Pastor Joel Osteen recently shared with a Colorado news station how he believes he stands out from other Christian leaders who solicit donations through television ministries, as well as his views on politics and homosexuality.
While acknowledging in the June 5 interview with news reporter Ron Zappolo that some people are often turned off by evangelism, especially due to televangelists who request money while preaching on TV, the Lakewood Church pastor insisted he was different.
"I try to be just the opposite. I try to be myself. That's why on television, I never ask for money. I try to be the opposite," Osteen said.
The popular pastor and author went on to say that he doesn't ask for money on television "because I realize people are thinking, when they flip you on to begin with, they're thinking 'he's after my money, he's a con artist.' You know, you have to overcome that, but I believe that sincerity comes through when people realize you're just trying to help them live a better life."
The megachurch pastor, who leads a congregation of about 43,500 and whose ministry reaches over seven million people in over 100 countries weekly, shared that although he doesn't think it is mandatory, people of faith should make an effort to attend church.
When asked if one has to attend church to be a person of faith, Osteen replied: "I don't think you do, I think when you go to church you get around other believers and you learn, but I don't think you do. Some people, they're not in a position where they can go to church. Faith is in your heart, it's who you are."
Osteen, 49, also revealed that he has been asked on more than one occasion to become politically active, due to his popularity. He said, however, that he tries to keep solely focused on preaching the Gospel, instead of getting involved in politics or other external issues.
"People say 'well you've got a lot of influence, why don't you use it for politics, or will you take up my issue?' I just try to stay focused on my race," the pastor said.
"Especially when you go political. Well, 50 percent of the people don't agree, the country's usually divided, so I'm trying to reach everybody and say 'hey, God's here for you, He's got a plan for your life,' and that's my business."
Osteen, who has spoken previously on the issue of homosexuality, commented brielfy on the subject after being asked if he truly believes it is a sin.
"There are many sins in the Bible, and I don't try to pick out one. I don't try to get up there and preach against homosexuality, I don't really preach against a lot of things," he said.
"I think that the point is this: I'll let people study their own Bible, and come to their own conclusions, but I think sometimes the Christian community takes one sin, let's say homosexuality, but pride's a sin. Being judgmental is a sin. There's a ton of them, so I don't harp on one."