Robert A. Schuller, son of televangelist Robert H. Schuller, has finally revealed his new ministry plans nearly half a year after he stepped down as senior pastor of Crystal Cathedral.
"Having been on television for 32 years, I've witnessed first-hand the decline of family-values programming in America," said Schuller, 54, in his announcement this past week. "I'm looking forward to pioneering a new definition of 'family-values' programming that speaks to all generations."
As part of his plans, Schuller teamed up with GodTube.com co-founder Chris Wyatt to create ComStar Media Fund, a limited partnership that acquires media properties that globally distribute family-value programming through television, mobile and Internet platforms.
Among their first acquisitions is the popular "baby boomer" network AmericanLife TV Network (ALN), which thrives as the only independent network devoted to America's baby boomer generation and their families, delivering classic TV, lifestyle, original and socially responsible programming that addresses compelling issues important to today's baby boomer audience.
With the acquisition of ALN, ComStar leaders say they now have a vehicle to build out a premiere family-friendly network that will amalgamate television and Internet mediums and fill a void for safe, family programming targeting viewers of all ages.
"For too many years, baby boomers and their children have been assaulted by programming that exemplifies anything but family-values," expressed Wyatt, who currently serves as ComStar's president and CEO.
"We are developing new, original programming by leveraging our relationships with the world's top artists, directors, producers, brands and the advertising community, with an obvious focus on family-values based programming," he added.
Regarding Schuller's return to the media, the Crystal Cathedral ministry expressed their gratitude and said they would be continuing to pray for him and his family as well as his mother, father, and siblings.
"The Crystal Cathedral Ministry and Congregation join hearts in thanks and praise to God for this inspirational new outreach of Robert Anthony Schuller," they stated in their website.
"Our combined and most sincere prayer today is that his new ministry will reach persons everywhere, helping to change and enrich their lives through the positive love and redeeming spirit of Jesus Christ. The current economy places many thousands of persons in positions to seek and welcome the encouraging message that we know Robert will provide through his new and inspired efforts," the Garden Grove, Calif-.based megachurch added.
One month before he resigned as Crystal Cathedral's senior pastor, Schuller had been removed from the "Hour of Power" television program he hosted, which for three decades served as the voice and face of Schuller and his father, Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller.
The older Schuller said he felt called by God to build bridges between Crystal Cathedral Ministries and other powerful ministries and wanted his listeners and followers to hear other "amazing preachers," including Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church and Kirbyjon Caldwell of Windsor Village United Methodist Church.
But the vision to expand the program beyond a single personality in order to reach a broader audience strained relations between 83-year-old Schuller and his son, who disagreed with the move.
"For this lack of shared vision and the jeopardy in which this is placing this entire ministry, it has become necessary for Robert and me to part ways in the Hour of Power television ministry to each pursue our own unique God-ordained visions," the older Schuller said in a statement on Oct. 28.
On Wednesday, the younger Schuller encouraged his regular viewers on the Hour of Power to call their cable and satellite provider to get ALN before the fall debut of his new series.
"I can assure you, it won't be like anything else on television today," he stated.
Wyatt, meanwhile added, "We are not creating another religious network but rather a family-values channel."
"We've tapped into a huge underserved market and have the opportunity over time to increase distribution to exceed 40 million homes," he reported. "As the founder and former CEO of GodTube.com, one of the fastest growing website's of 2007, I have experience to apply to achieve this type of growth in cable and satellite distribution."
According to ComStar, ALN has more than 12.7 million subscribers, over 700 hours of original programming, as well as a significant, growing distribution base.
The newly acquired network will develop new original family-friendly based content to compliment an expansive offering of classic programs and films.