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Pastor John Osteen

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John Hillery Osteen (August 21, 1921 – January 23, 1999) was the founder and first pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, from its beginnings in 1959 until his death in 1999. His son Joel Osteen then succeeded him as pastor.

Osteen earned his bachelors degree from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and his Masters degree from Northern Baptist Seminary. He also held a Doctorate of Divinity degree from Oral Roberts University.

Osteen began preaching at the age of 17 and initially was ordained as a minister by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). He shifted his views toward a more charismatic perspective in 1958 and voluntarily disassociated himself from the SBC. On Mother’s Day May 10, 1959 he started what is now Lakewood Church in what was described as a “dusty, abandoned feedstore” in northeast Houston.

John Osteen founded Lakewood Church in 1959 in Houston, Texas, widely known as “The Oasis of Love in a Troubled World”, and developed Lakewood into a body of approximately 6,000 members with an active ministries in televangelism, conferences, missionary support, and food distribution. He hosted the weekly “John Osteen” television program for 16 years, reaching millions in the U.S. and in many other countries with his interpretation of the Gospel. His numerous books, cassettes, and videotapes are widely distributed. On January 23, 1999 he died after a heart attack.