July 20, 2024

EXCLUSIVE: Joel Osteen admits he got emotional at Lakewood Church’s reopening

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — In an exclusive interview with ABC13’s Melanie Lawson, Pastor Joel Osteen admits he got emotional on Sunday after seeing so many people come back to Lakewood for its first service open to members.

Lakewood Church, the mega-chapel in Houston that can hold as many as 16,800 people, opened to worshipers.

The congregation led by Osteen was limited to 25% capacity, or about 4,200 people.

Osteen’s church, like many others across the Houston area, has led online worship on Sundays since the onset of the pandemic.

The church memorably held its Easter worship event with Osteen, other worship leaders, and Lakewood’s musicians in the empty chapel, along with a prerecorded performance by artists including Mariah Carey.

Osteen said it’s been tough preaching to an empty sanctuary during the pandemic. In the video above, Osteen shares how the church has grown since the pandemic and much more.

READ MORE:Pastor Joel Osteen breaks down in tears as he tells congregation $100m loan to convert NBA stadium into Texas megachurch has been paid off after just 19 years: ‘It’s because of your faithfulness’

Megachurch pastor Joel Osteen has paid off a $100 million loan for renovations at  his church in just 19 years with donations thanks to his congregation’s ‘faithfulness’.

Osteen burst into tears as he ripped up the loan agreement on Sunday during a service at the 17,000 seat NBA stadium turned church in Houston, Texas.

He has led the non-denominational Lakewood Church, popular with celebrities including Kanye West, for over 20 years and has grown the congregation to over 50,000 people, with some 200 million viewers tuning in online each week.

The pastor – who is estimated to have a personal net worth of over $40 million – has provoked controversy in the past for taking a $4.4 million government Covid loan and initially refusing to let victims of Hurricane Harvey shelter in his church.

He has also been criticized for his extravagant lifestyle and palatial home, which was recently valued at $14 million, but he defends his wealth, once saying: ‘We just feel like this is God’s blessings.’

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