Over 7 million viewers weekly, more than 20 million monthly, in over 100 countries across the globe tune in to listen to American preacher, televangelist and author Joel Osteen who has touched many lives with his sermons.
Regardless of his past battle with stage fright, Osteen now has a successful career as a preacher as well as seven New York Times Best Sellers under his belt.
Joel Osteen Bio, How He Began
Joel Scott Osteen was born in Houston Texas on March 5, 1963. His father was John Osteen, a preacher who founded the Lakewood church in the back of an old feed store. He attended the Oral Roberts University, Oklahoma to study radio and television communications but did not graduate. Subsequently, he returned home to Texas and began televising his father’s sermons through the Lakewood television program which he founded.
At the time, Osteen had a phobia for public speaking and only worked behind the scenes of the televised program, however, he preached his first sermon on 17 January 1999 after receiving much encouragement from his father. His dad died about a week later and in October 1999 he was made the new Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church.
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He has since expanded the church and TV ministry. The church attendance which was 5,000 grew under his leadership to over 40,000 and is still growing. The church broadcast has also grown and can be viewed in more than 100 countries. It receives over 7 million views every week. Also, the podcasts and video messages available free online have been downloaded over a million times. Today, Lakewood Church is the largest Protestant church in the whole of the US.
In 2003, the Compaq Center originally called The Summit and formerly used frequently for multipurpose sports activity was leased out to the church. The church put it under a $105 million renovation to expand its capacity. In 2010, the church officially bought the entire building for $7.5 million.
Joel Osteen has also penned over 10 books 5 of which are NYT bestsellers. The first “Your Best Life Is Now” (2004) quickly made the list of bestsellers and remained on there for over 200 weeks. Other bestsellers under his belt include “Become A Better You” and “I Declare”.
He forfeited his $200,000 salary from the church since 2005, after his first book became a best seller. The televangelist lives off the sales of his books which have so far brought in over $55 million.
Osteen has been described as a fascinating person by Barbara Walters. His ministry has also been described as the most inspiring in the US. Republican John McCain described Joel as his favorite inspirational author.
According to Osteen, it’s better to focus more on the goodness of God and on living an obedient life rather than paying attention to sin. Hence, he does not discriminate against homosexuals who are welcome to worship in his church. Notwithstanding, while he’s not homophobic, Osteen has publicly admitted that homosexuality is a sin according to the Scripture.
Joel Osteen’s Income, House, Cars
The Lakewood church which has an annual budget of $70 million is actively involved in philanthropy. They have donated millions to feed hungry people, supply medics and to cater for abandoned teens and children.
Due to his perception of life and prosperity, Osteen spares nothing when it comes to living a life of luxury with a fancy fleet of cars and a befitting mansion to go with them. The preacher and his family live in a 17,000 square-foot mansion worth $10.5 million in River Oaks. His former home is worth $2.9 million.
Joel Osteen has been criticized for his wealth and has been dubbed a “prosperity preacher”. He has responded severally to correct the false notion. Similarly, during a 2013 interview with Christian Post, the smiling preacher said prosperity does not always mean having tons of money but also includes being healthy, having great children, peace of mind and more. He, however, admitted that money is part of it and that God wants us to excel and be rewarded in whatever we do. Osteen’s wealth is estimated at $40 million.
Joel Osteen Family, Wife, Divorce Rumours
The preacher met his wife, Victoria, at a jewelry store and their first date was at the church he now pastors with her.
The couple got married on April 4, 1987. They have a son – Jonathan and daughter – Alexandra. For now, there’s no confirmation that his son will follow in his footsteps. Also involved in full-time ministry work are Osteen’s older siblings, Paul, Lisa, and Tamara, and his younger sister, April. His half-brother Justin who is based in New York also does missionary work.
Osteen and his wife have been married since 1987 without making their personal life a public affair. While much details about their private lives are not open for public scrutiny, the preacher and his wife are reportedly happily married. For what it’s worth, there haven’t been any concrete divorce rumors or an extra-marital affair plaguing the family. They are still together and still enjoying their happily ever after.