#Roommates, despite being one of the world’s wealthiest televangelists, Joel Osteen and his incredibly popular Lakewood Church reportedly received hefty financial assistance due to the COVID-19 federal relief program. Explosive new reports reveal that Osteen’s Lakewood Church was the beneficiary of an almost $4.5 million PPP Loan, which is meant for much smaller companies impacted by COVID-19.
According to the @NYPost, multi-millionaire televangelist Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston received $4.4 million in bailouts through the federal COVID-19 relief program, based on newly released records. Osteen’s megachurch, which is the largest in the nation with 52,000 weekly congregants, reportedly received the forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loan in late July, making it the third-highest loan in the Houston area during all of July and August, according to federal data.
Lakewood Church used its PPP loan check to pay its total of 368 full and part-time employees, confirmed by church spokesman Donald Iloff. Iloff said in-person church services that were suspended from March 15th through October 18th due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacted “its ability to collect substantial donations during those services.”
He elaborated even more in an official statement:
“Believing the shutdown would only last a few weeks, Lakewood did not initially apply for PPP assistance during the first half of the program. However, as the shutdown persisted month after month, given the economic uncertainty, Lakewood finally applied for the PPP loan and has been able to provide full salaries and benefits including health insurance coverage to all of its employees and their families. It is important to note that, since 2004, Pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen have not received salaries from Lakewood Church, and the PPP funds do not provide any personal financial benefit to them, whatsoever.”
Joel Osteen’s sermons are seen around the world—and he is currently worth an estimated $100 million. He took over Lakewood Church following the death of his father, founding pastor John Osteen, in 1999.
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