Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria are spreading the Christian gospel through their ministry at Lakewood Church in Texas. Building a faithful congregation of over 38,000 people each Sunday would take more than a simple “feel good” theology. Joel Osteen is not only knowledgeable about Jesus Christ, the Bible and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. His ministry is young enough and strong enough to understand the power of television and why his ministry which airs on the Trinity Broadcast Network each week is so important to reaching the world.
After several years of searching for an honest, authentic and uncomplicated faith-based church, I happened upon Joel Osteen’s ministry. He consistently welcomes guests into the fold with genuine love and warmth. Every service opens with him asking his parishoners to “hold up your Bibles” encouraging the flock to recognize the importance of the word and searching the scriptures. “Repeat after me,” he says, “I am what it says I am, I can do what it says I can do,” etc. The beauty of this simple mantra is that he encourages the audience of believers that the word of God, the Gospel, is true and that they can count on the Bible’s promises. With so much cynicism and dissatisfaction in the world today, it is nice to have something and someone who can ground you to the truth of God through God’s own word. He makes the Bible an important part of the sermon.
Each week he opens with a joke. Although women and blondes fall victim periodically (his wife Victoria is a beautiful blonde), it is nice to see such a famous preacher understand the importance of humor in bringing folks together. With such a large congregation in such a large arena, it certainly is helpful that so many can come together in laughter right from the start. Especially when there are so many who may be in attendance because they are hurting or spiritually needy in some way or feeling alone. Each week he ends with an opportunity to “make Jesus a part of your life” and it is nice to see that such calls for Christ are not outdated since this is the essence of teaching and preaching the Gospel lessons.
Their ministry is one of action. I watched Joel Osteen closely through his 60 minutes interview on CBS television. Although grilled by seasoned and hardened long-time professional journalists who know how to manipulate the media, Joel Osteen came across as an extremely loving and compassionate human being. He even shed a tear on camera when speaking about the enormous challenge and responsibility he knew God had given to him with such a gift. I also observed his behavior during the devastating storms and hurricanes which touched his home town area in Houston, Texas, to see if this dislodged his constant cool in any way. Not a chance, he was as optimistic, hopeful and cheerful as ever with full regard to the feelings of others. Finally, I kept a close eye on the recent lawsuit brought against his wife by a disgruntled airline employee who felt that Victoria had discriminated against her in some way. For Joel this must have been terribly trying since he had no control over his wife’s behavior or that of the airline employee. Even so, he stood by faithfully and discreetly while the drama played out, unwavering because he knew and held to the truth and the vindicating power of God – just as he preaches in his sermons every week.
Joel Osteen is the real deal. He is still young and the ministry has grown enormously large in a short period of time. I have no doubt that we shall hear of trials with this young preacher and his congregation. In fact, he apparently is not ignorant of the fact that these storms not only will come, but often preaches on how to best weather them by preparing in advance now. When a minister is ordained and the ministry is under the blessing of God, we see many wonderful things occur. We see and hear a preacher who speaks the truth, quotes scripture like it is indelibly etched on the mind, writes vigorously on topics which bear fruit and please God and who personally behave graciously and humbly. Joel Osteen is spreading the Gospel and when this is done authentically and faithfully, it does make people feel good about themselves as it should.