What would you do with the Crystal Cathedral?

The Crystal Cathedral is up for sale and I just heard that someone bought it for $46 million.

Dang! Maybe some emerging church out there should have bought the 40 acre campus and recycled it into something useful. Although if Randall Balmer is correct in saying that passing on a huge unsustainable megachurch is a generational problem, then it might take a bit of imagination.

But hey – its worth a shot. Let me ask you, since you are young and free.

What would you do with the Crystal Cathedral?

Off the top of my head, I can think of a few things that could be done to transform the Cathedral into a kick-butt emerging church or, even better, a contemporary monastery.

450px Crystal Cathedral on edge

1. Dig up the parking lots, add soil and reticulation and plant stuff that is green and organic. Salad anyone? Yum! Sell the surplus at the famers market and to restaurants and generate some income. Sustainability, anyone??? Need a greenhouse for the seedlings? No problem. The whole church is a flippin’ greenhouse!

2. The interior is huge and just crying for an adventure playground. Add climbing walls, tarzan swings and flying foxes. Dress up as Quasimodo and invite your friends.

CrystalCathedralCover web

3. Pull the pipe organ apart and rearrange it into a whisky distillery. Hmmmmm. And that leftover wood will make a great bar.

4. Turn every second pew into a table. Much better to watch movies when you are eating pizza. Invite the neighbours.

5. ┬áBaptismal. Crystal Cathedral is where the famous Evel Knievel was baptised. You are probably thinking of adding extra heaters and making it into California’s largest jacuzzi. Unfortunately, this church is more of a sprinkling church (like the Lutherans) than a dunking church (like the Baptists) and I don’t think they even have a decent baptismal. Better knock off million from the price.

6. The foyer is huge. What about some temporary shelter for the homeless and potential earthquake shelter should it happen. Social enterprise center?

Anyway, what do you guys think. What would you do with the Crystal Cathedral?

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

14 Comments

  • That place is a giant green house, maybe a mini rain forest inside, that would create it’s own climate…
    The monastery idea is great, and welcoming the homeless could be part of the work for sure, and everyone would be welcome to fruit and veg from the newly created garden in exchange for working on the land there.
    Then looking at the potential for amazing light shows using all that glass, great backdrop for an outdoor concert…
    As for the inside, there must be room for a pool too…

  • i would definitely keep the organ. the problem would only be how to protect it from the humidity of the pool and the rain forest. and how to find someone who could play it.

  • A sad tribute to American, modern Christianity. I would make it into a museum so that other mega churches might see their final resting place and so we can learn for our mistakes. Many churches used this chuch as a model for church growth. Even Bill Hybels pointed to things he learned from the growth here. Millions and millions for a house of God that could not hold God anyway.

  • Yes!!! A museum of church building history that shows the stark contrast between the meaning of God’s church as ekklesia vs. the sorry man-made imitation.

  • Years ago in Lansing, Illinois there was an establishment called “Pipes and Pizza” (or something like that), where customers were entertained by someone playing an elaborate pipe organ while eating pizza. Maybe someone could revive that concept.

  • I remember one like that in POrtland, OR called The Organ Grinder. The pizza sucked but the organ was really fun, especially when bubbles came out of the top.

  • An earthquake shelter in a building made of glass?
    I always thought it would make a great college for window washers…or maybe a post rapture used car dealership for those left behind…

  • As if you have the real gospel…you sound just like them, just coming from a different arrogance.

  • Now that is funny. But do you think any good came from this church? I do. It is sad to see this happen. But they did great things for many years, and I do believe God was glorified at many points along their journey.

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