"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Crystal Cathedral in Trouble, Schuller's Take Pay Cut, but: "The Schullers' salaries are not available."

"The Schullers' salaries are not available."

This is one of the few lines that does not shock the reader in last month's Orange County Register article highlighting the Schullers' announcement that "the Schullers'" are taking a 50% pay cut for two months to help pay church vendors.

It is no secret that Robert Schullers' "Crystal Cathedral" (Garden Grove Community Church) has fallen on tough economic times since the recession started in 2008. The OCR has chronicled the financial woes of the Crystal Cathedral - it is a story of unpaid vendors and local businessmen and women facing financial disaster when the Crystal Cathedral is not paying vendors.

A couple of disturbing elements of this news story:

1. Mega-Nepotism is Alive and Well

As reported in the OCR:

"Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller, his wife Arvella, and their five children and respective spouses will all take a voluntary 50 percent pay cut for the next four pay periods, according to an e-mail from Sheila Schuller Coleman to all cathedral employees."
The glaring part of that statement is not that they are taking a 50% pay cut, but that all of the Schuller's according to this news article, ARE ON THE PAYROLL.

Nepotism is a danger to any organization, that is why most companies have a "nepotism" policy outlining the conditions by which close family members can and cannot work in the same organization. Even Jimmy Draper of the SBC wrote about nepotism back in 2005, and he says it is one of the 5 "landmines" pastors need to avoid:
"This [nepotism] is a very sensitive area. When a minister hires his wife, siblings, children, spouses of his children, etc., it opens up some areas of concern. I believe it is inappropriate unless it comes as a demand from the church itself."
2. Of Course, Salaries are "Not Available"

One line in the OCR article says:

"The Schullers' salaries are not available."

Really? Where are they?

Why are they not available? They only want to tell us of the generous 50% pay cut, but they would not dare to disclose to their church members or the public at large any raw numbers.

Why?

Compensation of mega church pastors who earn six-figure compensation packages are never, ever disclosed. They can't, because they know what would happen to the revenue flow if the donors themselves knew the truth. So people give and give and give.

3. Cutting Ministries Comes Before Cutting Salaries or Staff

While I'm sure the Schuller's are proud of their generosity of giving up 1/2 of their salary for a few months, it is interesting that this did not happen SOONER. Maybe they did take cuts earlier, but the story didn't indicate this is so.

If their wealthy family can afford to give up 1/2 their salary to make up a million dollar shortfall, why did this not happen sooner to help pay vendors?

Are all 12 family members filling essential ministry positions?

The sad reality in today's church - and not just of the mega variety - is that ministry expenditures will often be cut before salaries or professional minister positions that could be filled by lay people are cut....and in some churches ministry gets cut before advertising or marketing expenditures.

Could it be the financial woes at Crystal Cathedral are a sign of things to come for other mega ministries?

Or maybe it's just that the Schuller's didn't preach tithing hard enough.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

don't throw rocks at people who live in glass houses.

Truth said...

I remember reporting to my church when finances were tough that the Senior Adults had to take up a collection just to pay for gas for the VAN so they could take a short trip, while the Pastor was giving out staff raises, paying college tuition's secretly, and taking personal and family trips to Hawaii, Disney World, Conferences, and beyond.

Even though these members gave 75% of the funds to the church, he would not pay the GAS for them to take a SR Adult trip to the mountains.

That Pastor was Mike Everson....former Pastor of Prays Mill Baptist in GA., Georgia Baptist Conference Executive Chairman, and now "Consultant" for that same G B C in the swamps of South Ga.

It is all about the paycheck, right ministers.

Jeff said...

Tom,

How did you feel about Lindsey Sr., hiring Lindsey Jr. and the two of them working together?

No ill tone, or sarcasm intended, just an honest question.

To rule it out completely would have been to deny one of the greatest ministry teams in the last generation.

No Crystal Cathedral fan here. Schullers are a sham, and they always have been.

just wondering

Anonymous said...

Could there be some jealousy here? Your dad was not a Pastor. Your dad was not a Worship Leader. Your dad was not a Education Pastor. Cry me a River!!!
Do you think that God is bigger than all of this? Do you feel that God cannot manage His Church?
Get me some Cheese....there is a lot of Whine being poured!!!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hi Jeff - great question. I'm glad you asked. We have discussed this issue on the blog over the past three years when nepotism comes up, and the Lindsay Sr./Jr. co pastors are always the counter example to "nepotism is bad in the church" argument.

My response is the same today as it always has. First Baptist Jax was not and never was a training ground and employment center for the family of the pastor. Never, ever.

Homer and Vines never, hired family members, although I'm sure they could have.

Yes, Homer Jr. was hired in 1969 to be co-pastor with his dad, but Homer Jr. was not some snot-nosed kid with a 4-year bible college degree looking for a job and daddy hired him - like we see so often in evangelical circles today.

