Rev. Schuller was born in Alton, Iowa in 1926. Raised in the Dutch Reformed Church, he graduated from Hope College and Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. In 1950, he became a pastor in Chicago.
In 1955, Rev, Schuller and his wife, Arvella, relocated to Southern California. The couple raised one son and four daughters. They rented space to conduct Sunday morning church services at a drive-in movie theater located just off the Santa Anna Freeway in Orange County. This Garden Grove Community Church grew rapidly in size, and in 1961 moved into a newly constructed church building.
Rev. Schuller was impacted significantly by the writings of another minister, Rev. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. He began focusing in his own sermons on upbeat topics. He opened the Crystal Cathedral in 1980. His televised sermons attracted millions of viewers, and even Paul Mathieson can remember watching. In 1989, he was invited to visit Moscow to preach.
He retired in 2006, and developed esophageal cancer in 2013.