Mega-pastor Joel Osteen may not know theology very well, but he sure knows how to rake in the bucks. To put it another way, Osteen is an expert at getting your down-on-their-luck relatives to hand over their money to his “ministry.” The proof is in the pudding, so they say, because the Houston Chronicle is reporting that Lakewood Church’s annual budget is around 90 million dollars a year.
Lakewood Church’s fiscal budget was revealed during the newspaper’s series titled “The Preacher’s Son.” The series “explores the origins and spectacular growth of Houston’s Lakewood Church under pastor Joel Osteen.” However, the Chronicle and writer Katherine Blunt decided to run a separate piece breaking down the church’s budget.
According to the article, here’s a rough breakdown of how Lakewood Church uses that 90 million dollar budget:
- Weekly services and programs: $31.7 million
- Night of Hope events: $6.7 million
- TV ministry: $25.1 million
- General and administrative: $11.5 million
- Fundraising: $11.9 million
- Mission and outreach: $1.2 million
There are two related things that I find sad, albeit not surprising, about how Osteen and company spend their many millions. Most of that big pile of money is spent on furthering Osteen’s brand while a tiny fraction of it is spent on evangelizing the lost. And by a tiny fraction, I mean just a bit over 1 percent.
With 90 million dollars at their disposal, it’s disgusting that a church that professes to believe and teach the Bible only manages to give 1.2 million dollars to missions and outreach.
Before ascending back to heaven, Jesus’ final earthly command to his disciples was to go and preach the gospel and make more disciples. Lakewood Church’s budget proves that Osteen’s priorities are not Jesus’ priorities. When looking at the budget, and while that measly 1.2 million dollars for missions and outreach is staring at you, it’s nigh unto impossible to deny that Osteen is more concerned about Osteen than he is about seeing lost souls saved. As the Houston Chronicle pointed out in another article,
Lakewood Church is a sophisticated business enterprise. That’s been a big part of Osteen’s success: his adept use of corporate-style marketing and brand-building. His message is available on almost every possible platform – TV, radio, social media, books, magazines, merchandise. Even more striking is the size of the market for this product. It’s a simple philosophy with a very diverse appeal.
To be clear, when the Houston Chronicle refers to Osteen’s “message,” they’re not talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ that reveals how lost sinners can be reconciled back to their Creator God by repenting of their sins and placing their faith in Jesus. No, by Osteen’s “message” the Chronicle is referring to his prosperity gospel that takes advantage of hurting people.
God hasn’t called His people to live their best life now. He’s called His people to take up their cross and follow Jesus, expecting persecution and hardship. On the final day of the Lord when Jesus returns, that’s when Christians’ “best life now” will begin.
Lakewood Church’s budget is further proof that Joel Osteen is a wolf preying on Christians. His concern is for his brand and making sure the show goes on. Pouring money into reaching lost sinners around the globe is barely a blip on Osteen’s radar as evidenced by the amount of money allocated to missions.
Our first parents Adam and Eve failed to run from the first false prophet named Satan in the Garden of Eden. Christians should be warning people to run from Joel Osteen, who is one of Satan’s most successful false prophets.