Osteen now says he’s never closed his doors to those in need. The megachurch pastor told ABC News in a statement that he would open Lakewood Church once other shelters reached capacity and shared pics of the flooding outside and inside the church. That may be soon, as Houston’s Convention Center is 2,000 people over capacity.

(A Twitter user, hours earlier, showed photos of the church that seemed to show it undamaged by the flooding that has devastated the city.)


In 2005, Joel Osteen famously bought the former Compaq Center in Houston to house his ginormous Lakewood Church, which seats over 16,000.

As Hurricane Harvey flooding continues to displace thousands, folks on Twitter can’t understand why the famous televangelist hasn’t opened the church doors to offer assistance or temporary housing.

So far, Osteen has tweeted a message of support: “Victoria & I are praying for everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please join us as we pray for the safety of our Texas friends & family.”

Twitter has taken notice.

But many Twitter users noted that Lakewood Church was closed “due to flooding” but streets near the megachurch were not impacted by the flooding, at least as far as Twitter users who took photos near it were concerned.

It does appear that Lakewood may now open as a shelter. There have been pictures of air mattresses being placed inside, though no official announcement has yet been made. Yet some folks think that’s hypocritical as well.

Osteen did post this update on his Instagram, but no word yet if or when Lakewood is going to open up.

View this post on Instagram

Our hearts are breaking as we see the images of the damage and destruction in our city and the surrounding areas from Hurricane Harvey. We are praying for everyone’s safety in Houston and Texas.  As a community we can help each other get through this storm.  We appreciate your prayers, both for our city and for Lakewood Church.  We are working diligently with the city of Houston to mobilize our many volunteers at shelters around the city as well as various other points of need in and around the Houston area.  In addition, we are working with Samaritan’s Purse on major relief efforts. In the days ahead, the needs in our city will be great and we are mobilizing even more volunteers to help those who have been devastated by this storm. While no one could have anticipated how severe this storm would be, we are thankful for the heroic efforts of our police officers, fire department, first responders, and the many volunteers across our state. We are also thankful for the City of Houston and Harris County officials who were wise enough to prepare accordingly, both in rescue preparations and in sheltering the displaced. We are honored to support them in their efforts. Victoria and I believe we will all come out stronger and filled with a greater faith than before.  We love you and continue to pray for all of Houston and Texas. To join with Lakewood Church and Samaritan’s Purse in helping our community recover, please visit the link in our bio. –  Joel & Victoria Osteen #PrayForHouston #PrayForTexas #LakewoodChurch

A post shared by Joel Osteen (@joelosteen) on



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