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CBN.com He is known all over the world as a possibility thinker. Robert Schuller was ordained in 1950 by the Reformed Church of America. In 1955 he headed west at the urging of his pastor and mentor Norman Vincent Peale. Schuller set his sights on California.
He preached his first Sunday service to 100 people all sitting in their cars. With only $500 to begin his ministry, Schuller rented out the Orange Drive-in Theater to have Sunday services. The location was affordable, available, and unconventional. It was perfect – church at a drive-in under the canopy of the California sun. Heaven smiled on their inauspicious beginning.
Fifty years later the sun is still shining on the believers worshipping at the Crystal Cathedral. The future holds great promise as the ministry team of Schuller and Schuller, father and son, work towards an eventual leadership transition.
Michael Little (CBN President): What is the key to your success?
Robert Schuller, Sr.: Anybody who succeeds is helping people. The secret to success is find a need and fill it; find a hurt and heal it; find a problem and solve it.
Little: What’s the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn in 50 years?
Schuller, Sr.: The hardest lesson is to continue to stay focused on the emotional needs of the non-believers.
Little (reporting): Dr. Schuller strategically, prayerfully built a ministry that would invite cynics and skeptics to consider Christ. His pastoral experience has taught him that all people, believers or non-believers, have this in common – they have hurts. He geared his ministry to address those needs.
When asked how he would like to be remembered his response is passionately personal – a father’s heart.
Little: How about your legacy? What do you want it to be?
Schuller, Sr.: First of all, the family. The children, the grandchildren, that they will all hold the faith, and they are. I’m very proud of all my children. They all have Christian families; they read the Bible; they pray; the kids go to Sunday school; they know the Ten Commandments by heart. That’s my greatest honor, and I couldn’t do anything to glorify God that could surpass that. That’s very meaningful.
Little: You’ve been the friend of many presidents of the United States along with heads of corporations? Has power been a temptation?
Schuller, Sr.: Oh no. Only if I need it to achieve my goal. Keep your eye on your goal and if you’re a Christian, as I am, then for God’s sake -- literally, not profanely -- you ask, ‘What is my calling?’ And then ‘What am I to do? What do I have to do?’ I want to build friendships. I want to come across as being a good illustration of what Jesus is like.
Little (reporting): Five years ago Robert A. Schuller, Jr., returned to the Crystal Cathedral in a supporting role. He’s not intimidated by the journey ahead. The Schullers live and believe, “All things are possible with Christ.”
Little: What’s the down side of having a famous father known as the possibility thinker?
Schuller, Jr.: I think being in the shadows is always kind of a challenging thing because I feel like I’ve been given the gift of leadership. I think for one of those reasons shortly after I was ordained, I left the Crystal Cathedral and started a church about 30 miles south of here and was there for 20 years. Now it’s challenging to try and figure out what my role is and to be in a supporting role, which is what I am until my father passes the mantle.
I’m fully and completely convinced that the Hour of Power is a step in leading people to a fuller understanding of who Jesus is. I can’t tell you how many people have watched the Hour of Power and say, ‘Now I feel confident to be able to go to a church’… That’s what the Hour of Power does. It opens the doors to the church and says, ‘Hey, here’s what’s going on behind those doors.’
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