We've reported earlier on the financial difficulties that the Crystal Cathedral has been experiencing. What's not been reported until now is that there are actually two churches that see themselves as preserving Robert Schuller's legacy; the original church that Robert founded and a new expression that has Robert's grandson Bobby as the driving force.
"Bobby's church, The Gathering, takes a low-key approach to worship. Sunday's services aren't in an opulent church. Young band members open the service, and it's intimate — people don paper name tags and shake hands. All of these elements represent a 'post-boomer' style of worship popular with 20- to 40-year-old Christians, said Richard Flory, a sociologist of religion at USC.
The cathedral, on the other hand, is known for grand productions, robed pastors and traditional hymns. The age of its average congregant is 53.
'They are totally outdated,' Flory said. 'They are so committed to a plot of land and a building, and they've got a problem.'"
Interesting take. It may be the day of edifices and mega-churches is coming to a close. In someways, by being willing to invent church to make it appropriate for the context of the community in which it is set, Bobby is doing the same thing his grandfather did - when he started a church in a drive-in theater.