Joel Scott Osteen is an American lay preacher, televangelist, businessman, and author who was born on March 5, 1963. He lives in Houston, Texas. Osteen is one of the most well-known people linked with prosperity theology. He is known for his weekly televised services and several best-selling books.
Osteen was born in Houston, Texas. He is one of John Osteen and Dolores (“Dodie”) Pilgrim’s six children. His father, who used to be a Southern Baptist preacher, started Lakewood Church in the back of an old feed store. Osteen is now the senior pastor there.
In 1981, he graduated from Humble High School, a public high school in the city of Humble, Texas. He then went to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to study radio and TV communications, but he did not finish his degree there. In 1982, he moved back to Houston and started Lakewood’s television show. For 17 years, until his father died of a heart attack in January 1999, he produced his father’s televised sermons.
His first speech was given on January 17, 1999. On October 3 of that year, he became the new senior pastor of Lakewood Church. The Houston Rockets of the NBA and the Houston Aeros of the AHL used to play at the Compaq Center, which Lakewood Church bought in 2003 and then fixed up. Osteen says that in 2008, people in more than 100 countries watched Lakewood Church’s weekly TV service.
Osteen was one of the 10 most interesting people named by Barbara Walters in 2006.John McCain, who ran for president in 2008, said Osteen was his favorite motivational book. In 2010, President Barack Obama held an Easter breakfast at the White House. The Osteen family was there.
Style Of Ministering
Osteen plans his speeches and then learns them by heart. He also listens to tapes of his previous speeches People have said that his lectures are all about him and show that he doesn’t know much about the Bible. Osteen says that he chooses to focus more on the goodness of God and on living an obedient life than on sin. He also says that he tries to teach Bible principles in a simple way, with an emphasis on the power of love and a positive mood. In an interview with CBN News, Osteen was asked why he doesn’t talk more about sin, the devil, and hell.
When I grew up, the devil was a reason why I had a headache or the devil was the reason I got mad today. We always blamed the devil. I think today when I say the enemy, I like to make it broader. Sometimes the enemy can be our own thoughts. We’ve trained ourselves the wrong way. Or the enemy can be our own lack of discipline. Some people preach about hell like you’re already going there, and to me the Gospel means “Good News.” I’d rather say God is a God of mercy. So I think the people already know what they’re doing wrong, and I certainly believe in hell. But to me, when I see thousands of people before me, it just doesn’t come out of me to say, “You guys are terrible, and you’re going to hell.” I’d rather say that God is a God of mercy. You’ve got to live an obedient life, but for every mistake you’ve made, there’s mercy there, and I believe we can do better.
Since 2004, Osteen and his wife have put on Night of Hope events in the U.S. and around the world. They also put on a yearly stadium event called “America’s Night of Hope” Contemporary Christian music and encouraging words are used at the event to reach as many people as possible at the place and online. Osteen also held an event called Sunday Service at his Lakewood Church in 2018 with the rapper Kanye West. Reports from the media say that 17,000 people went to the event, and many more watched it online. He also had his Easter service with Mariah Carey and Tyler Perry during COVID-19.
Osteen’s first book, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, came out in October 2004 and went straight to the top of The New York Times Best Seller list.
In October 2007, he put out his second book, Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day. It was also number one on The New York Times Best Seller list, and three million copies were printed on the first run. Osteen has said that the book is more about relationships and how to move forward in life instead of staying where we are.
Osteen has also written more than 18 other books besides these two. See, Book list.
On April 4, 1987, Osteen married Victoria Osteen, whose maiden name was Iloff. Later, Victoria Osteen became a co-pastor at Lakewood Church. They have a girl and a son. In 2002, his older brothers Paul, Lisa, and Tamara, as well as his younger sister April, and half-brother Justin were all involved in full-time ministry.
Osteen and his family live in a home in River Oaks that is 17,000 square feet and is worth about $10.5 million. Osteen says that as senior pastor, he doesn’t get paid by the church, which has a yearly budget of $70 million. Instead, he gets money from selling books.
Thoughts on Politics and Society
Most of the time, Osteen hasn’t talked about or preached about sensitive topics like gay marriage, abortion, and politics. He has said on record that homosexuality is “not God’s best,” and he has said that he thinks the church tends to focus too much on one problem (like homosexuality) and forget about others. When asked if he thought God liked homosexuality, Osteen said that according to his understanding of the Bible, homosexuality is a sin, but that gay people are welcome in his church without being judged.
In an interview on Fox News in 2008, when the Republican Party was running for president, Osteen said that he thought Mormons were Christians when asked if he thought they were or not. He also said that he hadn’t looked into the faith. In 2011, Osteen said in an interview that he backed Israel.
People sometimes criticize Osteen’s sermons and books for pushing “prosperity theology” or “the prosperity gospel,” which is the idea that God wants all good Christians to be rich as a reward for their faith.Critics of the prosperity gospel say that it contradicts the gospel of Mark:
Jesus, looking at the man, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When the man heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
On October 14, 2007, “Joel Osteen Answers His Critics,” a 12-minute segment on Osteen, aired on 60 Minutes. Reformed theologian Michael Horton told CBS News reporter Byron Pitts that Osteen’s message is heresy. Horton said that Osteen’s message is wrong because it makes faith about people instead of God.
Osteen is thought to have a net worth of more than $50 million, and $43 million is given to his church every year. The Houston Chronicle says that Osteen’s church made $89 million in the year that ended in March 2017. More than 90% of that money came from people who went to church, and only 1% of the church’s budget went to charity. Osteen said he didn’t take any help from the pandemic CARES Act, but the U.S. Small Business Administration found that his church got $4.4 million from the fund.