Homer Lindsday graduated from seminary and established a mission church in Miami in the early 1950's called Northwest Baptist Church. Look it up. It's still there, and Homer was their initial pastor. Homer pastored for 16 or 17 years at that church, and it crew into a mega church in the 1960s! The church grew from 40 something members to over 3000 members over his 17 years there at Northwest. He stayed there, proved himself, didn't use it to jump after a few years to the next gig, didn't ride daddy's coattails to a cush job after college. He didn't become rich, didn't author any books. He just served faithfully for 17 years in Miami winning people to Christ.

A search committee at FBC Jax was selected by the deacons in 1968 to find a replacement for Sr as he neared retirement. They went after Homer Jr. Homer Jr. balked at first. He felt his mission field was in Miami. He eventually did come to Jax, and his dad gave him pretty much free reign to lead the church, and eventually when Sr. retired Jr. took over as pastor.

It was NOT a position created for Homer, Jr. He wasn't the administrator, or the Director of Whatever, he was the PASTOR replacing his father, after 17 years of faithful service in Miami.

That, Jeff, might be nepotism, that might not be nepotism.

I'll let you decide.

But look at the ministries today that are virtually full-employment opportunities for anybody in the pastor's family that wants to put their hand in the church cookie jar and take their piece the action.

Nepotism is in its most raw form when a position is created in an organization that is tailor made for the family member. No one else is interviewed, the job description is for, well, that one person.

It can have many detrimental effects to the organization, some that we've discussed here.

But is the hiring of Homer Lindsay, Jr. an example to be compared with the nepotism and "family business" mentality of many mega churches today? No way. It is an example of a young pastor who just about out-did his dad in ministry while on his own in Miami, and the Jax search committee seeing the end of their pastor's time and knowing the perfect fit would be the hometown kid who proved himself a worthy servant to come back to Jacksonville after 17 years of ministry in Miami.

And Homer, Jr, when he returned home to Jacksonville, continued to be the humble servant, never made himself rich at the expense of the church or it's wealthy members, and he just quietly served until he passed in 2000.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:14 p.m. - bravo!

Best comment have seen on a blog in a long time.

Nepotism is a bad deal all around.

Louis

Anonymous said...

One of my favorites is seeing the glitzy sparkling banner embroidery script noting "Ministry Staff" for the seating of the Brunson family. Same place every Sunday - no mixing with the church family (only with their clique).

The Brunson's are no different than the Schuller family - even taking a 50% pay cut it still keeps these people in the 6 figure pay range. It's laughable when Brunson says they have no bills other than their mortgage.

Employers everywhere are cutting salaries and staff, but not the Mega church. Personally I wish FBCJ would start paying their fair share of city taxes for the fire and law enforcement. Any church that can afford to pay these kind of salaries can afford to pay for these services.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I thought Robert A. Schuller (Robert H. Schuller's only son) was no longer associated with TCC. Why would he (not to mention his wife) still be on the payroll at all?

Anonymous said...

"Could it be the financial woes at Crystal Cathedral are a sign of things to come for other mega ministries?"

Yes. YET, Many are even still building more buildings or renovating, etc. It is like a drug. They only know that mode. It defines who they are.

"Or maybe it's just that the Schuller's didn't preach tithing hard enough."

Schullers have a double whammy because they are one of the leaders of the prosperity gospel. Although most evangelicals are not far behind they are just more subtle about it.

Anonymous said...

"Do you think that God is bigger than all of this? Do you feel that God cannot manage His Church?
"

Actually, the problem is you have no idea what the Body of Christ would look like. If you did, you would realize that no fool would ever be jealous...they would be fearful for these people.

Anonymous said...

" It's laughable when Brunson says they have no bills other than their mortgage."

HUH?? How does he not have any bills? What, he gets everything for free? People pay for him?

Anonymous said...

Since the church doesn't pay their fair share of city taxes, should they use a city detective to out a blogger. Another form of nepotism maybe?

I have trouble watching people struggle to get by financially, while the millionaire preachers live the "good life" on the money they get from others. Talk about a waste! None of them are worth my time, much less what they are paid. I don't know how they sleep at night. I know someone trying to save up enough money fast enough to have an operation they need. Excuse me if I don't have sympathy with the "millionaire preachers" and their families on the payroll. Somehow their sermons and their "concern and love" for all of us just doesn't ring true. I wasn't born yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Its pretty sad when a church has to reduce salaries of their leadership.... all 12 of them!!! I believe a lot of pastors enter into the "MINISTRY" only for monetary gain. There are some who envision the Great Commission while others enter a contract for a "commission" on the yearly gross receipts. I assume like professional ball players within those contracts there are bonus awards as well. Sometimes you get what you pay for and sometimes you don't. Maybe some of these high flyers will come back to earth and have to work like the rest of us. Here's hoping!!!! How is that hope and change working for you now?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Wade Burleson has returned to blogging! Welcome back, Wade!

Wade Returns!

Bro./Min.Rod H. said...

