By Aaron Sseruyigo
American televangelist based in Houston, Texas, Joel Osteen has told media “I am going to stay in my lane and be who God called me to be.”
The 55-year-old was responding to claims that he is more of a motivational or inspirational speaker than a pastor.
“That doesn’t bother me because I want to motivate people to know God – I think my personality is encouraging and it’s maybe motivational. But I want to motivate you to break addictions, to live for God. We all have different gifts,” he told the Christian Post.
“I have friends that are great teachers, I have other ones that speak on prophecy. To me, you got to be who God made you to be. I have been this way before I was a pastor. I was always upbeat and encouraging. That is where your anointing is — is what God made you to be.
“It seems like these days, everybody is trying to make somebody like this or somebody like that. I think that it takes maturity and takes discipline to say, “I am going to stay in my lane and be who God called me to be,” he added.
From a tender age, Osteen’s father encouraged him to preach for many years, but he declined, preferring to work behind the scenes until January 17, 1999, when he accepted his father’s suggestion and he preached his first sermon.
After his father’s death, Osteen began preaching regularly and was later installed as the new senior pastor of Lakewood Church on October 3, 1999. Since then, Lakewood’s attendance has grown from 5,000 to over 43,000.
Would you say it’s fair to consider you a prosperity gospel pastors, the Christian Post asked Osteen.
He responded: “I don’t think so. I don’t fully know what [prosperity gospel] means. I think there is only one Gospel and that is the Gospel that Jesus died and rose again. When I think of prosperity, I think of someone asking for money. I don’t do that,”
Joel Osteen said prosperity is having good health and being able to sleep at night and having good relationships.
“It’s having money to pay our bills and follow your dreams. It is not about wealth and getting rich. That is kind of what I see when I hear “prosperity.” I talk about all types of things. On purpose, I stay away from money [in my sermons] because people already think TV pastors are frauds and all that. I try to stay away from that, but I do believe God wants you to be blessed.
“We couldn’t have [acquired] the Compaq Center if we didn’t have people that God blessed them. I think He wants us to rise higher,” Osteen explained.