$300k per year… Forever

Wow… things are getting even more interesting in the Crystal Cathedral settlement.

Last week, I did a post on churches and pastors that just don’t get it.  This could very well be part 2.

Everything’s coming down to a judge’s determination this week (it was supposed to be yesterday, but has now been postponed until Thursday) as to what happens to the Cathedral.  It will either go with a local college or the Catholic Diocese.  It’s all up to the judge.

But what was interesting to me yesterday was what was written about in the Orange Country Register.

Evidently, Robert H. Schuller (the senior) says that the ministry infringed on the copyright of his books.  Between the copyright infringement and the termination of his contract, Robert wanted $6.5 MILLION dollars set aside to pay those claims.

Schuller also said that he was promised, under a transition agreement, to be paid $300,000 a year for the rest of his life.  He wants that amount as well.  Carol Milner, the Schuller’s daughter, has said that they have not been receiving the payments promised to them, and that they are now being asked to give up the rights to their works.

Milner is quoted as saying:

“My parents have given all their assets to the church,” she said. “They are paying a lot in attorney’s fees and have a huge mortgage on their home that they took out to keep the ministry alive. At their age, they cannot afford to take risks.”

In fact, Milner says that the ministry is right now inappropriately selling her father’s books online, and that her parents have absolutely no control.

It’s sad… but in the end, it’s looking like it may all come down to money.  That’s many times the case.

I have no idea what Robert Schuller’s personal finances are, nor do I care.  But at 80-some years old, I’m surprised he has a mortgage, or that he needs a severance package from the church in the amount of $300k a year for life.

In the light of the bankruptcy, it seems a little ludicrous, don’t you think?

I’d love, of course, to hear YOUR thoughts.




  • steve miller November 15, 2011 Reply

    Maybe the ramifications of following Christ has never been fully explained to him.

  • Peter November 15, 2011 Reply

    There’s a lot of ludicrous things, seemingly, going on there, but most of them seem financial in nature. How many pastors get a 300K/year retirement package in this world?

    • Keith November 15, 2011 Reply

      I think you could split that up between 6 pastors out there and they would be happy with 50k a year.

      I am not saying he does not deserve anything but that plus 6.5 million? Really?

      Would love to see a conversation between him and Francis Chan talk about different philosophies! lol

  • Mike B November 15, 2011 Reply

    “In the light of the bankruptcy, it seems a little ludicrous, don’t you think?”

    Todd, you are too kind. Admittedly I am not following this story. But in the light of – well just about anything – this seems over the top extravagant. Especially in the light of the Scriptures.


    • Todd Rhoades November 15, 2011 Reply

      I am nothing, if not kind, Mike.


  • Philip November 15, 2011 Reply

    Anybody else think that he looks like the Joker?

  • Michael November 15, 2011 Reply

    It seems strange to me that pastors are one of the few fields where you can write books that directly correlate with your job many times during working hours and then say they are mine. In most professions those works belong to the institution or employer.

    If I am wrong please set me straight.

    • Matt Steen November 15, 2011 Reply

      It depends on a pastor’s contract. Unless he has specific language written into his employment contract, the sermons and anything related are considered property of the church.

    • Matthew Rathbun November 16, 2011 Reply

      Michael, I get what you’re saying, but I’m not sure this is limited to Pastors. College Professors, economists, elected officials and others frequently write books that are their own works even if related to their jobs or done while on the job.

      I write blog posts and I’m working on a book that relates to what I do for a living and I’m using experiences and issues from the job. The work will reflect well on my company, but is not owned by them.

    • Brianmpei November 24, 2011 Reply

      Anything you write during working hours belongs to your employer unless clearly specified by contract. This is why Rick Warren’s donation of royalties from “Purpose Driven” pay his salary back to his church seems generous but is actually a way to void his employment contract – ie. “I paid back everything they paid to me so I wasn’t technically employed by them…”. Lesson – if you sell enough copies of your book you can work out a deal with your church to retain the property rights. Unless they are smart business people.

