Crystal Cathedral

Main Service Times: Main - 9:30 & 11:00 AM | Evening - 7:00 PM | Arabic - 1:15 PM

Founding Pastor

Dr. Robert H. Schuller

Dr. Robert H. Schuller

Now retired, Dr. Robert H. Schuller's positive messages live on as a source of strength and hope, motivating and encouraging people of all nationalities, races, creeds, and faiths. As a pastor, speaker, motivator, and author, he is appreciated by countless millions worldwide for his ability to encourage and inspire.

As the Crystal Cathedral's Founding Pastor, Dr. Schuller was seen and heard internationally every Sunday from the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral on the world's first and most widely watched hour-long church service, the "Hour of Power" - now the fourth longest-running weekly program in television history.

Dr. Schuller has authored 37 hardcover books, six of which have made the prestigious New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.

Early Years

Robert Harold Schuller was born in Alton, Iowa, on September 16, 1926. From the age of 4, young Schuller knew that he wanted to be a minister. In 1950, after completing a Bachelor of Arts degree at Hope College and a Master of Divinity at Western Theological Seminary, he fulfilled his dream when he was ordained by the Reformed Church in America, the oldest Protestant denomination in the United States.

After ordination, Dr. Schuller pastored the Ivanhoe Reformed Church in Chicago for five years. During his ministry there, the congregation grew from 38 to more than 400.


In 1955, Dr. Schuller was called by the Reformed Church in America to begin a new church in Garden Grove, Calif. With his wife Arvella as organist and $500 in assets, he rented the Orange Drive-In Theatre and conducted Sunday services from the tarpapered roof of its snack bar. One hundred persons attended that first Sunday, all in their cars. Dr. Schuller, who believes this outdoor ministry experience helped inspire him to later build the all-glass Crystal Cathedral, often states, "It was there I fell in love with the sky!"

Under Dr. Schuller's leadership, the world's first "walk-in-drive-in" church building was designed by Richard Neutra and built in 1961. In 1970, with the encouragement of Dr. Billy Graham, Dr. Schuller began broadcasting services from the Neutra sanctuary on the "Hour of Power." By 1975, the "Hour of Power" was airing in all 50 states, and the unprecedented growth of the local congregation dictated the decision to build the internationally acclaimed Crystal Cathedral. Designed by award-winning architect Philip Johnson, the first-ever all-glass church was dedicated on September 14, 1980.

In 2012, Dr. Schuller retired from the ministry.

Ministry Milestones

In 1968, Dr. Schuller founded New Hope (714) NEW-HOPE, the world's first live, church-sponsored, Christian 24-hour telephone suicide prevention and counseling center "hot line."

In 1970, Dr. Schuller founded the Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership, which graduated more than 20,000 students from various Protestant and Catholic denominations. The New Yorker magazine said in 2008 that Dr. Schuller's ministry was the "phenomenon" behind the mega-church movement.

Honors & Affiliations

Dr. Schuller has been honored with numerous awards, a few of which include: the Freedom Award, presented at the America's Freedom Festival at Provo, Utah; the Horatio Alger Award, presented by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans; Freedom Foundation Awards; Clergyman of the Year, presented by Religious Heritage of America; Awards of Excellence for Religion in Media; the Napoleon Hill Gold Medal Award for Literary Achievement; The Golden Plate Award, presented by the American Academy of Achievement; the Outstanding American Award, presented by The Los Angeles Philanthropic Foundation; the 20th Annual Humanitarian of the Year Award, presented by the National Conference of Christians and Jews; honorary membership to American Institute of Architects; both Dr. and Mrs. Schuller were honored with The Edith Munger Leadership Award presented by the Munger Center for Psychological Services. Dr. Schuller's affiliations include: Member of the Guild of Architects of the American Institute of Architects; Board of Counselors of the Y.M.C.A. of the USA; Advisory Board Member, Church Growth International, Seoul, Korea; Honorary Member, National Association of Christian Psychotherapists and Counselors, Inc.; Advisory Board of the Highpoint Cancer Education Center; Advisory Board of the Salvation Army; Board of Director, Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans; Member of the American Academy of Achievement; Founder and Honorary Chairman, Churches Uniting in Global Mission.

His honorary doctorate degrees include those from Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California; Hope College, Holland, Michigan (his Alma Mater); Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa; Pepperdine University, Malibu, California; Barrington College, Barrington, Rhode Island; Ashland College, Ashland, Ohio; and Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.

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