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    Crystal Cathedral Hit with $2 Million in Lawsuits

    Crystal Cathedral Hit with $2 Million in Lawsuits

    At least three businesses have filed lawsuites against the Crystal Cathedral in recent months, claiming the church owes them more than $2 million dollars.

    According to a report in the Orange County Register, lawsuites were filed in February and March by an equipment finance company and broadcast outlets.

    An Indiana based equipment company says the CC defaulted on payments as early as April of 2009 and by December of last year, CC owed them close to $2 million.  According to a company spokesperson, the lawsuit was filed close to a year after the church had stopped paying.

    Two television stations say the church owes them about $100,000 each.  Both stations say they've asked and demanded payment, but have received nothing.

    Sheila Schuller Coleman says that the church needs 'an influx of new gifts to be able to honor" their current accounts payables with vendors.

    According to news reports, the CC has a $55 million budget deficit, but hope to bridge that gap with the sale of properties in the Southern California area.

    You can read more here.

    QUESTION:  Has your church (or a church you worked with) ever not been able to pay their bills?  What did you do?  And what would you do right now if you were in Sheila Schuller Coleman's shoes?



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    1. Lawrenceburg TN Church on Mon, April 05, 2010

      In the church’s I’ve been in they solve the budget crisis by cutting the pastor’s salary! At least they can’t do that in a mega church - the bills are too big!

    2. Peter Hamm on Mon, April 05, 2010

      Boy, cutting the pastor’s salary as the way to solve a budget crunch? Uh… no offense, but that pastor might just up and leave, and where are you then… Not too many of us pastors out here in normal churches are overpaid to the point where you can do that.

      But these problems go way beyond just a budget crunch. You don’t get 55 million in the hole without a long time of fiscal mismanagement.

    3. CS on Mon, April 05, 2010

      Schuller was not available for comment, but his spokesman said that answering these lawsuits would compromise the ego and bring low self-esteem.


    4. BB on Mon, April 05, 2010

      My husband was a pastor for many years.  We never made a lot of money.  People do have to live.

    5. Todd on Mon, April 05, 2010

      The church I’m on staff at has been struggling for about 5 years now, and is currently about $25,000 behind in bills. My salary got eliminated about 3 years ago, and so now I work a regular job, and spend evenings and weekends keeping up on stuff at the church.
      There’s still the Senior Pastor & two others on staff, but they get paid on an absolute need basis only (i.e. when they have a bill that is due) and get most of their food from the food bank.
      We’ve cut everything that can be cut, except outreach efforts. We’ve delayed all maintenance to crisis basis only.
      It completely sucks. But we aren’t letting it stop us from doing what we know we need to be doing.

    6. Barrett on Mon, April 05, 2010

      I believe that Paul, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, has given us the answer for this in 2 Corinthians 8-9.  We, the CHURCH, are supposed to give financially to help other churches in need.  Just like the Macedonians gave and the Corinthian church gave to support the Jewish Christians in Palestine, perhaps other churches should give to help the Crystal Cathedral. 

      What is interesting here is this:  Paul is urging the Corinthians (and other churches) to give to the Jewish Christians—quite possibly those with whom they’d have major disagreement (socially, theologically, methodologically, etc.) in order that the CHURCH might be built up. 

      Maybe some churches that are doing well financially need to lend a helping hand, not only to the Crystal Cathedral but to the church down the street as well.

      “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”—2 Corinthians 8:13-15

    7. CS on Mon, April 05, 2010


      “We, the CHURCH, are supposed to give financially to help other churches in need.”

      You’re absolutely right here.  The body of Christ needs to support the local church.  But, there are two things wrong with this idea as applied here. 

      First, if we evaluate the Crystal Cathedral by the teachings of Schuller, it does not qualify as a church because they preach a different Gospel.  And second, there’s a big difference between churches in legitimate need and those that have accrued millions of dollars in debt by failing to be good stewards with which they were given.


    8. RevKev on Mon, April 05, 2010

      To answer the question:
      A pastor friend called me way back and asked, “Have you ever had a month when you didn’t have enough money to pay the bills?” I told him I had never had a month when I did. I don’t know how many people told me, “Where God guides, He provides.” Pretty empty words when you are the one hearing them.

      I guess I’ve done it all in the last 25 years… not getting paid for months, giving back 25% of my pay for 6 months, laying off staff, cutting everything not essential, putting off maintenance.  We shared our building with another church and rented space to a Christian School.

      One thing we did discover was that we could still do effective outreach by partnering with other churches in our community.  “What can we do better together, than we can do on our own?” Being forced to find these creative ways of impacting our community has them a picture of the church in unity, not competition.

      Last 4 years we have been current and are remodeling our building for cash (longer story for that).

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