(RNS) Featured on the February cover of Success magazine, Houston megachurch pastor and best-selling author Joel Osteen says he doesn’t hear the critics of his “prosperity gospel” who say he causes people to focus on themselves instead of God.
“It seems like I’m naive, but everybody I talk to, they’re saying, ‘You helped me, I like listening to you,’” he told Success. “And the stadiums full of people? They’re not coming because they’re critics. They’re coming because you touched their life.”
Osteen tells writer Michael Mooney, in the article that calls him “the most popular minister on the planet,” that precision is one of the keys to his success.
“It’s got to look good, and you’ve got to be precise,” he said of productions such as “A Night of Hope” that he held in San Francisco’s AT&T Park last year with the help of a team of almost 200 people. “There’s so much competing for the viewer’s attention these days.”
Osteen is promoting his latest book, “The Power of I Am,” and recently had a theological discussion on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Colbert asked how he was going to top God telling Moses “I am that I am.”
Osteen said he was shifting to how people describe themselves after the words “I am.”
“I think there’s power in our words,” he told Colbert. “I think people don’t realize how many times we speak negative things about ourselves.”
(Adelle M. Banks is production editor and a national reporter for RNS)