Lakewood Church

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Lakewood Church
Lakewood church.jpg
Location Houston, Texas
Country United States
Denomination Non-denominational, Word of Faith, Charismatic
Weekly attendance 52,000
Website www.lakewoodchurch.com
History
Founded May 10, 1959
Founder(s) John Osteen
Specifications
Capacity 16,800
Clergy
Senior pastor(s) Joel Osteen and Victoria Osteen
Pastor(s) Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff (Worship leader)
Lakewoodchurchlogo.jpg

Lakewood Church is a non-denominational charismatic Christian megachurch located in Houston, Texas, US. It is one of the largest congregations in the United States, averaging about 52,000 attendees per week.[1] The 16,800-seat Lakewood Church Central Campus, home to four English-language services and two Spanish-language services per week,[2] is located at the former Compaq Center.[3] Joel Osteen is the senior pastor of Lakewood Church with his wife, Victoria, who serves as co-pastor. Lakewood Church is nondenominational (not affiliated), while the leadership may be considered part of the Word of Faith movement.[4]

History[edit]

Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, December 8, 2007

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.[4] 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.

In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison caused flooding in the Houston area. Lakewood church was opened as a shelter to approximately 5,000 displaced persons.[5][6][7]

Under Joel Osteen, Lakewood's congregation increased almost fivefold.[8] Attendance increased to 30,000 weekly, prompting a move from its location at 7317 East Houston Road[9][10] to a larger facility.[3] 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.[11]

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.[3][12] The church was required to pay $11.8 million in rent in advance for the first 30 years of the lease.[11] Lakewood renovated the new campus at an estimated cost of $100 million.[8]

On March 31, 2010, the Houston City Council voted 13–2 to sell the property to Lakewood for $7.5 million.[13]

Beliefs[edit]

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 as a symbol and 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.[14]

Lakewood Church is known for its Word of Faith teaching.[4]

Church organization[edit]

Lakewood offers different types of ministries, fellowships, and services depending on the age, marital status, and need of its members.

Services[edit]

  • 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.

Learning[edit]

Various classes are offered through the Compass Classes ministry, meeting before and after weekend services.[15]

Television[edit]

Interior

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.[16] Osteen's sermons are also televised in more than 100 countries, with an estimated 7 million viewers each week.[17] Lakewood also hosts a Night of Hope every month. This is when the church hosts a Christian service event in one of the arenas or stadiums all across America.

Hispanic ministry[edit]

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.[18][19]

Criticism[edit]

Prosperity gospel[edit]

Osteen's sermons and writings are sometimes noted for promoting prosperity theology, or the prosperity gospel, a belief that material gain is a reward for pious Christians.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26] However, when asked if he is a prosperity teacher, Osteen responded that if prosperity means God wants people to be blessed and healthy and have good relationships, then he considers himself a prosperity teacher, but if it is about money, he does not. He has specifically stated that he never preaches about money because of the reputation of televangelists.[27] In an interview with The Christian Post on April 21, 2013, Osteen expressed his sentiments on being perceived as being part of the prosperity gospel. "I get grouped into the prosperity gospel and I never think it's fair, but it's just what it is. I think prosperity, and I've said it 1,000 times, it's being healthy, it's having great children, it's having peace of mind. Money is part of it; and yes, I believe God wants us to excel ... to be blessed so we can be a bigger blessing to others. I feel very rewarded. I wrote a book and sold millions of copies; and Victoria and I were able to help more people than we ever dreamed of. But when I hear the term prosperity gospel, I think people are sometimes saying, 'Well, he's just asking for money'."[28] On October 14, 2007, 60 Minutes ran a twelve-minute segment on Osteen, titled "Joel Osteen Answers his Critics", during which Reformed theologian Michael Horton told CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts that Osteen's message is heresy. Horton stated that the problem with Osteen's message is that it makes religion about us instead of about God.[29]

Hurricane Harvey response[edit]

