The Los Angeles Times is running a story, Vendors say Crystal Cathedral owes them tens of thousands of dollars, about how the 10,000-member Crystal Cathedral is so financially strapped it has failed to pay nearly $100,000 to the vendors responsible for producing the mega-church's mega-popular Christmas and Easter pageants. (Both shows have been canceled for this year; it would have been the Christmas show's 30th anniversary).
An AP article, Crystal Cathedral in Calif. Owes Money to Vendors, states the church is staggering under $55 million of debt.
According to the Wikipedia page on Crystal Cathedral, the church's televised Sunday morning service, The Hour of Power, "is said to be" the most watched Christian television program in the world, with over 20 million viewers a week.
Here's a quote from the Crystal Cathedral's website:
Hearing from pastors eager to replicate the church's success, [the church's founder Robert] Schuller, in 1969, began the first ever series of training sessions for pastors in church growth. Today, Schuller and his Institute for Successful Church Leadership are regarded consistently ... as the catalyst of the mega-church movement.
If that's true, then I'm sure Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, James McDonald and many other mega-church leaders will soon be rushing to Shuller's aid.
One year I went to the CC's "The Glory of Christmas" show. I had an aisle seat. In the dark, during the show, a camel dressed in full Three Wise Men regalia was quietly led down the aisle, until it was standing directly behind me. I had no idea it was there. Suddenly, the animal let loose a roaring sneeze that instantly covered the back of my head and neck with a thick spray of warm camel snot. I found it exceedingly difficult to enjoy the rest of the show.
Update: here's a photo of the actual camel who sneezed on me! Be afraid.