Joel Osteen, senior pastor of the 40,000-member Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, spoke with The Christian Post on Friday at Marlins Park baseball stadium in Miami, Fla. – one day before his scheduled America’s Night of Hope event – to talk about his life in ministry, how to respond when bad things happen to good people, and why he doesn’t like being grouped in with televangelists who preach the prosperity gospel.

The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

CP: What biblical message is represented in the work being done by the 150 Generation Hope Project volunteers who came to Miami to donate their time, money and labor to help local nonprofits that serve the community?


Osteen: The gist of it is that we don’t just come in the word, but we come in deed as well – love your neighbor as you love yourself. My part, obviously, is the message and inspiration, but we like to be an example of what it means to be the hands and the feet of Jesus Christ. And that is to help the suffering, and lift the oppressed and the fallen. And part of it is to help bring justice and hope. Jesus said when you do it to the least of these … and that’s who we’re reaching out to.

CP: What pressures did you have growing up as the son of a prominent minister?

Osteen: You know, it’s interesting, because I didn’t feel pressured. I know that some of my friends that were preachers’ kids did. I was never forced to go to church, so I didn’t feel pressure. I guess, in a sense, you knew that people were watching. I think that my children are the same way, in that I don’t know if they feel pressured. I guess maybe in one way they do.

I don’t think that I fit in that mold, because like I said, a lot of my friends did feel that pressure. A lot of preachers’ kids are some of the most rebellious kids in the world. I never was like that. And I think that’s because my parents were the same in the church as they were at home. So we didn’t see mixed messages. I think that’s the difference. Because my friends didn’t. Their parents were one way in the pulpit and then things were a lot different at home.

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