Often it doesn’t work for a son to take over as lead pastor of a church after the father passes away or is incapacitated. Joel Olsteen has been the exception, and without formal seminary training. Olsteen was named, “America’s pastor,” by The Observer in 2010. He has had politicians attend his services, speaks at a church that seats 16,000 people, and has written some New York Times best-selling books. Not bad for someone who had no intention to be a pastor.
Sometimes labeled the preacher of the “prosperity gospel,” some Christians have turned a deaf ear to what he has to say. With discouragement becoming the disease afflicting the American Christian in this day and time, along comes Olsteen. His smile and message point to being thankful as the remedy, and he backs it up with words that explain the Bible in a uniquely insightful way.
His messages are rich in blessing and celebrating who Christians are and what our inheritance is. Surprisingly, his words are deep and ring true as he points out how God has your back, and pays back wrongdoers for things that have happened. But he doesn’t teach that everything is made right only in heaven. Instead, he points out how dangerous it is to do wrong to one of God’s own. He uses illustrations from his own congregation of costly repercussions to the ungodly who have acted against a Christian. Waiting on Heaven as the answer to all wrongs is a myth to Olsteen, as there is an accounting that takes place in the here and now.
He often confesses his own feelings of not wanting to act Christ-like or in a manner in which he has preached on. This only serves to humanize him, and put him on level ground with the everyday working person. He points out everyday events as acts of God that supply our needs and increase our net worth.
He is said to be one of the most influential men in America and it is not hard to see why. He has a fresh approach to Scripture. The feeling of blessing is rich in his tone, which is so contrary to those that preach we must endure to the end in such a way that it gives the message that life is filled with hardship we grit our teeth to endure. Some Christians settle for little money, no options, low self-esteem, but not if you listen to Olsteen.
From the time his father died, the congregation has at least doubled in size which was no small task. His father had a congregation of 8,000. He moved to congregation to The Compaq Center in Houston in 2005 seeing it as a positive plan of God. He walks with confidence and peace, and that smile that is always there. He appears youthful, healthy, and enthusiastic. He is the epitome of victory in Christ and does not live in resignation and unhappiness. His schedule is packed, and he has speaking engagements slated for around the country.