|Denomination||Non-denominational, Word of Faith, Charismatic|
|Founded||May 10, 1959|
|Senior pastor(s)||Joel Osteen and Victoria Osteen|
Lakewood Church is a nondenominational charismatic Christian megachurch located in Houston, Texas. It is the largest congregation in the United States, averaging about 52,000 attendees per week. The 16,800-seat Lakewood Church Central Campus, home to four English-language services and two Spanish-language services per week, is located at the former Compaq Center. Joel Osteen is the senior pastor of Lakewood Church with his wife, Victoria, who serves as co-pastor. Lakewood Church is a part of the Word of Faith movement.
Lakewood Church was founded by John Osteen and his second wife, Dolores (Dodie) on Mother's Day, May 10, 1959, inside an abandoned feed store in northeast Houston. John was a Southern Baptist minister, but after experiencing baptism in the Holy Spirit, he founded Lakewood as a church for charismatic Baptists. The church soon dropped "Baptist" from its name and became non-denominational. From the beginning, Lakewood has been racially inclusive. By 1979, attendance was over five thousand, and the church was becoming prominent among Pentecostals and Charismatics. John and Dodie created and hosted Lakewood's weekly television program, which could be seen in 100 countries worldwide. Upon John Osteen's death of a heart attack January 23, 1999, his youngest son, Joel Osteen, became the pastor.
Under Joel Osteen, Lakewood's congregation increased almost fivefold. Attendance increased to 30,000 weekly, prompting a move from its location at 7317 East Houston Road to a larger facility. In late 2003, the church signed a long-term lease with the city of Houston to acquire the Compaq Center, a 29-year-old former sports arena.
Lakewood Church relocated to the Compaq Center on July 16, 2005. It is a 16,800-seat facility in southwest downtown Houston along U.S. Highway 59, that has twice the capacity of its former sanctuary. The church was required to pay $11.8 million in rent in advance for the first 30 years of the lease. Lakewood renovated the new campus at an estimated cost of $75 million.
On March 31, 2010, the Houston City Council voted 13–2 to sell the property to Lakewood for $7.5 million.
Lakewood Church believes that the entire Bible is inspired by God, and the church bases its teachings on this belief. The church also holds in account the belief in the Trinity, as well as the recognition of the death of Christ on the cross and resurrection.
From the commands found in the Bible, the church practices the following:
- Salvation: Each service offers an Altar call at the end in order for people to accept Christ as Lord and Savior.
- Water Baptism: The church believes the bible asks for this symbol as a testimony to faith in Jesus Christ – in his cleansing power through his shedding of blood on the cross for us. Baptism is practiced every Saturday night in the church's Chapel.
- Communion: The church believes the Bible asks for this act of remembering what Jesus did on the cross. It is offered once a month.
- Growing Relationship with Jesus Christ: Lakewood believes that every believer should be in a growing relationship with Jesus by obeying God's Word, yielding to the Holy Spirit and by being conformed to the image of Christ.
Lakewood offers different types of ministries, fellowships, and services depending on the age, marital status, and need of its members.
- Kidslife: Children
- Lakewood Middle School: Middle School Students
- Lakewood Youth: High School Students
- Main Service: All Adults
- Lakewood Young Adults: In-college and Post-college Young Adults
During Weekend services, Joel Osteen, Victoria Osteen, John Gray or Danilo Montero preach. On Sunday nights, Nick Nilson or John Gray preach. On Wednesday nights, the Associate Pastors John Gray, Paul Osteen, Lisa Osteen Comes, or guest speakers preach.
Various classes are offered through the Compass Classes ministry, meeting before and after weekend services.
The church's weekly services are broadcast on Trinity Broadcasting Network and Daystar Television Network, as well as local channels in most major U.S. markets. Lakewood also appears on secular networks, such as Fox Network, Freeform, and USA Network. In 2007, Lakewood reported spending nearly $30 million every year on its television ministry. Osteen's sermons are also televised in more than 100 countries, with an estimated 7 million viewers each week.
In 2002, Lakewood began a Hispanic ministry, Iglesia Lakewood, founded by Hispanic Pastor Marcos Witt and his wife, Miriam Witt. In September 2012, Danilo and Gloriana Montero assumed the role of associate pastors for the Hispanic ministry. Lakewood has two services each week in Spanish and translates all English services into Spanish. The weekly attendance at the Spanish services is approximately 6,000 people.
- List of the largest evangelical megachurches
- List of the largest churches in the USA
- Christianity in Houston
- Worship leaders
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- "What We Believe". Retrieved 20 September 2014.
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- "Interview: Joel Osteen on the Future of America's Churches and Him Pastoring One". The Christian Post. Retrieved 2007-02-25.
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- "Horario de servicios". Retrieved 20 September 2014.
- "Marcos Witt". Retrieved 20 September 2014.
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