Pastor Joel Osteen from Houston is in the news again. It is not for his ministry work at Lakewood Church. The reason is for accepting a large sum of government money for his church even though he is worth millions.
Lakewood Church is the largest church in America. They recently paid back $4.4 million in the Paycheck Protection Program. This program was aimed at businesses that requested the money in 2020 during the pandemic.
Last year, Lakewood Church went for months without collecting offerings from church members when the coronavirus kept people home. Church spokesman Donald Iloll said the church did not have the "ability to collect substantial donations."
The loan was used to pay the 368 employees of Lakewood Church, and none of the money went to Joel Osteen.
“Like many organizations temporarily shuttered by the pandemic, this loan provided Lakewood Church short-term financial assistance in 2020 ensuring that its approximately 350 employees and their families would continue to receive a paycheck and full health care benefits,” the church said in a statement to the Houston Chronicle.
When word spread about the loan, Pastor Osteen was slammed for taking the money because of his personal wealth.
Pastor Osteen lives in a six bedroom, six bathroom, $10.5 million dollar mansion with a pool in a wealthy suburb of Houston.
Then articles show Osteen drives a Ferrari that is estimated at $325,000.
Similar reports show Osteen does not own the Ferrari in the picture. So this is not accurate.
For a church pastor, he only lives in an expensive house.
It was reported Osteen received $200,000 a year from Lakewood Church but he no longer accepts a salary.
Joel Osteen becomes the pastor of Lakewood
Joel took over the church when his father passed away in 1999. Since then, he rapidly expanded the church growth, advertisements, and purchasing the old Houston Rockets arena in 2005.
He worked to get the church service on television channels worldwide to over 100 countries.
In 2005, Joel conducted a 15 city tour spreading the message.
Houston flood and closing the church door
After the 2017 flooding in Houston, Osteen faced a lot of heat since the church closed its doors to not let in local residents.
Joel said, “The city set up a shelter about four miles from [Lakewood] that can house 10,000 people…they didn’t need us as a shelter at that point.” He then also denied claims of not being there to support his community by saying, “we’ve been here for 58 years taking care of the community, but social media can be powerful.” When asked if he would change his approach in the event of another tragedy in the city of Houston Joel responded, “in hindsight yes, we’re going to learn from it and move forward and do better next time.”
How much does Joel Osteen make selling books?
In addition to serving as the lead pastor for Lakewood Church, Joel Osteen is a published author of 14 books, several have been best sellers. His 2004 His Best Life Now sold over 100 million copies and was on the bestseller list for 100 weeks.
The Street reported in 2017 that Joel Osteen makes over $70 million a year from publishing his books.
Joel Osteen is a pastor and has made most of his fortune through book deals and public speaking.
Do you think Joel Osteen as a pastor should have a mansion?
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