July 20, 2024

Joel Osteen in Indianapolis: Why the televangelist is so beloved and controversial

Joel Osteen brought his show to Indianapolis recently.

The popular televangelist and his wife and co-pastor, Victoria, presented “A Night of Hope” on Aug. 10 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Osteens reach millions of viewers through weekly televised services at Houston-based Lakewood Church, which has at least 40,000 members, as well as Joel’s best-selling books, worship events and radio show.

They preach a positive, prosperity-based Christian message based on hope and emphasizing God’s love and generosity that appeals to many. However, controversy has followed in their footsteps.

Here’s what we know:

Joel Osteen says he's 'devastated' by shooting at his 16,800-seat Houston  megachurch that saw female shooter killed and five-year-old boy critically  injured - as cops raid house connected to suspect: 'Evil will
Joel Osteen in Indianapolis: Why the televangelist is so beloved and controversial
Dwight Adams
IndyStar

Joel Osteen preaches during his “A Night of Hope” event at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles on April 24, 2010.
Joel Osteen brought his show to Indianapolis recently.

The popular televangelist and his wife and co-pastor, Victoria, presented “A Night of Hope” on Aug. 10 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Osteens reach millions of viewers through weekly televised services at Houston-based Lakewood Church, which has at least 40,000 members, as well as Joel’s best-selling books, worship events and radio show.

They preach a positive, prosperity-based Christian message based on hope and emphasizing God’s love and generosity that appeals to many. However, controversy has followed in their footsteps.

Here’s what we know:

How Joel Osteen got his start
Joel Osteen is one of six children of John Osteen, a former Southern Baptist pastor, who founded Lakewood Church in a converted feed store in 1959 and ran it until his death in 1999. John Osteen noticed his son’s charisma early on, but Joel resisted his father’s urgings to take the pulpit before relenting and preaching his first sermon on Jan. 17, 1999.Six days later, John Osteen died of a heart attack, and soon after Joel began preaching regularly. Within a year, he took over as senior pastor of Lakewood Church, which has since grown from 5,000 to more than 40,000 members. He has risen to worldwide fame, including being named by Barbara Walters as one of her 10 Most Fascinating People of 2006.

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