Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

“Stained” Glass at the Crystal Cathedral

posted by Mark Herringshaw

The Crystal Cathedral has filed for bankruptcy protection. Trustees of the glass megachurch in Orange County decided to file for Chapter 11 after some of its creditors sued for payment. Creditors could be owed between $50 million and $100 million.
Crystal Cath.jpgThe church was started by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller in a rented drive-in movie theater in 1955. Schuller’s ministry rose to national prominence through his television broadcast, “Hour of Power.”  But faced with a $55-million budget deficit and a 27% drop in revenue over the last two years, in January the church began cutting programs and selling property around the church’s sprawling 40-acre Garden Grove campus. Chapter 11 is their latest strategy to attempt to recover the ministry.

In some ways the plight of the Crystal Cathedral exemplifies the status of what some call the “Christendom” expression of Christianity. All over the western world signs of “post-Christendom” are glaringly evident. In small town America, many church buildings are just half full at best on Sunday morning.  In urban centers hundreds of Christian churches are converting to daycare centers or restaurants… or mosques. The massive, ancient cathedrals of Europe are mostly vacant at traditional times of worship. The signs of a decaying tradition are too stark to miss.

But… even while Christendom fades, a new season of faith is rising. New forms of Christian faith are taking root in the very shadows of the declining edifice of an old order. Coffee shop churches, fellowships in homes and college dorms and yes, even on line are opening new forms of and fashions for followers of Jesus to gather, worship, seek and learn and serve in the name of their Lord.

I am sad for the decline of ministries like Crystal Cathedral. Robert Schuller was a pioneer and bold visionary who sought to bring Jesus in a new way to his generation. I am sad to see it struggle. I am sad, but not in despair. The message of Jesus may move through seasons of change, but Jesus always rises to meet the needs and necessities of each generation. Many through history have pronounced Jesus and his teachings “dead and buried.” But always, he rises again! It’s happening now once again. Look around!

“God we thank you for the ministry of Robert Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral. We pray that they will recover from this crisis and continue to find ways to minister to their world. We pray for the creditors who extended trust to this church. Help them recover as well. We pray too for all the many other churches struggling for survival in this new day. We pray as well for the many, many new communities of Jesus-followers finding new ways to express their faith in you. Give them courage and creativity, as Robert Schuller had for his era.  Nothing is sacred but you. Church structures come and go, but THE CHURCH never fades. Bless your Church today, Jesus!”

  • NRIGirl

    Amen! As you said, The Church never fades though buildings come and go.
    Care to join for some Coffee with Jesus?!
    ~ NRIGirl

  • nnmns

    I see you didn’t have any room for the creditors in your prayer. But I guess they brought it onto themselves by trusting a church to pay its debts.

  • Daniel

    Robert Schuller taught the ” Gospel of Prosperity ” = If you have enough faith, you’re always going to be wealthy, healthy, never lacking for luxury. A very misleading philosophy. Maybe the Lord is trying to tell the good reverend something.
    And some of these ministries are also money – making enterprises, unfortunately.

  • Mark Herringshaw

    Good point. I stand corrected… And I’ll edit the posted prayer to add that…

  • LDW

    Wow…I loved your prayer for the church. Everyone knows that the church is not the building, but some have to be reminded. Frankly my heart has always been comforted by home churches, cause, orginally, they were the backbone of the early Christian church. As much as online communication has been, to some extent eyeopening, i believe we have a new challenge because of it. It is that emmotional isolation caused by lack of physical and intimate loving fellowship. We are sharing our talents but not sharing ourselves in real time. Lately i closed down my facebook and other online activities, in order to use that time get back in touch with live people and some valuable alone time with God and myself.From that I have springboarded into an entirely different direction in my life. We actually are developing, as a world, an unhealthy fear of being alone with ourselves. We immediately go online to chat with strangers rather than spend quality time with family, friends or a visiting ministry to those in need.Frankly, as i see it, we are hiding behind the very screen we view. Its just another sort of voyerism…subtle, but very incideous and emmotionally dangerous if not addressed.
    My take…iam glad buildings are the center focus anymore..or that famous speaker…we all, as true believers in Christ, have the Holy Spirit insided us to give wisdom, revelation and inspiration. Lets get together in a home, coffee shop or garden today and share our love, help and lives. And lastly, dear ones, take care of the people that God has already put in your life.

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