Six Things My Friend Learned from Robert Schuller

As you probably know by now, Robert Schuller past away last week.

I never met Robert Schuller, but followed his ministry from a distance over the years.

I remember watching him when I was a small boy.  I liked his booming voice.  And the pipe organ was amazing (remember, this was in the 1970s!). And I was too young to know that his theology probably didn’t match up all that well with my local fundamentalist baptist church.  (Oh… the innocence of youth!)

And, of course, in recent years I followed the collapse of the Crystal Cathedral; and the personal life of Robert and Arvella Schuller; and often wrote about it here. I found the story fascinating.

Upon his passing last week, my friend Mark Wilson sent me a link to an article he wrote about his one and only encounter with Schuller; and I thought it was a great piece with some great wisdom.  Whatever you thought of Robert Schuller, see if this might not help you on this Monday.

Mark lists six things that Schuller taught him in their brief meeting that really helped mold his ministry over the next decades.  Here they are:

1.  “If there are enough people in your community to keep you going strong, invest your whole ministry in the same place.  Try to imagine what your church could be in 40 years, and then start chipping away towards that goal.  Inch by inch, anything’s a cinch.”

2.  “Work with Jesus to build a better church than anyone in your community could ever imagine.  Don’t let small thinkers dictate your dreams.  Operate from the perspective of what God can do rather than what we’ve done before.”

3.  “Some congregations run on positive energy.  Others run on negative energy.  You can grow a church with either kind — but positive energy attracts positive people and negative energy attracts negative people.  If you want a bunch of negative people, all you have to do is run the church on negative energy. You’ll get plenty of them.”

4.  “Knock ’em alive!  Give ’em heaven!”  I swiped these phrases from Dr. Schuller and say them frequently to those who will be speaking or singing at our church.

5.  “Make a list of ten options.  When faced with a difficult decision, force yourself to write down ten possible solutions.  Then, review the list, choose the best one and try it first. If it doesn’t work, you still have nine good ideas to go.  Your answer will be somewhere on that list.”

6.  Look at what you have left.  Never look at what you have left.”

I encourage you to read Mark’s full story here.  It’s touching.

What stands out to you about the life and ministry of Robert Schuller?


  • Anita Kropf April 7, 2015 Reply

    He inspired people to think positive and love themselves. I started every week with Robert Schuller and possibility thinking. It was God’s message through him to me each Sunday. He seemed to know what I needed to hear each week. Amazing man and ministry! God loves him and so do I.

  • Scott April 7, 2015 Reply

    I think #6 should read, “Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost.” My grandparents were very involved in Robert Schuller’s ministry dating back even before the Crystal Cathedral. My Grandpa was a Deacon and my Grandma worked for Hour of Power as well as their volunteerism in the church. It’s unfortunate how things ended up but his ministry did touch many lives and make an impact for the kingdom.

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