$600,000 in cash and checks was reported stolen Monday from the safe at Pastor Joel Osteen's megachurch in Houston, TX. According to a statement issued by the Lakewood Church yesterday, $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks were removed from the safe sometime between 2:30 p.m. Sunday night and 8:30 a.m. Monday morning when the theft was discovered. Some envelopes with handwritten credit card information were also taken. The theft, according to the church, was limited to funds donated during the Saturday and Sunday services. They noted that offerings placed in a drop box, made online or through bookstore purchases were not stolen. No arrests have been made as yet.
Lakewood Church, where Joel Osteen is the chief pastor, is a nondenominational evangelical megachurch and is home to the largest congregation in the United States. Attendance averages 43,500 people each week and Osteen's televised sermons are viewed in nearly 100 countries.
Though he denies it, Joel Osteen is often characterized as a promoter of the "Prosperity Gospel," a belief that material success is a reward for Christian piety and, indeed, the very first article posted Mar. 7th, (before the robbery) on his church's website is "God's Priorities In Spending." In it, Osteen and his wife Victoria describe their classes on how understanding God's truth can make you successful. "That's why," they write, "our Financial Ministry is designed to equip you with biblical knowledge and resources to achieve your financial goals or just help you set them!"
One wonders if the thief or thieves found the inspiration for setting their financial goal in one of these classes.
If you enjoy my articles, you can click on "subscribe" at the top of the page and you'll receive notice when new ones are published.
The theft and Lakewood Church's press release https//news.yahoo.com/600k-taken-safe-osteens-megachurch-210534700.html
Church attendance figures http//www.sermoncentral.com/articleb.asp?article=Top-100-Largest-Churches
Lakewood Church's home page (where "God's Priorities In Spending" appears) http://www.lakewoodchurch.com/Pages/Home.aspx