Came across this rather interesting article the other day from Outreach and Evangelism Today, that makes the case that Robert Schuller has shaped the face of much of modern ministry. Now I'm not a big Bob fan (even though we are from the same denomination), but this article did make me think.
A quick taste to whet your appetite:
Schuller pioneered the use of marketing techniques to reach the nonchurched. It would not be overreaching to say that without Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral, there would likely be no Willow Creek Community Church, no Saddleback Community Church, or the thousands of other seeker-oriented churches around the country. The cliché—the pioneers are the ones with the arrows in their backs—is certainly true of Schuller. "I didn't know I was going to get criticism," he says. "I thought I'd get pats on the back."
In the modern era, he was the first to
• call his denominational church a "community church," since most seekers didn't understand or relate to a denominational label.
• call a sermon a "message".
• use a nontraditional setting for church worship—in his case, a drive-in theater.
• conduct door-to-door research, asking, "Why don't you go to church?".
• use marketing strategies to reach nonchurched people (about the time George Barna was born).
• train pastors in leadership (1969).
• televise a weekly church service.