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Pastor Joel Osteen bringing ‘Night of Hope’ to Detroit

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Detroit — Popular Pastor Joel Osteen said Monday that his “A Night of Hope” event planned for Comerica Park in Detroit next month is going to be “uplifting” to a city that can use a little love and hope.

The perpetually smiling Texas minister who pastors a nondenominational church of 50,000-plus members in Houston, said the July 23 event “is not necessarily a church service,” but more of a celebration with music, inspiring stories that will motivate people to seek the goodness of Christ in their lives.

Osteen, 53, came to Detroit a month early to tour the stadium and do a meet-and-greet with nearly 50 pastors and others to discuss his ministry and the event in a private session at the stadium’s Champions Club room.

“When it comes back to Detroit, our message is uplifting and empowering, and we felt there’s no better place to go now than Detroit with the tough times,” said Osteen in an interview just before his meeting with local pastors. “We’re just here to try to lift people’s spirits, let them know that God’s got them in the palm of his hand, and that good days are up ahead, and come out of these times stronger than before.”

Osteen, whose wife Victoria will be joining him for the 8th annual event, said the service should move “really fast with the longest segments being more like six minutes. His mother will speak on how God helped her overcome cancer and his wife will discuss relationships.

The first “A Night of Hope” outreach was in April of 2009 at Yankee Stadium just nine days after the ballpark opened. Others have been held in Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago and Marlins Park in Miami.

“We started with three and we never dreamed we’d do anymore,” Osteen said. “But it was very successful and they were sold out and all and so we’ve continued to do them for the last 12 years. We do one a month, a stadium a year. We keep it moving and fun and inspiring.”

Osteen is seen as a heavy-hitter among pastors in America. His website states that the nationally televised pastor has the largest church membership at his Lakewood Church in the country and has eight New York Times bestselling books and a syndicated radio program on SiriusXM radio.

In addition to the Night of Hope event, his church’s Generation of Hope Project has an outreach ministry that helps encourage other local churches to reach into Detroit to show hope and compassion to others and will work with organizations such as Forgotten Harvest and Habitat for Humanity Detroit two days before the event.

Bishop Charles Ellis, pastor of Greater Grace Temple church in Detroit, said a person with the ministry and character like Osteen to come to the city is “absolutely welcomed and needed.”

“A message of hope is what helps to be the impetus behind change,” Ellis said after meeting with Osteen. “If a person doesn’t have hope, then there’s no desire to change and certainly Pastor Osteen has been a master in helping to communicate in everyday terms to people, especially those who are un-churched, that you can live a better life, that you can improve yourself, that you don’t have to be what people tell you you are.”

Ellis said his 6,500-member church will be promoting the event and helping to spread the message.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. event are $15 and are available at www.joelesteen.com or Tickets.com.

lfleming@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2620

Twitter:@leonardnfleming