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This article was put on The Christian BBS by permission from Christian
Research Institute-Canada, and was taken from:
"Christian Research Journal"
Volume 8 Number 1 Spring 1985 You may obtain
Christian Research Institute
P.O. Box 500, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693-0500
or in Canada write to:
Christian Research Institute-Canada
P.O. Box 3216, Station B
Calgary, Alberta T2P 3C5
Note: If you want to reproduce this article you must get in contact
with this organization and get permission as I have done. I do not hold
to the copywriting of Christian literature but it is the law and the
Christian attitude should be one of complying to the laws of the land as
much as is within our power to do so without comprising the Word of God.
If you do write to them be sure to mention where you got their info
from as I am sure that they would like to know that they are reaching
people through this board. Permission to reprint was obtained through
the Calgary branch.
By Joseph P. Gudel
Taken from the magazine: FORWARD - Spring 1985
Born in 1926 to an Iowan family of Dutch descent, Robert Schuller
was reared in the Reformed Church in America. He decided to become a
minister at the age of five, and after graduating from high school he
received the necessary training at Hope College and Western Theological
The newly ordained Rev. Schuller entered the pastorate in 1951 at
Hope Chuch in Chicago, which over the next four years grew from 38
to 400 members.
In 1955 his denomination sent him to Orange County, California
to establish a new church there. After trying unsuccessfully to
rent numerous facilities, the 28-year-old Schuller finally rented the
Orange County Drive-In Theater for Sunday mornings. A
congregation in cars slowly grew, until by the second year they could
afford to build a small chapel. Rev. Schuller (he did not receive
his honorary doctorate until many years later) also continued to
preach at the drive-in theater, because many people preferred to
worship in their cars.
During these first two years, Rev. Schuller went from door to
door inviting people to come to his church, and asking them what type of
church they would like to attend.
According to his friend Michael Nason;
To his surprise he found that most people didn't even know the
difference between the Old and New Testaments and couldn't care
less...That's when he realized that fiving Bible studies on Sunday
morning during a worship service would turn off most of the unchurched
people entirely....Then he asked the people what sort of a church
they would want to attend. They wanted light, beauty, tranquility,
beautiful music, friendly people, programs that suited their needs,
sermons that weren't boring - better yet, sermons that weren't
even sermons! They wanted a place where they could feel
comfortable....He decided at that point that he would never again use
his pulpit as a teaching platform.
It was at this time that he began to see his church as a mission,
a place where non-Christians would feel comfortable enough to come in
and then later accept Jesus. How would he do this? By preaching
only positive things! Dr. Schuller credits close friend and fellow
Reformed Church in America minister Dr. Norman Vincent Peale "with fine
tuning his own positive faith and laying the foundation for his
own Possibility Thinking that was to come."
In September of 1959 groundbreaking ceremonies were held at
the location of the present church properdty in Garden Grove,
California. The next fall the congregation, with a membership of 700
people, moved into its new buiding. Rev. Schuller's two churches were
now combined into one.
In July of 1966 construction began on a 14-story "tower of hope,"
which was completed the following year. A 90-foot high cross that
would light up at night was placed at the top of the 162-foot tower.
In 1970 Dr. Schuller began what has become the most widely
watched televised church service in the nation, Hour of Power.
In 1975 construction began on a new sanctuary, and on September 14,
1980 the world-famous Crystal Cathedral was officially opened for
All in all, Dr. Schuller's many accomplishments are remarkable.
From preaching to 50 cars from the roof of a drive-in snack bar, he has
built up a congregation of over ten thousand members in a church that
cost over 20 million dollars. Hour of Power is seen in over 175
cities with an audience of two to four million people. He receives
between thirty and forty thousand letters a week and has a mailing list
of over one million people. He has authored 19 books, several of
them national best sellers.
Since 1970 more than twenty thousanc church leaders have
attended Dr. Schuller's "Institute for Successful Church
Leadership." Indeed, few people in the church have had an impact
comparable to that of Dr. Schuller.
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