Doesn’t it just make you feel so darned good when you hear stories of megachurches and televangelists in decline?
Once one of the nation’s most popular televangelists, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller is watching his life’s work crumble.
His son and recent successor, the Rev. Robert A. Schuller, has abruptly resigned as senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral. The shimmering, glass-walled megachurch is home to the “Hour of Power” broadcast, an evangelism staple that’s been on the air for more than three decades.
The church is in financial turmoil: It plans to sell more than $65 million worth of its Orange County property to pay off debt. Revenue dropped by nearly $5 million last year, according to a recent letter from the elder Schuller to elite donors. In the letter, Schuller Sr. implored the Eagle’s Club membersÂ – who supply 30 percent of the church’s revenueÂ – for donations and hinted that the show might go off the air without their support.
It’s not just Schuller!
Today’s increasingly fragmented media landscape is also to blame, said Quentin Schultze, a Calvin College professor who specializes in Christian media.
Church-based televangelism led by powerful personalities filled TV in the 1980s, but now only a handful of shows remain, he said. Among the struggling ministries are those of Oral Roberts and the late D. James Kennedy of “The Coral Ridge Hour” TV show.
Ah, I dream of a day when all of the churches are in collapse. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t say that the loss of attendees is because of growing enlightenment: it’s because these organizations are dependent on the personal charisma of their leaders, and when they go, people just go searching for another happy sheep-fleecer. It’s still a start, though.