CLEVELAND - Joel Osteen didn't set out to pastor the largest church in America. But his Lakewood Church in Texas now has more than 43,000 members; so many that they worship in a former basketball arena.
In addition, Osteen's message reaches 10 million television viewers every week.
"I never planned on doing this," Osteen said. "I worked behind the scenes for my parents at the ministry for many years and when my dad died, I knew I was supposed to step up and pastor the church. And I took that step of faith never ministering before and never dreamed that it would grow."
Osteen sat down for an interview with NewsChannel5 shortly after he arrived in Cleveland for his "Night of Hope" at Quicken Loans Arena. He's not sure why so many people have been drawn to his ministry.
"I think part of it is the message is so positive," he said. "It's hopeful and there are so many things pushing people down that it seems like it draws people to when they hear that God is for them, it helps them to move forward."
Osteen tries to add humor to his sermons, always beginning with a funny story which he said people send to him.
Known for his constant smile, the 49-year-old pastor said he's just naturally happy and easy going.
"I've smiled since I was a little kid."
Osteen has a new book coming out this fall titled, I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life. He writes a book every year. He's in the early stages of talks about a possible reality show. However, he's careful not to let himself burn out.
"It's just pacing yourself," he said, "taking time off. I'm real good about staying balanced. I believe your spiritual, your physical, and your emotional, you have to take care of all three of those areas."
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