Joel Osten’s Lakewood Church came up a little short on funds a few weeks ago. Celebrity pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen’s Houston-based megachurch reported that over one weekend heist, over $600,000 in donations were hauled away.
The Christian Post reported on March 24 that the mystery of the theft has yet to be solved, and the church has now anted up another $25K as a reward for information leading to the arrest of the culprit(s).
But the enormous sums of money are now raising another question – just how much cash does Osteen’s church bring in, and where do these massive sums go?
In the hest, the eye-opening $600K was comprised of hard funds – paper money, checks and envelopes containing written credit card information – and the entire amount came from contributions made in church services held on Saturday, March 8 and Sunday, March 9.
Says the Christian Post:
The Associated Press reported on Saturday that Crime Stoppers, the national organization aimed at preventing and solving crimes in the U.S., announced the reward for information. No arrests have yet been made in the case.
A statement from the church the day after the theft occurred read:
“We were heartbroken to learn today that funds were stolen from the church over the weekend. This includes cash, checks and envelopes containing written credit card information, and it is limited only to those funds contributed in the church services on Saturday, March 8 and Sunday, March 9, 2014.”
The statement went on to say that the funds were insured, and that no electronic data breach occurred.
The mind blowing amount thieved from the church, donated by the approximately 40,000 church attendees every week, extrapolated over the course of the year, means that the megachurch brings in an average amount of $31 million per year.
And that’s just some quick back-of-the-napkin math. That doesn’t include Osteen’s book sales, online donations, call-in donations from Osteen’s televangelist programs, royalties, merchandise, etc.
This hard-cash revelation has since sparked strong reactions with many who are questioning just how much Joel Osteen is really worth, and where all these funds, which more closely resemble casino revenue than church donations, actually go.
It’s a far cry from Jesus watching the needy widow drop two small coins of minimal value into the temple’s donation box – “all she had,” according to Jesus – compared to the rich and self-righteous who were donating from “their surplus.”
What’s your take? Sympathetic and "heartbroken" as to the robbery as the statement says, or disgusted by the big-business balance sheet? With this kind of seven-figure, money-generating commerce, would your small donation even mean a thing?