Born in Houston, Texas, Joel Osteen married Victoria L. Iloff on April 4, 1987. They have two children, Jonathan and Alexandra. Joel Osteen, son of John and Dodie Osteen, is one of five children. His older siblings, Paul, Lisa, and Tamara, and his younger sister, April, are also involved in full-time ministry. Joel’s half-brother Justin does missionary work out of New York. Joel’s father, John Osteen, a former Southern Baptist pastor who became Charismatic in the late 1950s, founded Lakewood Church on Mother’s Day, 1959. Joel Osteen’s father developed Lakewood into a body of approximately 6,000 members with an active television ministry, conferences, missionary support and food distribution After 17 years producing the church’s television program, Joel succeeded his father on October 3, 1999, as pastor of Lakewood Church. Joel had only preached once in his life, the week before his father’s death. Today, Lakewood Church services, led by Pastor Joel Osteen, are seen in over 100 nations around the world. Joel Osteen’s first book, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, was released in October 2004. In December 2006, he was named one of the year’s “Ten Most Fascinating People” by Barbara Walters. Former presidential candidate John McCain has described Joel Osteen as “inspirational”.
Currently, Joel Osteen and several Lakewood Church personnel travel across the nation, presenting programs in large arenas. The event, titled “A Night of Hope,” includes worship music led by the church’s music ministry, a testimony by Joel’s mother Dodie and a sermon from Osteen. In 2007, the tour expanded to include stops in several other countries, including Canada, England, Northern Ireland and Israel. Joel Osteen released his second book, titled Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day in October 2007, which also topped the New York Times Best Sellers List with a first printing of four million copies. Joel Osteen told Larry King the new book will focus more on relationships and not getting stuck where we are in life. “Just my basic message of becoming all God’s created you to be,” he added.
Joel Osteen’s popularity led to him being featured as one of ABC News’ “10 Most Fascinating People of 2006″,and was named “Most Influential Christian in America” in 2006 by The Church Report