The Crystal Cathedral and the Choir Covenant

I’ve watched the Crystal Cathedral and Robert Schuller drama from a distance through a variety of media reports. It’s a rather sad ending to a fairly spectacular ride. There’s not much to comment about regarding the bankruptcy or the board maneuverings this weekend. It is what it is.

The story that peaked my attention is related to the choir and worship team covenant at the Cathedral. Sheila Schuller Coleman introduced the document earlier this spring. The document affirms marriage as between a man and a woman while additionally setting forth faith guidelines for worship leadership. If you’d like to see a copy, click here. I’m not really sure what the press (or choir member) fuss is all about. Establishing guidelines for leadership isn’t typically a novel practice for churches, but apparently it’s a rather new practice for the Cathedral.

I was a bit taken back by Robert Schuller’s response following the clamor about the covenant. He disagreed publically with his daughter’s introduction of the covenant by stating, “We don’t test anyone who comes to our ministry. We don’t require them to be Christian. We would not demand that they be born-again Christians” Really? That sounds a bit odd to me. Sure, you open your doors to anyone that walks over the threshold, but when it comes to leadership, I expect a little more. I’d expect the person singing or leading in worship to be a Christian. I’d expect the individual teaching Biblical truth to be born again. Wouldn’t you? I expect more from worship leadership – leading out of the overflow in one’s experience with Christ. I can’t expect anyone to be perfect, but I can expect my church leadership to be Christ followers.

Maybe that’s the issue with the Crystal Cathedral. It was never built on anything more than a man’s dream, achieved by a man, and done for a man. If you want to read more, here’s the USA Today story from March.