HOUSTON — Joel Osteen has big Easter plans.
It’s one of Houston’s biggest churches, but this Easter there will be no big crowds. Osteen will preach online to an empty Lakewood Church.
The pastor is inviting a star-studded lineup to his virtual Sunday service.
Singer/songwriters Mariah Carey and Kanye West will perform, while actor/comedian Tyler Perry will offer uplifting words as the world battles through the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s really odd, I’ve never done it in 20 years, so I’m here now looking at it, you just have to imagine people are there,” Osteen said. "Part of the message is going to be in these difficult times to know that God is still directing our steps, He has us in the palm of His hand, it’s not a surprise to Him. We will talk about the resurrection of the savior as well, but I think part of it will always tie into choosing faith over fear."
All three guests will remote in for a taping Friday that will then air during the church’s services on Sunday. The service will be broadcast on Lakewood’s website.
Carey will also perform a special tribute to first responders, a church spokesperson confirmed. TMZ, which first broke the story, reports Carey will sing “Hero.”
It was several weeks ago when Osteen first decided to cancel in-person services.
“They had canceled the rodeo and then 30 minutes later the basketball season was canceled and that’s when I called our team and I said guys, we can’t have services this weekend, we are a basketball arena," Osteen said.
Houston police chief Art Acevedo and fire chief Sam Pena will attend the service.
West visited Lakewood Church back in November, where he took the stage with Osteen and spoke about his spiritual transformation.
In a 20-minute message, West talked about how he’s now in full service to God.
“All of that arrogance and confidence and cockiness that y’all seen me use before, God is now using for him,” West said at that November service.
He then led the church in prayer at the end of his message.
This Easter, Osteen hopes people will find joy in the simple things.
“You don’t have to be on a vacation or be moving into your dream home to enjoy life, to see the blessings around you."
The service will be taped Friday and will be broadcast Sunday morning.
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