After much criticism on social media, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church has opened its 16,800-seat Houston mega church as a shelter to those affected by Tropical Storm Harvey.

Controversy began on Sunday evening when a post circulated on Twitter after Joel Osteen began tweeting Bible verses and words of encouragement rather than opening up the church as a shelter.

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While some churchgoers and Houston residents responded with pics of the church being flooded, others continued to argue that the church was in fact not flooded and safe to house residents.

The church’s representative issued a statement with the Houston Chronicle.

“It’s not our unwillingness, it’s just practicality. It’s been a safety issue for us,” Iloff said. “Lakewood Church has a heart for this city.”

Lakewood Church officially opened its doors at noon on Tuesday. “Victoria and I care deeply about our fellow Houstonians. Lakewood’s doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter,” Osteen tweeted Tuesday at 11:12 a.m.

You can find out more about Lakewood Church’s Hurricane Harvey relief program here.

We’re glad to see that the megachurch has opened its doors as a shelter in Houston. Was it too late? Does it matter? Weigh in the comments.
Mike “Orie” Mosley is the managing editor for and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of In his spare time, he’s probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie