Why I Call Joel Osteen “My Pastor”?

Over the last several years I have had the privilege of meeting some of the greatest leaders and pastors across the nation.  Many pastor churches of hundreds and others of thousands, but they all have something in common – a call on their life.  Being called to be the Pastor of a church is an incredible thing.

But I have also noticed that I have been “pastorless” for the last 6+ years too.  I believe that a lot of pastors – if they were honest – feel the same way.  They have Jesus – they have their family – they have their church – but they don’t have a pastor over them.  They are so busy pastoring they forget to be pastored – that was my case.  Ministry had gotten so busy (still is) – that I ‘forgot’ we all need a spiritual mentor/leader in our lives.

Todd Bishop & Joel Osteen at Yankees Game3 years ago I had the privilege of meeting Pastors Joel & Victoria Osteen for the very first time.  It was an incredible experience.  One that I will forever be grateful to Buddy Cremeans for making that happen.  I didn’t realize in my wildest dreams that I would appreciate the Osteen’s so much that they would become my pastors.  Joel & Victoria lead a church of over 40,000 people, but every time Mary and I are with them we feel like the only ones in the room.  They stop in the noise and truly care.

I spoke with Pastor Joel the other day and the first thing he asked, “How are you guys doing?”  He cares about those around him.  He is loyal.  The next thing he said, “How is the church going?”  He cares about what others are doing.  And each time we tried to ask him about how he was doing or about their kids, Joel would go right back to us.  I will cling to the words my pastor told me yesterday, “Todd, we are just so proud of you.  Keep up the great work.”  Then Pastor Joel went off to lead about 6,000 people to Jesus at a Night of Hope in Philadelphia.

So why do I claim Joel Osteen as my pastor?

  1. He loves Jesus more than most.  Joel & Victoria have a passion for Jesus.  Watching them worship is powerful.  Seeing them pray for people is amazing.  Experiencing how much they study God’s Word is inspiring.  They love Jesus.
  2. He has become a friend to Mary and I.  There has never been anyone in my life who inspires me to dream more, believe more and do more for God.  His belief in our church and friendship means a lot.  We are not “best buds” but friends who pray for and encourage one another.
  3. He has invested in our potential.  The help he and Victoria have given to our church is priceless.  They provide opportunities to grow at events they do for their Network churches.  They help us promote our church with TV commercials and materials.
  4. He cares about the details.  He remembers.  For all the people that he meets he still remembers us, our names, what we are doing.  That’s a pastor.
  5. He knows what people need.  So often Joel gets criticized by people who do not even know him, but as we have gotten to know the Osteen family we have discovered they truly connect with people.  They listen.  They focus on others.  They help behind the scenes.
  6. He teaches me Biblical and leadership principles.  As I read his daily devotions and listen on Sirius I am constantly inspired to grow and know more and more.  Joel is not the only person I listen to, but one of my favorite.
  7. He encourages you constantly.  Pastor Joel will always take a moment to give you one word, one sentence or one statement of encouragement.  It does not matter what he has going on – Joel will always take a moment to lift your spirits.
  8. He is one of the most humble people I know.  I have seem him smile (just like the rest of the world) but I have also seen him cry.  I remember sitting in a meeting with him and about 70 other pastors when he in tears said, “I am not so sure why God has used me.  There are so many better teachers, pastors and leaders.”  That’s why God uses him.  He is humble.  Always reflecting praise to God.

I could list more and more reasons, but Pastors Joel & Victoria are the real deal.  They are more than what most people see.  God has placed a special anointing on their lives.  They cast out a large net of hope, but they invest in pastors/leaders too.  They have influenced more churches across the nation than anyone can imagine.

I am honored to call them my pastors and friends!  And thankful for everything they have done to help Mary and I personally and our church.  Our pastor invests in us and inspires us to impact Long Island.

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