Allison Kugel: I ask everyone this question, and I think it’s really fitting considering who you are. What do you think you came into this life as Joel Osteen to learn? And what do you think you came here to teach?
Joel Osteen: Hmm, what did I come here to learn? Maybe I came here to learn about the goodness of God; how good God is. I feel like that is what I’ve seen in my life, and that’s why it’s easy for me to tell people that God is for you and that he can restore you, and he’s got a great plan. I’ve just seen that my whole life. I had a great mom and dad. My mom’s still alive, but a lot of people get the image of God from their earthly father. My dad was just for everybody, and for me. I feel that maybe I came here to see the goodness of God. I think I came here to teach people about the goodness of God, and to make God good again. We touched on the fact that a lot of people were raised to believe that God is mad at them, and they were taught guilt and that you can’t measure up. But I just have a different view of God, so maybe it’s to spread a different message.
Allison Kugel: And what do you think is your spiritual mission, overall?
Joel Osteen: To bring good into the world, to lift people up, to give them hope, to help them forgive, and to help them feel better about themselves. My mission is to help them to know who God is, and to know who they are. A lot of people, we don’t know who we are. We think we’re just average. I believe we are all made in the image of God, and that we have greatness in us. So, it’s to lift people up and help push them into their destiny.
Allison Kugel: I watched one of your services where you invited Kanye West to come up on stage to share his testimony. He said something interesting. He said that for a while he was caught up in being of service to fame, rather than being of service to God. Have you ever felt yourself getting pulled in that direction, where you felt like you were being of service to the fame you have achieved?
Joel Osteen: I don’t know that I felt that so much. One of my strengths is that I get up every morning and I search my heart and my mind, and I ask myself if I’m on the right path. Am I making good decisions? I think there’s opportunities that come along with what I do, where I think, “You know what? That would feel good for my ego, but that’s not for me.” But I don’t feel much different than I did twenty years ago when I was working for my father, behind the scenes. I have more influence now, but I don’t really see myself as a celebrity, or as somebody with fame. I don’t feel like I have that temptation too much.
Allison Kugel: How did your relationship with Kanye West start?
Joel Osteen: It started with a text from a friend of mine saying, “Kanye West wants to talk with you.” I then got a text one day from [Kanye] that said, “Can we talk?” I called and we talked for an hour or two that first day. It started from his journey of faith, this new twist that he’s taken. During that first conversation he told me his background and what he was all about. My next question to him was, “What do you need from us?” He said, “I don’t need anything. I was just looking for friendship.” And so, it started off as friendship, and I was very impressed with him. He didn’t call to come to the church, and he didn’t really need anything from me. I found him to be very genuine and very respectful over the last six or eight months. He’s just a very genuine, respectful, kind, quite person. Not the Kanye that you see out there.
Allison Kugel: Let’s talk about your live streaming Easter Sunday service. You’re having some interesting guests, including Mariah Carey and Tyler Perry; as well as the Houston Chief of Police and the Houston Fire Department Chief. How was it all put together?
Joel Osteen: We wanted to do a segment where we honored the first responders and the medical professionals, and we asked the police chief and the fire chief to come out. They’re always supportive friends, and so we asked if they would come out to represent the first responders, nationwide. I also called Tyler Perry because he’s spoken here at Lakewood Church before, and people love him. I just kind of wanted something special this Easter season, during these times that are so uncertain. So, he made us a five-minute video. He’s very warm and inspiring. And then Kanye West texted me just a few days ago and said, “What are you all doing for Easter?” I asked him if he wanted to do something together, and he said, “Yes, I would like to get my choir involved.” I said absolutely, let’s do it. So, he’s working on that end. I don’t know what it’s all going to be, but he’s going to do something with social distancing and all the right things.