Churches have always been tasked with bringing the word of God to the masses. Megachurches are the logical endpoint of that line of thought, and there are few churches more mega than Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church. As the Indianapolis Star tells us, Osteen is a charismatic televangelist who took over the non-denominational Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, from his father, John. Young Joel was initially reluctant to join the family business, but his Southern Baptist dad managed to persuade him to give preaching a go in 1999 … and passed away just six days later, leaving Osteen in charge.
And take charge he did. By 2003, Lakewood Church moved its operations to the Compaq Center, the former home of Houston Rockets. The massive arena church started hosting televised services, through which Osteen reaches millions of viewers on a weekly basis. These days, Lakewood Church boasts over 40,000 members. Osteen also tours the nation with his “A Night of Hope” worship events, and has written several best-selling books.
Now, the world has seen more than its share of televangelists who have been anything but holy. Compared to some of them, Osteen has managed to keep himself relatively free of scandals and suspicious antics. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone considers him to be squeaky clean. Osteen certainly has plenty of critics, who have been quick to point out that the powerful preacher man is not without his controversies. Today, we’ll take a look at the troubled history of Joel Osteen.