During the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Osteen received significant criticism in response to not making Lakewood Church, a 606,000 sq. ft.,16,000 seat, former basketball arena, available as an emergency shelter for those displaced by the storm.[30][31][32][33][34] On August 27th, posts from the church and a Lakewood Church associate pastor's social media accounts stated that the church was "inaccessible due to severe flooding," and associate pastor John Gray posting further, "If WE could get there WE WOULD OPEN THE DOORS."[35][36] In a subsequent interview, Osteen countered the claim that flood waters closed the church, saying "the church has been open from the beginning," and, "We’ve always been open … How this notion got started, that we’re not a shelter and we’re not taking people in is a false narrative.”[34][37] This contradicted his earlier statement that the church would open when other refugee centers were full.[34][38][39] On the evening of August 28th, it was announced by Lakewood that it would open at noon the next day as an available shelter, opening to storm victims and emergency personnel on August 29.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church Ranked America's Largest Megachurch With 52,000 Weekly Attendance". christianpost.com. 
  2. ^ "Services". Lakewood Church. 
  3. ^ a b c "America's largest church opens in former arena". USA Today. July 14, 2005. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  4. ^ a b c Conser Jr, Walter H.; Rodger M. Payne, eds. (2008). Southern Crossroads:Perspectives on Religion and Culture. The University Press of Kentucky. pp. 67–68. ISBN 978-0-8131-2494-0. 
  5. ^ "Joel Osteen's Houston megachurch opens doors as shelter". Denver Post. Associated Press. August 29, 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  6. ^ "Faithful return to Houston church to worship and to help storm's refugees". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Associated Press. June 18, 2001. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  7. ^ Kuzydym, Stephanie; Phillips, Kristine (August 30, 2017). "Joel Osteen calls claim he shut church doors on Harvey victims 'a false narrative'". Washington Post. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "Nation’s largest church opens in stadium". MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  9. ^ "Contact Information." Lakewood Church. October 18, 2000. Retrieved on April 8, 2009.
  10. ^ "Contact Us." Lakewood Church. June 23, 2003.
  11. ^ a b Pristin, Terry (March 10, 2004). "A Sports Arena Gets Religion". New York Times. Archived from the original on April 24, 2009. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  12. ^ Lonsway, Brian. “Spiritual Summit.” The Houston Journal of Architecture. 74 (2008): 14–19.
  13. ^ Bradley Olson and Moises Mendoza. "City Council OKs sale of ex-Compaq to Lakewood." Houston Chronicle. March 31, 2010.
  14. ^ "What We Believe". Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  15. ^ Compass Bible Studies Archived 2010-06-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "Interview: Joel Osteen on the Future of America's Churches and Him Pastoring One". The Christian Post. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  17. ^ "No Politics From This Pulpit". Newsweek. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  18. ^ "Horario de servicios". Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "Marcos Witt". Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  20. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph (March 30, 2006). "Joel Osteen's Credo: Eliminate the Negative, Accentuate Prosperity". The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Transcript: Pastor Joel Osteen on 'FNS'". FOX News. 2007-12-23. Retrieved 2011-05-13. Now, as with most successful people, you have critics who say that what you offer is gospel 'lite,' the prosperity gospel. 
  22. ^ Stephen Brooks (2013). American Exceptionalism in the Age of Obama. p. 51. ... Joel Osteen and T. D. Jakes, the most prominent contemporary messengers of the prosperity gospel ... 
  23. ^ "Does God Want You to Be Rich?". Time. September 10, 2006. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 'Does God want us to be rich?' [Osteen] asks. 'When I hear that word rich, I think people say, 'Well, he's preaching that everybody's going to be a millionaire.' I don't think that's it.' Rather, [Osteen] explains, 'I preach that anybody can improve their lives. I think God wants us to be prosperous. I think he wants us to be happy. To me, you need to have money to pay your bills. I think God wants us to send our kids to college. I think he wants us to be a blessing to other people. But I don't think I'd say God wants us to be rich. It's all relative, isn't it?' ... 
  24. ^ Cathleen Falsani. "The Prosperity Gospel". Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-03-19. 'God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us,' Osteen wrote in a 2005 letter .... 
  25. ^ "Meet the Prosperity Preacher". Business Week. May 23, 2005. Retrieved March 19, 2015. Osteen is also a leading proponent of what is sometimes called the 'prosperity gospel', which teaches that God wants people to prosper in all areas of their lives – including material success. 
  26. ^ Pastor Rick Henderson, The False Promise of the Prosperity Gospel: Why I Called Out Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer, The Huffington Post, 2013.08.21
  27. ^ "Joel Osteen: The Man Behind America's Largest Church". CBN.com. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Interview: Joel Osteen on Life, Tragedy and Why He Shuns 'Prosperity Gospel' Label". Christian Post. 
  29. ^ "Joel Osteen Answers his Critics". CBS News 60 Minutes. 2007-10-14. Retrieved 2011-05-13. 
  30. ^ Kuzydym, Stephanie (August 30, 2017). "Joel Osteen calls claim he shut church doors on Harvey victims ‘a false narrative’". Washington Post. Retrieved September 8, 2017. 
  31. ^ Bromwich, Jonah Engel (August 29, 2017). "Joel Osteen Says Lakewood Church Is Open to Harvey Victims After Criticism". New York Times. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  32. ^ Sinclair, Harriet (August 8, 2017). "Is Joel Osteen's megachurch too flooded to help hurricane Harvey victims?". Newsweek. Retrieved September 8, 2017. 
  33. ^ Associated Press (August 29, 2017). "After criticism, televangelist Joel Osteen denies closing Houston megachurch to people seeking shelter". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 8, 2017. 
  34. ^ a b c d Kuzydym, Stephanie; Phillips, Christine (August 30, 2017). "Joel Osteen pushes back against accusations he closed his megachurch to Harvey victims". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 30, 2017. 
  35. ^ "Joel Osteen's megachurch blasted for lack of outreach during Houston flooding". Fox 13 News. August 29, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2017. 
  36. ^ "Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch opens doors as shelter after pastor slammed by critics". Redlands Daily Facts. 2017-08-29. Retrieved 2017-09-09. 
  37. ^ https://www.facebook.com/kristineaguerra. "Joel Osteen calls claim he shut church doors on Harvey victims ‘a false narrative’". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-09-09. 
  38. ^ Metro.co.uk, Oliver McAteer for (2017-08-29). "Pastor opens his megachurch for shelter after video showing it empty". Metro. Retrieved 2017-09-09. 
  39. ^ Prince, S.J. (2017-08-29). "PHOTO: Joel Osteen’s Wikipedia Trolled Over Church’s Response to Hurricane Harvey". Heavy.com. Retrieved 2017-09-09. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°43′48″N 95°26′4″W / 29.73000°N 95.43444°W / 29.73000; -95.43444