Lakewood Church
Overview
Lakewood Church is a non-denominational Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 megachurch
Megachurch
A megachurch is a church having 2,000 or more in average weekend attendance. The Hartford Institute's database lists more than 1,300 such Protestant churches in the United States. According to that data, approximately 50 churches on the list have attendance ranging from 10,000 to 47,000...

 located in Houston, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. It is the largest congregation in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, 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
Joel Osteen
Joel Scott Osteen is an American author, televangelist, and the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. His ministry reaches over seven million broadcast media viewers weekly in over 100 nations around the world.-Biography:...

 is the senior pastor of Lakewood Church with his wife, Victoria
Victoria Osteen
Victoria Iloff Osteen born March 28, 1961 in Huntsville, Alabama is the French American co-pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, Author, the wife of Joel Osteen, and the daughter-in-law of the late John Osteen.- History :...

, who serves as co-pastor.
Encyclopedia
Lakewood Church is a non-denominational Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 megachurch
Megachurch
A megachurch is a church having 2,000 or more in average weekend attendance. The Hartford Institute's database lists more than 1,300 such Protestant churches in the United States. According to that data, approximately 50 churches on the list have attendance ranging from 10,000 to 47,000...

 located in Houston, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. It is the largest congregation in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, 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
Joel Osteen
Joel Scott Osteen is an American author, televangelist, and the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. His ministry reaches over seven million broadcast media viewers weekly in over 100 nations around the world.-Biography:...

 is the senior pastor of Lakewood Church with his wife, Victoria
Victoria Osteen
Victoria Iloff Osteen born March 28, 1961 in Huntsville, Alabama is the French American co-pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, Author, the wife of Joel Osteen, and the daughter-in-law of the late John Osteen.- History :...

, who serves as co-pastor. Lakewood Church is evangelical
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

 in belief.

History

Lakewood Church was founded by John Osteen
John Osteen
John Hillery Osteen was the first pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas from its beginnings in 1959 until his death in 1999 of a heart attack. His son Joel Osteen succeeded him....

 and his wife, Dodie in 1959 inside an abandoned feed store in a predominantly black neighborhood of 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 charismatic
Charismatic Christianity
Charismatic Christianity is a Christian doctrine that maintains that modern-day believers experience miracles, prophecy, speaking in tongues, and other spiritual gifts as described in of the Bible...

s. 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, 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
Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are an American professional basketball team based in Houston, Texas. The team plays in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was established in 1967, and played in San Diego, California for four years, before being...

, the Houston Aeros
Houston Aeros
The Houston Aeros are a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League. The team plays in Houston, Texas, at the Toyota Center. They are the AHL affiliate of the NHL's Minnesota Wild.- History :...

, and the Houston Comets
Houston Comets
The Houston Comets were a Women's National Basketball Association team based in Houston, Texas, United States. Formed in 1997, the team was one of the best original eight WNBA teams and won the first four championships of the league's existence. The Comets were the first dynasty of the WNBA and...

.
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
Downtown Houston
Downtown Houston is the largest business district of Houston, Texas, United States. Downtown Houston, the city's central business district, contains the headquarters of many prominent companies. There is an extensive network of pedestrian tunnels and skywalks connecting the buildings of the district...

 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.

Beliefs

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
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

, as well as the recognition of the death of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 on the cross and resurrection.

From the commands found in the Bible, the church practices the following:
  • Salvation: Each service offers an Altar call
    Altar call
    An altar call is a practice in some evangelical churches in which those who wish to make a new spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ are invited to come forward publicly. It is so named because the supplicants gather at the altar located at the front of the church building. In the Old Testament, an...

     at the end in order for people to Accept Christ as Lord and Savior.
  • Water Baptism: The church believes this as a symbol of the cleansing power of the blood of Christ and a testimony to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism is practiced every Saturday night in the church's Chapel
    Chapel
    A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

    .
  • Communion: The church deems this as an act of remembering what the Lord Jesus did on the cross. It is offered once a month.
  • Growing Relationship with Jesus Christ: Lakewood believes that every believer should be in a growing relationship with Jesus by obeying God's Word, yielding to the Holy Spirit and by being conformed to the image of Christ.


Lakewood is known for its Word of Faith
Word of Faith
Word of Faith is a family of Christian churches as well as a label applied by some observers to a teaching movement kindred to many Pentecostal and charismatic churches and individuals worldwide. The basic doctrine preached is that of salvation through Jesus Christ and what that salvation entails...

 teaching.

Church organization

Lakewood offers different types of ministries, fellowships, and services depending on the age, marital status, and need of its members.

Services

  • Kidslife - Children
  • Canvas - Students / Young Adults
  • Main Service - All Adults
  • C/30 The Journey - Post-college Young Adults (Fridays @ 7:00pm, 4th floor in The Loft)


During Sunday services, Pastor Joel, Paul, or Marcos will preach. On Wednesday nights, the associate Pastors or guest speakers will preach.

