Houston, TX

Televangelist Joel Osteen baptizes more than 1,000 in a four-hour ceremony

Margaret Minnicks

The pandemic kept pastor and televangelist Joel Osteen from baptizing people at his Lakewood Church in downtown Houston, Texas with a weekly attendance of 43,500. No baptism had taken place at the megachurch in over two years until Saturday, September 10, 2022. Needless to say, the number of candidates for baptism had piled up because the event had been delayed for so long. More than 1,000 people were baptized during a four-hour ceremony. During normal circumstances, the number is much fewer, and the ceremony is much shorter.

About baptism

Baptism is one of the ordinances of the Christian church. In evangelical congregations, such as Lakewood, believers are usually immersed in water. That type of baptism follows the way Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, according to Matthew 3:13-17.

Those who were baptized were not only people from the Houston area. According to a spokeswoman for Lakewood Church, people traveled from 29 states to be baptized. The 1,000 number included 800 who were waiting to be baptized before the height of the pandemic. The remaining number occurred during the pandemic until televangelist Osteen deemed it safe to baptize again.

The long event was live-streamed so family members could witness the event from afar. The head of the megachurch was helped by another person to immerse every believer in the act of baptism. Many people jumped out of the water in jubilation from their experience as is seen in the above photo.

Reaction to the large number

Nick Nilson, one of the associate pastors at Lakewood, told The Washington Times in an email, “It is truly incredible and humbling to see so many people make this public declaration of their decision to follow Christ. It’s a moment they will never forget.

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