Saturday, November 3, 2012

Schuller vs. Crystal Cathedral

Schuller and his wife, Arvella, seek more than $5 million.  Meanwhile, the outcome of the trial will have an impact on creditors who have been waiting to be paid since the Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

"We're just hoping that it's soon over, so we can just move on," said John Charles, chief executive officer of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries.  "It's been painful for both sides."

Carol Schuller Milner, a Schuller daughter who along with her husband, Tim, also has claims in the trial scheduled in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, said: "This is really grieving us.  We don't pursue conflict.  We believe in reconciliation."

The elder Schullers filed a number of claims for breach of contract and copyright infringements.  The largest claim seeks damages for the rejection of an agreement between them and the ministry written prior to Rev. Schuller leaving his post as senior pastor in 2005.

In that agreement, the church agreed to provide for Robert H. and Arvella Schuller until their deaths.  It included payments of $119,000 per year in housing allowance, $20,065 for insurance annually and $198,000 per year to Schuller's corporation, Robert Harold, Inc.  Both Schullers are in their 80s.

Starting in late 2008, as the ministry faced an economic downturn and a decline in donations, the Schullers were paid less.  When the ministry filed for bankruptcy, all payments stopped.  And in the reorganization plan, the agreement with the Schullers was rejected.

Payments also stopped to Carol and Tim Milner.  She was employed for $10,000 monthly to do work related to her father's intellectual property.  He worked as an independent contractor on various services, including fundraising and arranging the reverend's speaking engagements.  Their claims total approximately $189,000, according to court documents.

The elder Schullers have been criticized for using their power and influence over the years to give themselves and their children generous salaries, housing allowances and other benefits, even after the church began to struggle financially.

Carol Milner disputes the idea that her parents and siblings are wealthy or took advantage of the church.

"People have said the big, bad Schullers took all this money, but in reality we were running a $60 million organization.  And we gave it our all," she said.

"My parents did not become wealthy as the result of the church," Milner said.

[from the Orange County Register]

Five Difficult Challenges Pastors Face

  1. Responding graciously to someone right before you preach.  The pastor has put hours into the sermon.  He has prayed for God's power for that moment.  He is focused on God's Word and its proclamation.  All of his energy is devoted to the upcoming moment.  Then someone rushes up and drops a bombshell on him on the way to the pulpit, or hands him a piece of paper and says, "Pastor, you need to announce about the garage sale we're having this week."
  2. Knowing what do with a staff member who is not making a vital contribution to the church.  Many churches will not let leaders make the tough decision of letting a staff member go, even if he is not really productive and obviously an ill fit for the ministry and the church.  Such a move is considered "un-Christian" and will not be tolerated, even if it would ultimately be best for that staff member.  Many pastors have lost their own jobs when they made such a move.  So we often move those persons to innocuous, low-accountability positions, even though we know it is poor stewardship.
  3. Loving a person in the church when that person is your critic.  We want to be Christ-like and love people unconditionally.  I admit that I often saw those people through their critical words instead of seeing them through the eyes of Christ.
  4. Preparing more than one quality sermon a week.  When I was a pastor I had to prepare a Sunday morning sermon, a Sunday evening sermon, and a Wednesday evening Bible message.  Frankly, it took all I had to prepare one good message.  I know many churches no longer have the Sunday evening preaching service, but tens of thousands of pastors still prepare more than one message a week.
  5. Doing the funeral of a person who was not a Christian.  We can always hope the person had a deathbed conversion of which we are not aware.  And we can always preach messages of comfort to the family and friends.  But it is extremely difficult to talk about the deceased if he or she was lost.

[from Rick Warren's Podcast for Pastors and Church Leaders. by Thom S. Rainer]

Today's Quote

"It is important for your volunteers to understand that their service – no matter how big or small – is an integral part of a much bigger picture."

[By - Nelson Searcy, (Connect: How to Double Your Number of Volunteers (p. 76))]


A wise old minister once said Love is. . .
Slow to suspect - quick to trust
Slow to condemn - quick to encourage
Slow to offend - quick to defend
Slow to expose - quick to shield
Slow to reprimand - quick to forbear
Slow to belittle - quick to appreciate
Slow to demand - quick to give
Slow to provoke - quick to reconcile
Slow to hinder - quick to help
Slow to resent - quick to forgive.
[ from Revitalize Your Church by Mark Wilson]

Why Parenting Is More Important Than Schools

Given all the roiling debates about how America's children should be taught, it may come as a surprise to learn that students spend less than 15% of their time in school.  While there's no doubt that school is important, a clutch of recent studies reminds us that parents are even more so.  A study published earlier this month by researchers at North Carolina State University, Brigham Young University and the University of California-Irvine, for example, finds that parental involvement — checking homework, attending school meetings and events, discussing school activities at home — has a more powerful influence on students' academic performance than anything about the school the students attend.

[From Time Magazine]

Leadership Development

What does the "expert" leader look like?  Moreover, how would we know we are in the presence of an expert leader?  The National Research Council (NRC) (2000) suggests the following as attributes of experts. Which do you think apply to leadership?

  • Experts notice features and meaningful patterns of information that are not noticed by novices (NRC)
  • Experts have acquired a great deal of content knowledge that is organized in ways that reflect a deep understanding of their subject matter (NRC)
  • Experts' knowledge cannot be reduced to sets of isolated facts or propositions but, instead, reflects contexts of applicability: that is the knowledge is "conditioned" on a set of circumstances (NRC)
  • Experts are able to flexibly retrieve important aspects of their knowledge with little attentional effort (NRC)
  • Though experts know their disciplines thoroughly, this does not guarantee that they are able to teach others (NRC)
  • Experts have varying levels of flexibility in their approach to new situations (NRC)

So does any of this sound like an expert leader?  Which of the bullets apply?  Which may not?  More important, what are additional attributes of an individual who is displaying expertise in the ream of leadership?  Lord & Hall (2005) would suggest that there are six specific skill domains when it comes to leadership:

  1. task
  2. emotional
  3. social
  4. identity level
  5. meta-monitoring
  6. value orientation
So this is interesting ... do you think that the leader needs to show expertise in each of the six domains outlined by Lord & Hall?  Seems like a tall order, but perhaps that's is truly being asked of a man or woman who has chosen to take on a formal or informal leadership role.  What do you think?  It’s an amazing conversation.

[Developing the "Expert" Leader from Center For Leader Development by Scott J. Allen]