Community

Even though the membership is very large, members connect through the LifeGroups ministry. This is the cell group
Cell group
The cell group is a form of church organization that is used in some Christian churches. Cell groups are generally intended to teach the Bible and personalize Christian fellowship. They are always used in cell churches, but also occur in parachurch organizations and other interdenominational...

 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.

Learning

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.

Providing help

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
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

 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
Texas Medical Center
The Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the world with one of the highest densities of clinical facilities for patient care, basic science, and translational research...

 providing prayer and encouragement.

Lakewood is also a member of Stephen Ministries
Stephen Ministries
Stephen Ministries is a program of lay pastoral counseling and caregiving founded by Rev. Kenneth C. Haugk at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Missouri in 1975...

 who has further Christian counseling.

Church leadership

During the history of Lakewood Church, John Osteen served as senior pastor until 1999, when Pastor Joel Osteen became senior pastor.

Present Leadership
  • John Osteen
    John Osteen
    John Hillery Osteen was the first pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas from its beginnings in 1959 until his death in 1999 of a heart attack. His son Joel Osteen succeeded him....

  • Senior Pastor: Joel Osteen
    Joel Osteen
    Joel Scott Osteen is an American author, televangelist, and the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. His ministry reaches over seven million broadcast media viewers weekly in over 100 nations around the world.-Biography:...

  • Co Pastor: Victoria Osteen
  • Co Pastor: Enrique Hernandez
  • Associate Pastors:
  • Dodie Osteen
  • Paul Osteen
  • Lisa Comes
* Marcos Witt
Marcos Witt
Marcos Witt , is an American, four-time Latin Grammy Award-winning Christian singer and pastor.-Biography:Marcos Witt is the second born of three children to Jerry and Nola Witt, a young American missionary couple. The Witt family moved to Durango, México, in 1964 and they started a missionary...

 
  • Danilo Montero
    Danilo Montero
    -Biography:Danilo Montero was born on November 1, 1962 in San Jose, Costa Rica. He runs a ministry called "", where he is the principal director of Praise. He has recorded about 18 albums throughout his ministerial career that are part of the songs that are sung today in many Hispanic-speaking...

  • Youth Pastor: Alexis Mondragon
  • Worship Director: Elmer Quintanilla
  • Head of Ushers/Security: Oscar Raul Mondragon
  • Choir Director: Neftali Castro
  • President of Women Ministry: Juan Quintanilla

Television


The church's weekly services are broadcast on Trinity Broadcasting Network
Trinity Broadcasting Network
The Trinity Broadcasting Network is a major American Christian television network. TBN is based in Costa Mesa, California, with auxiliary studio facilities in Irving, Texas; Hendersonville, Tennessee; Gadsden, Alabama; Decatur, Georgia; Miami, Florida; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Orlando, Florida; and New...

 and Daystar Television Network
Daystar Television Network
The Daystar Television Network is an American evangelical Christian television religious broadcasting network headquartered near Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Bedford, Texas...

, as well as local channels in most major US markets. Lakewood also appears on secular networks, such as Fox Network, and USA Network
USA Network
USA Network is an American cable television channel launched in 1971. Once a minor player in basic cable, the network has steadily gained popularity because of breakout hits like Monk, Psych, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, Covert Affairs, White Collar, Monday Night RAW, Suits, and reruns of the various...

. 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.

Music

Worship leaders include:
  • Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff
    Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff
    Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff is a Dove Award winning singer-songwriter who serves as the senior worship leader at the largest and fastest growing church in the United States, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas.-Music career:...

  • Steve Crawford
  • Da'dra Crawford Greathouse
  • Israel Houghton
    Israel Houghton
    -Other recordings :* "Champions for Christ" - Hi5 * "Where Are the Fathers?" from He-Motions * "Send Me to the Nations" from A Wing & A Prayer...


Hispanic ministry

In 2002, Lakewood began a large-scale Hispanic ministry, lead by Hispanic Pastor Marcos Witt
Marcos Witt
Marcos Witt , is an American, four-time Latin Grammy Award-winning Christian singer and pastor.-Biography:Marcos Witt is the second born of three children to Jerry and Nola Witt, a young American missionary couple. The Witt family moved to Durango, México, in 1964 and they started a missionary...

 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
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, 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:
  • Marcos Witt
    Marcos Witt
    Marcos Witt , is an American, four-time Latin Grammy Award-winning Christian singer and pastor.-Biography:Marcos Witt is the second born of three children to Jerry and Nola Witt, a young American missionary couple. The Witt family moved to Durango, México, in 1964 and they started a missionary...

  • Miriam Witt
  • Danilo Montero
  • Gloriana Montero

Reception

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
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK