Karlene and I flew from LA to Houston Sunday night, rented a crossover vehicle that I had never even seen before, (a Kia Rondo – should’ve upgraded), drove into the city and checked in to the Houston Renaissance Hotel next to Lakewood Church at around 11:00pm after a long day of ministry and travel. We wanted to get some good rest before our big Monday meeting with Joel and Victoria Osteen at Lakewood Church.
Lakewood Church is the largest church in the United States with four services that bring in more than 40,000 people each and every weekend. Miraculously, they were able to purchase the Compaq Center (former arena home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets) and transform it into a beautiful church.
We got up Monday morning and made our way over to Lakewood Church and were warmly greeted by some staff members as we entered into the massive arena-turned-church. They escorted us up the elevator to a reception area on the upper level where they had provided a continental breakfast. There we met the meeting coordinator, my friend, Pastor Phil Munsey from Life Church in San Juan Capistrano. There were about a dozen or so pastor’s from all around the country – most of whom we knew, a few that we were able to get to know.
Joel came over and we chatted for a few minutes as he made his way around to each of the Pastors in attendance. From there we were guided into the 16,000-seat Sanctuary and down to the platform by Joel and several members of his staff (Lakewood Church employs nearly 300 full and part-time workers). Victoria came in and greeted each of us warmly and spent some time getting to know all of the pastors and wives that had come in for this special session. Karlene talked with Victoria for a while and took some pictures. Pastors Joel and Phil then shared their vision to help small churches (under 75 attendance) across America.
We had a great time getting to know Joel and Victoria better, touring the incredible Lakewood Church ministry facilities and doing a special video shoot with the Osteen’s. It truly was a wonderfully exceptional day -- one that we will not soon forget. It was a day that encouraged our spirits, increased our vision, and strengthened our commitment to the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thank you, Joel and Victoria, we love and appreciate you.