Joel Osteen’s Texas Megachurch ‘Heartbroken’ by $600k Theft

Joel Osteen

Pastor Joel Osteen’s Houston, Texas megachurch has suffered a $600,000 theft leaving the community “heartbroken” as said in the email disclosing the theft to the members. The thieves stole not only cash and checks from the safe at Osteen’s church, but also acquired credit card information of those who donate to the Lakewood Church.

Houston Police Department spokesman Victor Senties said that $400,000 in checks was stolen, as well as $200,000 in cash. The money and credit card information was stolen from the Texas megachurch sometime between 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon and Monday morning around 8:30 a.m. The donations were made on Saturday and Sunday from the congregation. The leaders of Lakewood Church sent out an email to church members on Monday following the discovery of the missing money by a church employee.

Jodie Silva, Houston Police Department spokeswoman, said that no one had been arrested in connection with the crime. The police refused to release any more information regarding the theft.

Osteen’s Houston Church has more than 40,000 members and more than 38,000 people attend weekly services. The TV broadcast of Osteen’s sermons are seen worldwide in almost 100 countries. The Lakewood Church has the biggest church population in the United States. Osteen also has several published books.

Church officials have told members who donated over the weekend to keep an eye on their bank accounts for any fraudulent activity that may occur following the burglary and to report any suspicious account behavior immediately. The stolen funds are insured and there has not been a breach in the church’s electronic data, according to church officials. None of the members that donated electronically will be affected. A church statement said that they are already working with the insurance company to regain the missing funds. However, the $600,000 theft still remains heartbreak to Osteen’s Texas megachurch.

The church is working in conjunction with the police on the issue, but has not made any further statements regarding the recent robbery. Lakewood Church spokesman, Donald Iloff, Jr., said that they are refraining from making any comments right now because they “do not want to compromise the investigation.” Therefore, it remains unknown how the robbers accessed the safe and any other details about whether it was a forced robbery.

Osteen and wife Victoria Osteen lead the church and encourage giving to the church. The Lakewood Church website reads, “Giving is a biblical principle.” The donation section of the website makes it easy to give donations with quick buttons ranging from $25 to $500 and the ability to give once or a monthly donation. The Osteens and Lakewood Church believe that “When you give, God will multiply back to you what you’ve sown” and that giving is a “lifestyle.” The thieves took advantage of the church’s incredibly large population and the “giving” mindset by robbing the church safe. This week, the $600,000 that was given to God through offerings is most likely in the hands that stole it, leaving Osteen and his Texas megachurch “heartbroken” from the theft.

By Rebecca Hofland

Sources:

Lakewood Church

Time

Houston Chronicle

Miami Herald

FOX News

3 Responses to "Joel Osteen’s Texas Megachurch ‘Heartbroken’ by $600k Theft"

  1. Donna   July 2, 2014 at 7:40 am

    The laborer deserves his wages, but to whom much is given, much is required. We are blessed so that we may bless others, not so we can hoard it all and live extravagant lifestyles.

    Reply
  2. Amazed By HisGrace   March 12, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Well, well well… 600K per week. That excludes those that Tithe once a year/quarter/ or monthly. That excludes higher attendance giving on Easter and Christmas. Not withstanding…

    You have over 31M coming in annually. What ministries does LC support and give to?
    What have you done to help those in need? To much is given, much is expected.

    Billy Graham didnt charge folks those to attend his crusades – why is it you and Victoria charge for your tours and feel-good talks? because you are more interested in the vanities of your image and net worth than you are winning souls to Christ? I dont know – just a question.

    and I leave, from the words of our Lord, Jesus:

    23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

    Reply
    • legba289   March 17, 2014 at 4:25 am

      Pastor Osteen has delivered his sermons from God. Why shouldn’t he be allowed to collect an offering from the flock that he tends?

      Here’s a bible version relevant to this:

      1 Corinthians 9:11
      (English Standard Version)
      If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?

      Even if Pastor Osteen collects a billion bucks per year, what is that to anyone else so long as he’s doing what God is telling him to?

      John 21:21-23
      21 Peter seeing him said to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
      22 Jesus said unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? you follow me.
      23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you?

      Reply

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