Joel Osteen is a native Texan and the Pastor of Lakewood Church, which according to Church Growth Today is America's largest and fastest growing church with over 38,000 attendees. On July 16, 2005 after completing $95 million dollars in renovations, Joel moved Lakewood Church into its new 16,000... show more
Joel Osteen is a native Texan and the Pastor of Lakewood Church, which according to Church Growth Today is America's largest and fastest growing church with over 38,000 attendees. On July 16, 2005 after completing $95 million dollars in renovations, Joel moved Lakewood Church into its new 16,000 seat home -- the former Compaq Center which is now the largest regularly-used worship center in the United States. According to Nielsen Media Research, Joel is the most watched inspirational figure in America. His weekly sermon is broadcast into television markets across the U.S. where it is viewed by seven million Americans each week and more than 20 million each month. His weekly broadcast is also seen in almost 100 nations around the world. In 2004 his first book, Your Best Life Now was released by Time Warner debuting at the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List and quickly rising to #1. It remained on the New York Times Bestseller for more than 2 years and has sold more than 4 million copies. Most recently, Joel was named as one of Barbara Walters' "10 Most Fascinating People of 2006" and he was selected as the "Most Influential Christian in 2006" by the readers of Church Report Magazine. The son of John Osteen -- a highly respected minister of the Gospel and the founder of Lakewood Church -- Joel attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he studied radio and television communications. In 1982, Joel returned to Houston and founded Lakewood's television ministry where he produced John Osteen's televised sermons for 17 years until January 1999 when his father passed away. For many years John Osteen encouraged Joel to preach, but he always declined preferring to work behind the scenes. In early 1999, Joel felt compelled to accept his father's invitation and he preached his first sermon on January 17th of that year. Little did anyone know that would be the last Sunday of John Osteen's life. Two weeks later Joel began preaching and later that year was installed as the new Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church. Almost immediately, weekly attendance began to grow at an extraordinary rate and, in 2005 Joel moved Lakewood Church into its present location, the former Compaq Center, a 16,000 seat arena that was once home to the Houston Rockets professional basketball team. Now, with his wife Victoria and the leadership staff of Lakewood, this innovative church is poised for the new millennium. Joel's extraordinary success can be found in his core message: That our God is a good God who desires to bless those who are obedient and faithful to Him through Jesus Christ. It is Joel's deepest desire that his own life be an example of that principle and that everyone who hears this message of hope and encouragement would choose to accept God's goodness and mercy and to become all that God wants them to be.