Joel Osteen's Lakewood 'Tithing' at Least $32M, Based on Theft Math

Image: Joel Osteen's Lakewood 'Tithing' at Least $32M, Based on Theft Math

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 11:01 AM

By Nick Sanchez

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Last week Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church, the 43,000-member megachurch housed in Houston's former Compaq Center arena, was robbed of approximately $600,000 from a safe containing congregants' cash, checks and credit card donations. No arrests have been made thus far, however details of the investigation offer some insight into the church's total revenues.

CNN reports that "incredibly, all of the money was from one weekend's donations, the church says." Taking into account that March is an average month with no major consumer holiday, a little back-of-the-napkin math reveals that multiplying the sum of the stolen tithing by 52 weeks comes to roughly $32 million.

The church itself released the following statement explaining that only the physical tithing was affected, leading many to speculate that $32 million might be a conservative estimate of the church's total revenue each year.

"It is important to note this was not an electronic data breach, but was instead limited to donations made in the services on March 8 and 9, 2014. You were not affected if you put your offering in a drop box, you gave online or through other electronic means, or you made a bookstore purchase."

Accounting for Osteen's bestselling books like "Your Best Life Now," his TV work on major networks like Fox and ABC Family, live tour appearances around the world and more, the Osteen church could be pulling in quite a lot more.

In reaction to the theft many Christians, fans, and sympathizers took to Twitter to express their grief:

Others had thoughts on the amount of money:

As the investigation continues, Lakewood Church officials are continuing to work with police and the insurance company that insures the church’s donations.

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