From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
|Senior pastor(s)||Joel and Victoria Osteen|
|Senior pastor(s)||Joel and Victoria Osteen|
Lakewood Church is a non-denominational Christian megachurch located in Houston, Texas. It is the largest congregation in the United States, averaging more than 43,500 in attendance per week. The 16,800-seat Lakewood Church Central Campus, home to four English language services and two Spanish language services per week, is located at the former Compaq Center. Joel Osteen is the senior pastor of Lakewood Church with his wife, Victoria, who serves as co-pastor. Lakewood Church is evangelical in belief.
Lakewood Church was founded by John Osteen and his second wife, Dodie in 1959 inside an abandoned feed store in northeast Houston. Previously, John Osteen had been a Southern Baptist minister; however, after experiencing a self-described baptism in the Holy Spirit, he withdrew from his Baptist fellowship and began Lakewood Church. From the beginning, Lakewood was non-denominational and racially inclusive. In 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 in 1999 after suffering from a heart attack, his youngest son, Joel, became pastor.
Under the leadership of Joel Osteen, Lakewood's congregation increased almost fivefold. Attendance increased to 30,000 weekly, prompting a move from its location at 7317 East Houston Road to a larger facility. 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. Before being acquired by Lakewood, tenants to the arena, once called The Summit, included the Houston Rockets, the Houston Aeros, and the Houston Comets.
On July 16, 2005, Lakewood Church relocated from its old building in northeast Houston into its new home, a 16,800-seat facility southwest of Downtown Houston along U.S. Highway 59, having twice the capacity of its former sanctuary. The church was required to pay $11.8 million in rent in advance for the first 30 years of the lease, and renovated the new campus at an estimated cost of $75 million.
On March 31, 2010 the Houston City Council voted 13–2 to sell the property to Lakewood for $7.5 million. In November 2011 Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry visited Lakewood. Joel Osteen is going to have a reality TV series. In 2011 Joel and Victoria were sued for $3 Million Dollars. On February 21, 2012 Joel Osteen won the lawsuit. Daniel Alvaro Guzman a former Lakewood Church Volunteer sued Joel Osteen for accusing him of Child molestation. When Backstreet Boys member Brian Littrell was in Houston he visited Lakewood.
Lakewood Church believes that the entire Bible is inspired by God, and the church bases its doctrine in 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:
Lakewood offers different types of ministries, fellowships, and services depending on the age, marital status, and need of its members.
During Sunday services, Pastor Joel, Paul, or Marcos will preach. On Wednesday nights, the associate Pastors or guest speakers will preach.
Even though the membership is very large, members connect through the LifeGroups ministry. This is the cell group version for Lakewood where 8-12 members meet in homes to fellowship, study the Bible in depth, and pray.
Encounters are another way the church leads its members to have a deeper relationship with Christ. During these retreats, members attend a Christian Camp where they pray, worship, and study the Bible, but away from everyday life for 24 hours.
The church provides a variety of ways to grow and learn the Bible. Various classes are offered through the Compass Classes ministry, meeting before and after every weekend service. The mid-week Wednesday night service provides a more in depth Bible study time than the Sunday service, which is geared towards the unsaved.
Other classes offered at Lakewood include those designed for new believers like New Beginnings and Foundations and other life developing classes like Financial classes providing Bible based help in financial situations.
Lakewood provides help to members and non members in various ways. Celebrate Recovery and the Freedom Series offer help classes and fellowship to members who have a need in areas like addictions, hang ups, hurts, sexual issues, and chemical dependency.
Other help is provided to members through counseling by on call Pastors during the week. Prayer is offered during each service or through the prayer line where both members and non members alike can receive help.
Hospital visits and funeral services are also provided to anyone who is in need. Hospital ministers visit with people throughout the Houston area and Texas Medical Center providing prayer and encouragement.
During the history of Lakewood Church, John Osteen served as senior pastor until his death in 1999, when Pastor Joel Osteen became senior pastor.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2010)|
The church's weekly services are broadcast on Trinity Broadcasting Network and Daystar Television Network, as well as local channels in most major US markets. Lakewood also appears on secular networks, such as Fox Network, ABC Family, and USA Network. In 2007, Lakewood reported spending nearly $30 million every year on its television ministry. Osteen's sermons are also televised in more than 100 countries, with an estimated 7 million viewers each week.
Worship leaders include:
In 2002, Lakewood began a large-scale Hispanic ministry, lead by Hispanic Pastor Marcos Witt and his wife, Miriam. Lakewood has two services each week in Spanish in the main auditorium and translates all English services into Spanish. The weekly attendance at the Spanish services is approximately 6,000 people.
The director of the praise and worship of the Hispanic area is Coalo Zamorano, a Christian music leader from Mexico, who in 2007, together with his wife, Lorena Warren, was invited by Marcos Witt to be part of the music ministry of the Hispanic ministry of Lakewood.
Therefore, the leadership in the Hispanic ministry is as follows:
Critics have said that Lakewood Church's ministry under Joel Osteen has de-emphasized traditional Christian teachings regarding the sinful nature of mankind and the need for repentance. Some observers also criticize the absence of traditional religious symbols in the former Compaq Center, such as a cross or altar.