According to Church Growth Today, the Lakewood Church steered by Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria is the largest and fastest growing church in the U.S. (Lakewood Church 1). The church is a non-denominational Christian church located in Houston, Texas. It was started by John Houston and his second wife Dodie in 1959. After his death in 1999, his youngest son Joel Osteen took over. The church has a 16, 800 sitting capacity and holds four English services and two Spanish services per week. The congregation averages at 43,500 (Lakewood Church 1). Given this descriptive statistics, the church evokes an interest where one wants to know more about it. Well, below is a description of the same.
Moving downtown Houston along the U.S. Highway 59, one cannot help noticing the Lakewood Church building, which used to be a sports arena before it was leased by the church. The move to this facility was prompted by the rise in the number of people in the congregation, which meant that the people could not fit in the former church at the 7317 East Houston Road. From the outside, one can see that the building is a place of worship. There is a large, black painted concave shaped pillar at the entrance of the church with white embedded letters reading LAKEWOOD CHURCH. Above these is the logo that is very common in the television programs aired by the pastor. The walls are mostly length-tall glass separated with strong concrete pillars painted beige. There is a terrace at the entrance with a few steps leading into the church hall. The lawn has green grass which is well trimmed and a few flower bushes. There is a pious felling once one steps into the lawn.
Once inside the church, there is the evidence that the $75 million spent in renovating the facility was not wasted. There are big screens placed at different places in the church. These make it easy for the congregation to see the pastor up close as he gives the sermons. The screens are important due to the size of the church. It is actually hard for the person seated at the far end of the church to clearly see and comprehend what the pastor says without the help of the screens. The pulpit is set at on a raised platform at one end of the church. This serves as the platform for the preacher and also the praise and worship. The musical instruments are well located on the platform, showing the state-of-the-art instruments such as the drum-set, keyboard, guitars and other musical accessories. The sitting arrangement is in form of terraces, just as a theatre looks like. Those seated closest to the pulpit are at the lowest level, with the terraces rising as one move away from the terrace. This theatric arrangement is good as it helps everybody in the congregation to have a view of the pulpit without struggling. On the pulpit is a small mahogany Bible stand which marks the position of the speaker.
There are major church buildings in the world; the St. Peters Basilica in Vatican being among the leading ones. These are the famous and renowned buildings which have a history behind. The Lakewood Church might not fall in this class, but it definitely has a place in the books of churches. Its fame is based on the number of people in the congregation, the size of the church itself and the rate at which it is growing. If the trend continues, it is cannot be denied that it will soon be one of the greatest churches of its time.
Lakewood Church. ‘Home: An Inspiration to Millions.’ Lakewood Church, 2012. Web, 13th Sept. 2012, http://www.lakewood.cc/pages/new-here/joel-osteen.aspx