Joel Osteen has responded to the harsh criticism he received today after his church closed when Hurricane Harvey rolled into Houston over the weekend. On Monday evening, Osteen announced that Lakewood Church would be opening soon and that volunteers have been working diligently, prepared to take care of those in need.
“We have never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need. We are prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity. Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives,” the statement read, according to ABC News.
Over the weekend, Osteen posted a few tweets about praying and believing in God in the tough times, but was slammed for not taking action to help the people in Houston who have been displaced by the storm.
Twitter lit Osteen up on Monday, posting all kinds of messages to him, questioning why he “closed the doors” to his megachurch and didn’t offer the space as a shelter. Lakewood Church is the former home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, so the space could comfortably fit thousands of people. Since many areas in Houston are flooded, having a safe place to go that isn’t flooded would be a huge help to the community — it’s something that people were urging Osteen to do all day. After a few hours, he tweeted the following.
Lakewood Church doesn’t appear to have suffered any major water damage — check it out in the video below.
In the photo below, you can see a dry Lakewood Church that has been filled with air mattresses. Other supplies are also being brought in and set up.
Lakewood Church also sent out a series of tweets, letting people know of their relief fund and asking for volunteers. You can see those tweets below.