The "Hour of Power" will no longer be the voice and face of just one or two individuals, said renowned preacher Dr. Robert H. Schuller. After 30 years, the popular television ministry is expanding its platform to include other influential Christian voices.
But the vision to expand the program beyond a single personality in order to reach a broader audience has strained relations between Schuller and his son, Robert A. Schuller, who disagreed with the move.
"It is no secret to any of you that my son, Robert, and I have been struggling as we each have different ideas as to the direction and the vision for this ministry as we move into the future," the older Schuller said in a statement released Sunday. "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."
Schuller removed his son as preacher on the weekly show.
The younger Schuller had taken the reins of both the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., and "Hour of Power" ministry in 2006. Shortly after, he published a book, Walking in Your Own Shoes, telling the public that he would not try to fill his father's big shoes, but rather take the ministry forward in his own shoes.
Part of his plans included taking the "Hour of Power" to the entire world, expanding its audience to China, India, parts of Africa and South America.
For over three decades, the Schullers had been the exclusive voice on the "Hour of Power," sharing unique positive messages to now some 20 million people. But the older Schuller said he feels called by God to build bridges between Crystal Cathedral Ministries and other powerful ministries and wants 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.
The long-term survival of his ministry was dependent on expanding its imprint beyond the Schuller name, he said Sunday to his congregation, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"The real minister's name that we honor is Jesus, not Schuller," he said. Much of the congregation agreed as they applauded.
"[W]e don't want one face . . . to be a spokesman," the 82-year-old pastor added, as he expressed his hope for the ministry to continue on for decades, according to the LA Times.
In a statement of support for both Schullers the Reformed Church in America, Classis of California, which the Crystal Cathedral is a member of, said in a statement, "Classis would appeal to all those who love and serve Jesus to stand with the Schullers and the Crystal Cathedral during this positive transition as Robert A. and Robert H. find more clarity in their very unique and individual callings.
"They are not just television icons; they are precious individuals loved by God and millions of people around the globe," the church group added, "and they deserve our utmost respect and support."
Robert H. Schuller said he will continue to host the weekly church service and also preach from time to time. Meanwhile, his son will continue to serve as the Orange County church's senior pastor.