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Joel Osteen Biography

The life of the American televangelist popularly nicknamed The Smiling Preacher is amazing to many Americans, who continued to wonder about the secret behind his success. Joel Osteen is not the regular religious preacher; his style, charisma and soft touch approach to sermons have warmed him to the hearts of many followers. In the same token, many have criticized him for his style of preaching, but despite both criticisms and controversies, his success in the pulpit seems to puzzle his hardest critics. Beyond his pastoral duties, what is the personal life of Joel Osteen, his lifestyle, his wife and family? What his net worth? We bring you the inside information about one of the famous preachers of our time, Joel Osteen; come with us as we unwrap the real story about The Smiling Pastor.

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Who is Joel Osteen?

He is a pastor, an author, and an inspiration to many who follow the Lakewood Church. He is of white ethnic descent and an American national, the son of the renowned pastor and founder of Lakewood Church John Osteen; his mother is Lisa Osteen.

Early life

Born in Houston, Texas USA on 5 March 1963, he was christened Joel Scott Osteen, and grew up one of six siblings – Justin, Tamara, April, Paul and Lisa Osteen. Like other members of the family, he was helping in church activities as a growing child.


Joel attended Humble High School, and matriculated in 1981, then proceeded to the Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma for his college education, studying radio and television communications, however, he didn’t complete this part of his education, leaving the college abruptly to join his dad in church works.

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Joel Osteen Career

After Joel left college, he joined his dad’s church where he initially worked behind the scenes supported by televising the sermons, and did that meritoriously for 17 years until the death of his father, succeeding him as a preacher!

Joel was never formally trained in divinity or underwent formal indoctrination for the job of preaching; in fact, he never took the podium while his father was active. However, he had his only chance at the job on just one occasion when his father could not go on stage due to ill health on 17 January 1999. From that historic day, Joel was inadvertently commissioned to take the place of his father, as John Osteen the founder and lead senior pastor of Lakewood Church transitioned six days afterwards when he suffered a heart attack.

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The events following the demise of his father saw him growing in the spirit, and his style of preaching was a clear departure from his father and orthodox Christian theology. Joel’s sermon and preaching style was simple, upbeat and unassuming, and resonated with the large majority of faithful who felt good and elevated listening to him. Joel changed the beat and rhythm of the Lakewood Church sermons in promoting the goodness of God, a sermon style that earned him the title of prosperity preacher!

After he delivered well-coordinated sermons and attracted more followers with his teachings, he was ordained with the position, and continued to lead the church to greatness as the membership grew quite rapidly from 5000 to 43,000 within a short period, and on 3 October 1999, he was formally installed the senior pastor of Lakewood church.

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The Lakewood Church expansion

With a growing membership and national following of Joel Osteen’s forward-looking church management, the church acquired the Compaq Center, the former home of the Houston Rockets basketball team, and renovated at a cost of $105 million, with a higher capacity of 16,000 seats  in 2003. Upon completion of the renovation, the new nest of the Lakewood Church was officially opened in 2005 with more than 56,000 people and the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, including the US House of Representatives Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi in attendance.

The expansion of the Lakewood Church and the savvy management of Senior Pastor Joel Osteen and dedicated members of the church management attracted more funds from its widely spread church outreaches within the US and overseas. Indeed, the Lakewood church under Joel became one of the most talked about and most followed churches in the US!

His Sermons

Joel’s style of preaching endears him to the hearts of his followers. He chooses to talk more about the goodness of God, and less of what might condemn people and their activities. He wants his listeners to see God as good and always on their side. He encourages positivity and wants people to think well of themselves. He encourages his followers to see life from the bright side and to discard the idea of evil and sin which has plagued our societies for too long. His teachings are about the mercy of God to forgive sins, and save people from troubles.

The Rewards of Integrity

Proverbs 2 says, “God is a shield to those who walk in integrity. He guards their path and watches over them.” There is a blessing on your life that protects you, guards you, because you honor God. When you walk in integrity, you won’t just see God’s favor, you’ll see His protection. He has a shield around you. Click here to listen to, “The Rewards of Integrity”.Video: http://c.osteen.co/VPodcast Audio: http://c.osteen.co/APodcast

Posted by Joel Osteen Ministries on Friday, January 4, 2019

His authorship

Like his preaching, Joel Osteen books are extensions of his sermons, aiming to give people the reality of living a wholesome life in the goodness of God’s mercy. The following are some of the books he authored and published:

  • 2004: “Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at your Full Potential”; hit number 1 on the New York Times Best Selling list;
  • 2007: “Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day”; another New York Times Best Selling book;
  • 2008: “Good, Better, Blessed: Living with Purpose, Power and Passion”;
  • 2009: “Hope for Today Bible”;
  • 2011: Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week;
  • 2012: I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life;
  • 2014: You Can, You Will: 8 Undeniable Qualities of a Winner;
  • 2016: Think Better, Live Better: A Victorious Life Begins in Your Mind;
  • 2017: Blessed in the Darkness: How All Things Are Working for Your Good.


Joel Osteen wedded Victoria IIoff, a co-pastor on 4 April 1987, and the union has produced a son name Jonathan Osteen born on 20 April 1995, and a daughter christened Alexandra Osteen born 9 November 1999. Both graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.


Joel Osteen is not without his fair share of controversies typical of celebrities, but his criticism has a different color due to the sensitive job he does as a preacher of the word of God. One of his major criticisms is his style of preaching, which some people condemn as giving too much prominence to prosperity. Another critique is his departure from the traditional method of preaching by most men of God.

At the height of the controversies that engulfed the Smiling Preacher was the Hurricane Harvey crisis in August 2017, for not making the church available to emergency shelter seekers who were displaced by the storm. However, our finding shows that the Lakewood church itself had its fair share of disaster, and the premises were apparently submerged at the time.

The church also faced a lawsuit from aggrieved parents who fingered it for the injuries their 18-month-old daughter suffered as a result of a dispute in May 2014 at the church; insurance settled the case.

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His Net Worth and Lifestyle

Joel Osteen is listed among the richest pastors in America. His net worth is estimated to be $40 million as of 2017. Joel does what he preaches, and this is exemplified in his luxurious lifestyle. He is among the wealthiest pastors in the US, and according to him “it’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty.” He lives in a $10.5 million house, and owns exotic cars.

Our findings revealed that the talk about Joel Osteen owning a yacht is a rumor, and a part of the controversies to discredit him.

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