Dr. Schuller came to Garden Grove, California, in 1955 to found the Reformed Church in America's congregation there. With his wife, Arvella, as organist and $500 in assets, he rented the Orange Drive-in theater and conducted Sunday services from the roof of the snack bar. The congregation's growth over the years dictated the decision to build the internationally acclaimed Crystal Cathedral.
Dr. Schuller knew all his life that he wanted to be a minister. He fulfilled that dream in 1950 when he was ordained by the Reformed Church in America after receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hope College and a Master of Divinity Degree from Western Theological Seminary, both in Holland, Michigan.
After ordination, the young pastor became a minister at the Ivanhoe Reformed Church in Chicago, where he remained for five years. During his ministry there, the congregation grew from 38 to about 500. He left Ivanhoe Reformed for Garden Grove in 1955.
Dr. Schuller is the author of more than 30 books, including five which have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. Dr. Schuller has received numerous awards which include the Horatio Alger Award; Freedom Foundation Awards; Clergyman of the Year, presented by Religious Heritage of America; Awards of Excellence for Religion in Media; Peacemaker Awards, plus many more. His board affiliations include: Member of the Guild of Architects of the American Institute of Architects; Board of Counselors of the YMCA; Board of Directors, Horatio Alger Association; Board Member National Council of Christians and Jews; Retinitis Pigmentosa International; Advisory Board of Church Growth International, Seoul, Korea and is Chairman of Churches Uniting in Global Mission. In 1993, he received the Golden Plate Award by the American Academy of Achievement.
...Robert and Arvella Schuller have five children and 17 grandchildren. His only son, Robert Anthony, is also an ordained minister of the Reformed Church in America, and has been announced as Dr. Schuller's successor at the Cathedral.