It was announced today that Dr. Robert Schuller and his son are both leaving the Hour of Power Broadcast. The LA times had reported earlier that Dr. Schuller’s son Robert A. Schuller had been removed from the Senior Pastor role that he took over for his father in early 2006. Not much information has gotten out except for that they were in disagreement for the vision for the future of the church. Their denomination (Reformed Church in America) has stepped in to help during this transition.
The reason I bring this is up because I see this as a huge sign of the current state of the traditional church in america. I have a feeling that the clash in vision had something to do with the Crystal Cathedral being very traditional in style. They probably do the best traditional service in the country. They have a full orchestra, beautiful sanctuary, the pastors preach in robes, huge choir and do a pretty kick butt Christmas pageant every year. Where is the problem?
I feel that the problem lays within creative relevance…
The Crystal Cathedral was probably one of the first creative churches in the united states. Dr. Schuller started one of the first “Theatre Churches” by meeting in a local drive in. Their church building is also very creative – When I was out in California last march I was able to drive by it and I texted Jason immediately because I felt I had gone by Superman’s castle lair. They have always been on the cutting edge television wise with their services now being available in HD. They were also the first church to have flying angels in their famous pageants.
Over the years though their creativity did not evolve. The music stayed the same, the clothing didn’t change, the building stayed the same, even the television offers for Christmas ornaments have stayed the same. Now they are having to cut back their broadcast from an hour to half hour, and they are not even really considered a mega church anymore.
What was considered cutting edge in the late 70s is looked now upon as an ancient relic.
I am not just picking on the Crystal Cathedral either. Recent reports show the Southern Baptist Convention shrinking at alarming rate. There is a huge problem with traditional (or even blended) churches in the united states. They are dying!
God is. Church evolves.
Our God is the God of our yesterdays and today. He never changes -however- the church MUST evolve and change in order to continue connecting the world to the life changing power of Christ.