It is the largest megachurch in America, with over 43,000 people attending weekly. After the weekend services, thieves have broken into a safe at Joel Osteen’s megachurch and have stolen offerings of about $600,000 in cash, checks, and credit card information.
Investigators report that sometime between 2:30 pm on Sunday and 8:30 am on Monday, the thieves broke into the megachurch and stole the money that was received in services on Saturday and Sunday.
No arrests have been made yet according to police spokeswoman Jodi Silva, and the megachurch is cooperating fully with authorities. Church goers have been advised to monitor their accounts. The thieves have access to account numbers because that information is commonly on the donation envelopes.
The official response from the Lakewood megachurch is that they “are working with the police to fully investigate the incident. The funds were fully insured, and we are working with our insurance company to restore the stolen funds to the church.” An email was sent to the congregation to inform them of the theft, and the message was repeated on Facebook.
However, the ministry’s Facebook and Twitter pages reveal more insight into the perspective that Pastor Joel Osteen and the leadership team of the megachurch have regarding the thieves take of so large an amount of money. Just hours after the robbery was discovered, there were posts about trusting God, having faith in God, and prayers and blessings for people, including the thieves!
Encouragement for the flock include a meme on the megachurch pastor’s Facebook page that reads, “Have faith that everything will work out in God’s perfect timing.” Another states, “Trust in God & enter into His rest.” No thieves are going to stop this megachurch and their ministry.
Joel Osteen alluded indirectly to the thieves as he tweeted this on his Twitter page:
Trust is saying, “God I’m not going to let this upset me. I can’t make it work out my way, but I know you’re in control.”
— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) March 11, 2014
The megachurch pastor also posted these words on the very day that the thieves’ crime was discovered: “Don’t lose faith. Sometimes what looks like a disappointment is simply meant to get you in position for greatness.”
This is not the first time that Joel Osteen has publicly chosen to respond with faith to a difficult situation. Last year, The Inquisitr reported on an elaborate hoax that made it appear that the megachurch leader had abandoned his Christian faith. This was his response then:
You can’t stop everything from happening, but you can choose to say, ‘God, it’s in your hands.’ I’m going to move forward. I’m going stay full of joy and I’m going enjoy this day.
One poster questioned why the church needed so much money. The answer to that may be found in the sheer number of ministries engaged in by the megachurch, which include overseas missionary work, outreach to new and single moms, senior citizens, the homeless, and more.
Pastor Osteen is known in his community and worldwide as the Houston megachurch broadcasts his sermons in nearly 100 different countries.
The “megachurch thieves” may have made off with a huge haul, but they have not been able to quench the spirits of Joel Osteen or his parishioners, who are choosing to trust God in spite of the devastating loss.