  • Neal MD November 15, 2011 Reply

    Nepotism has come to bite them in the behind.

    When a church is run more like an institution or business, the fruit is like an institution or business. Through all of they’re “dealings” in the last decade or so, their polity seems a bit off. I am a young, terminated pastor, so I’m probably off myself.

  • Rich Kirkpatrick November 15, 2011 Reply

    Looks like an Occupy Crystal Cathedral might actually happen… j/k

    Wow. This is just unbelievable. Well, I wish it was, anyway.

  • Matthew Rathbun November 16, 2011 Reply

    The bigger you are, the harder you fall. Todd, I’ve followed you, following this story for awhile now. At some level it becomes Ad Hominem.

    We may not like what the money has done to the ministry or how flamboyant the building, limos and book deals have become. However, there is a sense that people who may not have heard the Word otherwise did so by watching this television show. My grandmother who was stuck in her home for many years before she passed away was a strong Christian woman. She watched his show every week.

    I am not a fan of TV evangelist, but using them for blog fodder is even less interesting to me. I’ve watched his sermons and never saw the appeal, but that doesn’t mean that others didn’t see the benefit.

    My point is this – so many times Christians scoff or scold a ministry because of what it became. I”m just thankful that Christ died for you, me and the leaders of this Church even knowing what we would become or do in our lives.

    Knowing that simply truth wants to make me think twice before judging people based on what a media outlet has to say.

    Somewhere in here a comment was made about an 80 year old having a mortgage. The quote said that he took out the mortgage on his home to serve the ministry. Let’s take that on face value and say that taking money out of your next egg in this day and age to help suppor the ministry is admirable. I wish more pastors would have that dedication.

    Now, he’s seemingly left with a debt on his household and ministry that is failing – exactly what else does everyone want to see happen to him? He’s already paying for what appears to be arrogance.

    • Scott Harrison November 17, 2011 Reply

      One thing is for sure Matthew; he’ll be taken care of one way or another. I’m a believer that Christ doesn’t need our approval for how he ministers to people. He can speak thru a donkey, or me and You. If it’s God, it’s God.

      The Crystal Cathedral is iconic and it’s fall is MORE than epic. When it digresses into a fight over money it just makes me ill and I think it serves as a reminder that when we put trust or faith in a man or a ministry we set ourselves up for a major disappointment.

  • Matthew Rathbun November 16, 2011 Reply

    And yes… I do think this picture makes him look like a mature Joker from Batman 🙂

  • Scott Harrison November 17, 2011 Reply

    I’d retire for $300k a year for the rest of my life…
    That whole thing is so sad, the worst kind of representation of “church”.

  • Sara November 17, 2011 Reply

    Karma is a bit@#. For years Rev Schuller Sr lived the high life & his ego got the best of him. His rants on a plane when a stewardess took his robe shows his arrogance. He did his congregation wrong by misappropriating funds & his whole family should be investigated & get the consequences of their actions.

  • Fred November 17, 2011 Reply

    Robert needs to pay me $300,000 a year for the times when I only had one TV channel and he was on it. He wasted part of my life and almost bored me to death! 🙂

  • Tina November 19, 2011 Reply

    What about forgivness?How hard do you think it was for his church?He didn’t steal money like some,or what about the ones who beat homosexuality,adultry at the pulpit and we find out there doing it?Be loyal to God be kind to man, one never knows what will happen in there own life.That’s why it’s so important to put faith and trust in Christ alone,man will at times confuse/disappoint you.

  • Jan November 22, 2011 Reply

    This is so whack. How can this man live with himself?
    I keep thinking about the pastors living in utter poverty and persecution while he whines about collecting his 300k.
    Shaking my head…

  • Mark November 22, 2011 Reply

    I have always liked Robert Schuller but bankruptcy means there is no more money. He gets nothing because there is nothing left.

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