Joel Osteen is currently the pastor of America's largest church, Lakewood Church, located in Houston, Texas. Joel was born to John Osteen, who with his wife Dodie founded Lakewood Church on Mother's Day 1959. Although the church began with a small number of people, it was never small in its vision to reach the world with the gospel. Today, pastor Joel Osteen continues to pursue the large vision the church has always had through pastoring the nearly 30,000 regular attendees at Lakewood, preaching to hundreds of millions throughout the world through television, supporting hundreds of missionaries throughout the world, feeding the poor, clothing the naked, and holding widely attended meetings through Joel Osteen Ministries.
Joel Osteen is the youngest of four children. He has an older brother, Paul, and two older sisters, Lisa and April. After graduating from high school, Joel Osteen attended Oral Roberts University. However, after his first semester he moved back to Houston. In Houston, he soon discovered what would occupy his time for the next 17 years, working side by side with his father on Lakewood's television ministry. Through the help of Joel Osteen, the television ministry grew dramatically and reached millions. However, in 1999 John Osteen died, leaving Lakewood without its founding pastor.
With the founding pastor gone, many wondered how Lakewood church and its successful television ministry would continue. On October 3, 1999, Joel Osteen became the pastor of Lakewood. Under pastor Joel Osteen's direction, the whole concept of church has changed. Through the slogan "Discovering the Champion in You" and an emphasis on a loving God with a positive message of hope, restoration, and healing, Joel Osteen has seen dramatic spiritual and numeric growth in Lakewood. The church has had to add three services and is still quickly outgrowing its 7,800 seat sanctuary.
To accommodate the incredible growth in attendance, in late 2003, Joel Osteen and Lakewood leased the Compaq Center (former home of the Houston Rockets basketball team) for over 10 million dollars. The building, which is located on one of the busiest intersections in America and seats over 16,000 people, underwent 95+ million dollars of renovations to become the Lakewood International Center which opened July 16, 2005.
In addition to Lakewood's growth and incredible spiritual impact on the city of Houston, Joel Osteen's television ministry has also experienced exponential growth. Joel's television program is available to over 225 million people in America alone, and that number is regularly increasing. As a response to Joel Osten's incredible growth and popularity, in July 2004, Joel Osteen Ministries began traveling to cities across America and holding "An Evening With Joel Osteen." As the Joel Osteen tour has swept across America, he has again presented the message of love, hope, and encouragement found in Jesus Christ.
Thousands have accepted Christ as Savior and thousands more have recommitted their lives to Christ as a result of "An Evening With Joel Osteen." Even more impressive is the fact that in 2003 alone, over 18,000 people walked down the isles of Lakewood to publicly accept Christ as Savior or rededicated their lives to Christ.
Joel Osteen's first book, Your Best Life Now, was released in late 2004 and contains seven steps to living at your full potential.
Christ Notes is not affiliated with or sponsored by Joel Osteen Ministries or Lakewood Church. For the official website of those organizations, see: www.joelosteen.com and www.lakewood.cc.