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    A tearful Robert H. Schuller asks for help

    A tearful Robert H. Schuller asks for help

    It was an emotional Sunday at the Crystal Cathedral.  84 year old founder Robert H. Schuller, in a tearful address, asked his congregation for help in turning around the church's massive debt that led to last week's declaration for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

    Here is some of what Schuller said:

    "I need more help from you... If you are a tither, become a double-tither. If you are not a tither, become a tither. This ministry has earned your trust. This ministry has earned your help."

    "I learned from my father that tough times never last... Tough people do."

    Earlier last week, creditors declined to go along with the CC's repayment plan.  Creditors had been working for months to work out a plan, but when negotiations broke down, CC ministries had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.

    According to a church representative:  "A few [of the vendors] didn't want to play ball...They tried to get ahead of the others. It became difficult for us to hold the coalition of vendors together."

    Sources:  OC Register / LA Times

    QUESTION:  What should a church do when it can't pay it's bills?  Have you ever been involved with a church that had NO money?  How did you deal with it?


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    1. Peter Hamm on Mon, October 25, 2010

      You don’t get to that place.

      Short term debt (less than 5 years) might be okay for some, but unsustainable debt and deficit spending is just not a good idea… for a company, a family, a church, or a government.

      I think the trouble started a long time ago and got ignored. It is exacerbated by the fact that CC seems designed to reach a people group that exists less and less in their community. Do NOT ignore your financial situation… ever…

      I’ve been involved with a church that had severe money troubles, but they managed to avoid this kind of insolvent debt. Our church has been, as many have, challenged financially over the past couple years, but we have not increased debt, and have paid off a short-term debt for a small expansion we did ahead of schedule. We are more careful than we’ve ever been (not that we’ve ever been “prodigal” with our money), as far as I can see, with spending… and despite the downturn in economy we have not had to cut staff or curtail our effectiveness in the community.

      If a church like this goes away in a place, it’s not a total loss if others rise up to take its place, other churches that are geared toward whatever demographic exists in that community.

    2. Chris Moncus on Mon, October 25, 2010

      After all the Bible says about debt - even calling it “folly” and “slavery” - it’s funny how many churches use this as their method of achieving God’s will when He clearly thinks it’s not a good way to operate.

    3. bishopdave on Mon, October 25, 2010

      If CC’s demographic has shifted, left, died, or whatever, isn’t it time to re-vamp itself? Isn’t that what the Schuller son started to do until family members shoved him out?

      A church that can’t pay it’s bills needs to realize that money is the symptom not the cause. If the field around the church has changed and the church has not adjusted tactics, money dries up. What’s happening at CC has been happening all over US Christendom for a couple of decades—strong, flagship churches going under. You either do a makeover of your ministry or consider you may have a greater impact by selling your property and giving to proceeds to mission endeavors.

    4. David on Mon, October 25, 2010

      Seen it. Large church. Expensive new building. Popular Pastor retires. Lots of missteps.

      What comes to mind is, “Expecting this to stay the same”.

      Don’t start what you can’t finish. Don’t build for the past or present.

    5. Mark Collier on Mon, October 25, 2010

      Good thoughts all. But not directly answering the question: “What should a church do when it can’t pay it’s bills?”

      What are your thoughts?

    6. Mark Collier on Mon, October 25, 2010

      In other words, if a church IS where it shouldn’t be and can’t pay the bills, what does it do?”

    7. Jan on Mon, October 25, 2010

      We are in a church with no money. But we have no debt.

    8. Ronnie on Tue, October 26, 2010

      Hard Austerity Drive perhaps! Decentralise! Paycut! Double tithers -is a good one to start with - anyway, a church is people! Let’s be real - When people stop, the church stops!

    9. Christopher Fontenot on Tue, October 26, 2010

      ...and the fox said to the farmer, “There are no more chickens in this coup!  Go to town and buy more chickens for the coup, and I promise this time, I will take care of them.”

    10. Ronnie on Tue, October 26, 2010

      Christopher, let Jesus be the judge!

    11. Christopher Fontenot on Tue, October 26, 2010


      Would you honestly give the same people your tithe or offerings with the track record they have?  Cmon….discernment takes judgment.

    12. Ronnie on Tue, October 26, 2010

      Maybe your discernment in this particular case is based on judgment and not on grace. I view my tithes and offerings as a personal thing between me and God. Unless I discern to leave the church, I will still give these to my church. We can agree to disagree, Chris, but using the word ‘fox’ I sensed is pushing it too far. Peace!

    13. Peter Hamm on Wed, October 27, 2010

      Christopher writes [Would you honestly give the same people your tithe or offerings with the track record they have?]

      You have a point, although it might not be the one you think you have.

      Regardless of whether or not you use discernment or even if it’s warranted, if people feel that this church’s track record is bad (and it seems to be), are they not less likely to give? An honest human reaction… And one that they should brace themselves for.

      In my opinion, any church that begs its tithers to double-tithe so that they can get out of debt is doomed to have them tithe… somewhere else…

    14. Christopher Fontenot on Wed, October 27, 2010


      Now look outside to see if it is snowing!!

    15. Peter Hamm on Wed, October 27, 2010


      LOL! Blessings on you today!

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