"I have trouble watching people struggle to get by financially, while the millionaire preachers live the "good life" on the money they get from others. Talk about a waste! None of them are worth my time, much less what they are paid. I don't know how they sleep at night."

August 31, 2010 6:04 PM

Anon the reason they can sleep at night is because they have no conscience[2Tim.4:2]!!!

Just look at Mac's response to Dr.Dog blog!

Not a hint of sorry or repentence for what has happen to Dr.Dog and his family,nor the reputation of FBCJ!

I've stated it once,and I'll state it again.
It's all about the money with guys like Brunson and Schuller[2Pet.2:3]!!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be off topic. Just mentioning that Ergun Caner has ended his Twitter silence. He started tweeting again yesterday. Talked about his son's football game.

Nothing about the giant pink elephant in the room. No, nothing about repenting of bold face lies for 9 years. Business as usual.

Anonymous said...

Ergun Caner will NEVER be off topic. . .he's in total denial and doing as his mentors are telling him to move on and all this will soon be forgotten.

As Wade Burleson mentions in his blog the SBC leaders are really a tight bunch - they all think they are a level above others. Only these preachers are going to protect him and keep him safe so they think.

No, never will Ergun Caner be an off-topic subject, neither will the reputation of Liberty who keeps people like him on staff.

Anonymous said...

Your judging these people you know nothing about.
Have you called the Schuller's Church to make a request of your questions?
Have you called FBC Jax and given them some of your concerns?
Answer.............NO!
You can make Obama a Muslim and George W a Hero if you want to because you see things the way YOU want to see them.
Jealousy is ugly....

Bro./Min.Rod H. said...

"Have you called the Schuller's Church to make a request of your questions?"

September 1, 2010 2:49 PM


Based on Schuller's own recorded words concerning the exclusivity of Christ for salvation".

I therefore judge the man to be a heretic!!!

He's a Judas.
And the Bible states that Judas was about the "MONEY"!!!

Anonymous said...

"Your judging these people you know nothing about."

Anon 2:49 . . .and you my friend are judging the media reports and facts submitted about the activities of the Shuller & Caner incidents . . .as far as FBC Jax you don't disagree or submit concerns, you just leave the membership of the church.

No one is jealous on this blog - it's only the "grown up" people who have experienced the truth on what's actually happening in todays modern churches.

Anonymous said...

"Your judging these people you know nothing about.
Have you called the Schuller's Church to make a request of your questions?
Have you called FBC Jax and given them some of your concerns?"

This always cracks me up. What a great gig! Only hard questions are allowed to be asked in private for PUBLIC teachers of the Word. How convenient. Too bad Paul did not know that before he confronted Peter.

Anonymous said...

"Your judging these people you know nothing about."

Pot, meet kettle!

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic: That Mom [Karen Campbell] > september 1 podcast: patriarchy/patriocentricity two, part eleven ~ Jon Zens and What’s with Paul and Women, part two

Anonymous said...

"Based on Schuller's own recorded words concerning the exclusivity of Christ for salvation".

I therefore judge the man to be a heretic!!!
"

Me too. He teaches that a person can be saved and not know that Jesus saved him. As in there is more than one path to salvation. He has taught that for years.

Anonymous said...

The church owes 2 million dollars to TV stations and millions more to other vendors.

50% of 2 months of salaries for 12 people is going to help to pay off this debt.

These people must be making millions of dollars a year.

Anonymous said...

We need to give because this threatens to hurt the cause of
Christ. I encourage all the followers of this blog to give $100 towards the Hour of Power and let's keep this outreach on the airwaves. Millions have been inspired and touched by the ministry of Dr. Shuller. Let's be our Brother's Keeper!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I agree.

Make checks payable to "Robert Schuller and Family".

Anonymous said...

Lets be our brothers keeper? 9:28. Are you just stupid, crazy or what????

"Hurt the cause of Christ"??? He is another pastor who believes strongly in self esteem and people don't need to be told they are in a sinful condition. He along with several others believe in mans goodness.
Get you head out of the sand, buddy!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:28. Brother is one thing what you suggest is ridiculos. I would prefer giving $100 to the Humane Society or the Red Cross where it would do some real good.

Anonymous said...

Have you called FBC Jax and given them some of your concerns?"
__________________________________

Better not do that. You will be reported to the JSO and then will get trespassed and then you may get a call from Robert A. Hinson. Don't believe me. Check out the public records for a guy who called the church to question the roles and treatment of female staff and see what happened. So, do NOT ever call the church to ask a question. I would recommend anonymous emails and letters. :) Or maybe a blog. At least we know they read the blog. :) And at least one anonymous letter. :) Gotta love those Brunsons.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anon 3:13,

If you have information, please just spill it. Don't drop hints like, "Check out the public records for a guy who called the church to question the roles and treatment of female staff and see what happened." That means nothing to people who don't know the story.

Anonymous said...

60 Minutes should come calling....