30 April 2012

The Osteens' "Night" of Hope in Washington, DC

The Night of Hope was a New Wave revival meeting that was held is a largely filled National's Park in Washington DC. Due to inclement weather, the event was rained out on Saturday night and held on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. That shift of dates might explain the number of empty seats behind home plate as many VIPs may not have been able to move mountains to delay their return flights.

National's Park set up for Olsteen's Night of Hope from the upper deck.
Joel Osteen, the scion of charismatic Lakewood Church founder John Osteen, has pastored the Houston non-denominational mega-church since 1999 and helped them acquire the former Compaq-center as their new worship space. So the large setting was not problematic but the rain was.

Osteen lifts spirits by combining elements of an evangelical tent revival with a squeeky clean rendition of a rock concert. Even the Osteen's entrance to the stage was televised and generated excitement among the gathered crowd.

Joel, Victoria and daughter Alexandra Osteen's entrance to the Night of Hope

Much like a rock concert or a major league sporting event, the Night of Hope offered sensory overload with preaching, music, video, scrolling billboards...

Helicopter with live action Scoreboard for Night of Hope

and fireworks!

Fireworks for the Night of Hope as seen from the Upper Deck.
The fireworks were not as stunning as originally planned due to the rain delay, as this pyrotechnic display would have lit up the twilight sky.  Still, the fireworks bolstered the message of praise from the stage. 

Victoria and Joel Osteen testifying with son Jonathan playing guitar
Although there was a large gospel choir, the music ministry rocked out their Christian inspired pop.  One of the guitarists for Joel and Victoria's backup band included their son Jonathan. The Night of Hope included a headline performance by season eight American Idol standout Danny Gokey playing his hit country song "My Best Days Are Ahead of Me".

Danny Gokey singing "My Best Days Are Ahead of Me".
Danny Gokey shares his life experience which illustrate "My Best Days Are Ahead of Me".
The tune complimented the seeds of hope that were sowed during the Night of Hope.


The Night of Hope was truly a family affair.  Aside from Joel and Victoria in the lead, their son Jonathan and daughter Alexandria were prominently involved in the music ministry.


The Matriarch of the family, Dodie Osteen poignantly preached about how the power of prayer saved her from a dire cancer diagnosis over thirty years ago. 

Delores "Dodie" Osteen testified about the power of prayer and how 20 key healing scriptural passages allowed her to survive cancer for over 30 years.
Joel Osteen and his mother Dodie hugging backstage during the Night of Hope
 Joel also enlisted his half brother Justin's help to highlight an international ministry.  Justin  Osteen is a medical doctor who spends much of the year in Africa to help the under-served.  When the collection plates were passed to the crowd, they were encouraged to adopt a child in abstentia through monthly Champion of Hope donations through the Osteen Ministries.  At least the pitch was less maudlin than Sally Struthers schtick.

The Night of Hope incorporated some of the local evangelical non-denominational church partners through a string of declaratory "prayers".

Joel Osteen keynotes the Capital Region pastors Declarations
The highlight to the Night of Hope were the segments where Joel Osteen preached his positive message.  Part of the event was filmed for a Trinity Broadcast Network special.  But the last segment of the program began with that familiar mantra "This is my bible..."

Joel Osteen preaching
While there was not a symposia of deep theology, Osteen's message about forgiveness, self worth and being open to moments of destiny were welcomed words to a receptive audience.

[L-R] Joel, Alexandra, Jonathan and Victoria Osteen

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