Warning! and Call to Action

By Penrod Schoefield – Posted November 6, 2014


Just a few years ago, we all watched as CCM management struggled through a period when income declined and expenses continued apace, leaving monthly shortfalls. The leadership had strong faith that prayers would be answered and God would provide, but in the interim they solved the problem by leaving major bills unpaid.

One of the creditors went to court to protect a past due receivable. The amount owed was significant, but not insurmountable. Some observers still believe that the creditors challenge could have been averted by revising spending in other areas. Instead, the ministry chose to place the organization in voluntary bankruptcy, a move that responsible critics believe was unnecessary and inappropriate.

The rest is history.  God does provide, for those who attend to their basic responsibilities.

We believe we may be re-living some of this behavior again today. It is well understood that donation income has decreased substantially this year. At the same time, expenses are probably growing. Knowledgeable insiders are confirming what is obvious from observation – the new HOP production is far more costly than expected. Significant amounts of money are being spent to fix problems resulting from inadequate planning and insufficient expertise.

There are other danger signs on the horizon.  Ministry leaders are creating a cloud of uncertainty at the Academy, sending messages that the school needs to provide financial support to the ministry or face closure at the end of the school year.

We have no specific insider knowledge, but we have been told that  payments  to  several major  creditors have not been made since John Charles resigned. There's plenty of money for “launch events” in Phoenix, etc., but basic expenses may be unpaid. Shades of Crystal Cathedral Ministries.  Shades of the unnecessary bankruptcy.

We need to know the true financial health of the ministry, and we need to know now, before another marketplace event places the ministry in final jeopardy.

We suggest the following.  There is no time to go through a negotiation about which details should be included in a “transparency” disclosure.  The ministry will guard certain details aggressively. We simply need to understand the basic financial health of the ministry at this time.

The following financial details should reveal the true picture.

1. Total revenues and total expenses, January thru October, 2014

2. Total revenues and expenses for the same period, 2013

3. Revenue and expense estimates, November and December, 2014

4. Actual revenues and expenses for these two individual months, 2013

5.   Amount due creditors, 30 days or more in arrears.

6. Amount due creditors under extended repayment terms.

7. Expected cash balance at December 31, 2014.

We see no reason that these summary financials should not be disclosed.  

We do not wish to see these figures published or distributed. We suggest a small committee of respected congregants should be formed immediately to review the details listed above.  These committee members should be competent to review financial data.  Once they have done their review, we would expect that they would inform the congregation and the donor base, through methods of their choice, as to their finding – is the ministry healthy or not? Are there unpaid bills due to creditors?

The committee should not discuss this with Bobby Schuller and this is not a proper topic for an informal Friday Night meeting.  Our elected structure gives the consistory responsibility for governance matters.  The investigation should be done with the support and cooperation of the full consistory.

Time is of the essence here.  This ministry has a history of “December surprises.”  Two years ago a Board member had to contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars at the last minute to close they year with expenses paid.

We urge your support and active cooperation in pursuing this plan.

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