Osteen was born in Houston, Texas, and is one of six children of John Osteen and Dolores Pilgrim. His father, a former Southern Baptist pastor, founded Lakewood Church, of which Osteen is the current senior pastor, in the back of an old feed store. Osteen attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he studied radio and television communications, but did not graduate and did not receive a degree from a divinity school. In 1982, he returned to Houston and founded Lakewood's television program, where he produced his father's televised sermons for 17 years until January 1999, when his father died unexpectedly from a heart attack.
John Osteen encouraged Joel 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. John Osteen died six
days later of a heart attack. Two weeks later, Joel began preaching regularly
and, later that year, was installed as the new Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church
on October 3, 1999. Under Joel Osteen, Lakewood's attendance grew from 5,000 to
You can visit the website at www.joelosteen.com