church campus in southern Orange County known as Rancho Capistrano.

    About 150 acres of the property - including 80 acres of open space - are already in escrow, he said.

    The remaining 20 acres, which contain a spiritual retreat center with hotel rooms, a church building, acres of gardens and a Spanish mission-style hacienda popular for weddings, will also go on sale.

    The Family Life Center on Crystal Cathedral's main property in Garden Grove, has been on the market for a year with no buyers, Charles said.

    Employees who will be laid off received pink slips Friday and were given 60 days notice, he said.
    Isaiah 45:7, (KJV), I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

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    Re: Poor Robert Schuller

    Did Robert Schuller's possibility thinking stop working?
    Rom 8:18-21, (NASB), For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

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    Re: Poor Robert Schuller

    THE HOUR OF SOUR!

    (so much for The Hour of Power...)
    Grace Ambassador
    A pitiful servant of God; a pitbull guardian of the message of Grace

    My pledge to other members:
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - Prov. 25:11

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    Re: Poor Robert Schuller

    No mention of the two gun suicides in the church building (2004 and 2009).

    In this case the report is wrong about the departure of Robert Jr. not being a major cause of the drop in revenue. I don't believe for a moment that Schuller Jr. is genuine but the split was real and divisive to the membership.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Poor Robert Schuller

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby View Post
    No mention of the two gun suicides in the church building (2004 and 2009).

    In this case the report is wrong about the departure of Robert Jr. not being a major cause of the drop in revenue. I don't believe for a moment that Schuller Jr. is genuine but the split was real and divisive to the membership.
    First of all let me say, I could not care a hoot about Schuller and his son's false ministry. There have been many father's who when approaching a ripe old age pass their good fortunes $$$ to there sons and hope they can maintain the $$$ and deception. Jimmy and Donnie Swaggert, Billy and Franklin Graham, Etc. Etc.

    We must remember that these false ministries are very profitable for their backers and owners. As long as they continue to deceive (sucker) their audiences into giving them money for support, the deception will continue.

    This is the Lord's will to further deceive the world of reprobates. And these false ministers are tools of the devil.

    Nicholas
    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand..........John 10:27,28

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