A STUDY OF THE DEMOGRAPHICS, EXPOSURE LEVELS, AND PERCEPTIONS OF THE VIEWING AUDIENCE OF PASTOR JOEL OSTEEN, AMERICA’S MOST POPULAR PREACHER

Michael S. Jeffress

Abstract


Joel Osteen is America’s most popular televangelist and pastor of the America's largest congregation, Lakewood Church in Houston, TX.  The 54-year old has been preaching since 1999, and his sermons air in over 200 U.S. markets and over 100 around the world.  This study provides a brief introduction to the man and his ministry and reports the results of a self-selective survey (N = 403), employing analysis of variance and correlation analysis to examine relationship between viewer exposure to Osteen and perceptions of him and his message through five measurement scales.  Key demographic variables are also considered for interaction effects.


Keywords


mass media, public communication, televangelism

Full Text:

PDF

References


The 50 Most Influential Christians in America. (2006, January) The Church Report. Retrieved from http://www.thechurchreport.com/mag_article.php?mid= 643&type=year.

________. (2007, January). The Church Report. Retrieved from

http://www.thecronline.com/mag_article.php?mid=875&mname=January

Abelman, R. (1987). Why do people watch religious television?: A uses and gratifications approach. Review of Religious Research. 29(2), 199-210.

________. (1988a). The impact of the PTL scandal on religious television viewers. Journal of Communication and Religion. 11(1), 41-51.

________. (1988b). Motivations for viewing the “700 Club.” Journalism Quarterly. 65(1), 112-18, 64.

________. (1989). “PTL Club” viewer uses and gratifications. Communication Quarterly. 37(1), 54-66.

________. (1990). News on the “700 Club” after Pat Robertson’s political fall. Journalism Quarterly. 67(1), 157-62.

________. (1991). Influence of news coverage of the "Scandal" on PTL Viewers. Journalism Quarterly, 68(1/2), 101-110.

Abelman, R., & Neuendorf, K. (1987). Themes and topics in religious television programming. Review of Religious Research. 29(2), 152-174.

Abelman, R., & Pettey, G. (1988). How political is religious television? Journalism Quarterly. 65(2/3), 313-19.

Alberts, S. (2005, December 31). Gotta have faith: As the head of America's 'gigachurch,' Joel Osteen isn't afraid to break a few rules. National Post, Toronto Edition, pg. A3.

Alexander, B. C. (1994). Televangelism reconsidered: Ritual in the search for human community. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994.

An arena that basketball fans once packed to see the NBA's Houston Rockets is about to take on a new role — home to the largest congregation in the nation. (2005, July 14). Associated Press Release. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/news/ nation/2005-07-14-largest-church_x.htm

Armstrong, R. N., Hallmark, J. R., & Williamson, L. K. (2005). Televangelism as institutional apologia: The religious talk show as strategized text. Journal of Media and Religion, 42(2), 67-83.

Blumenthal, R. (2006, March 30). A preacher's credo: Eliminate the negative, accentuate prosperity. The New York Times, p. E1.

Bourgault, L. M. (1985). The mediated ministry; The “PTL Club” and Protestant viewers: An ethnographic study. Journal of Communication. 35(1), 132-48.

Brown, L. L. (2006, June 10). Fans flock to NLR to see Osteen preach his three: Develop a habit of happiness. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, n.p.

Buddenbaum, J. M. (1981). Characteristics and media related needs of the audience of religious TV. Journalism Quarterly, 58(2), 266-72.

Byassee, J. (2005, July 12). Be happy: the health and wealth gospel. (Cover Story). The Christian Century, 122(4), 20-23.

Chang, I.-Y. (2006). Osteen, Joel. Current Biography, 67(1), 58-63.

Desel, J. (2004, December 14). Up Close: Houston’s rock star of a preacher.” Houston: KHOU-TV. Retrieved from http://www.khou.com/news/local/ spotlight/stories/ khou041213_jt_osteen.7fd8bb0.html

Dodds, D. (2006). Retrieved from http://www.ninesystems.com/company/press/pr05312006.php6.

Fan, D. P., Wyatt, R. O., & Keltner, K. (2001). The suicidal messenger: How press reporting affects public confidence in the press, the military, and organized religion. Communication Research, 28(6), 826-52.

Fore, W. F. (2007). The unknown history of televangelism. Media Development, 54(1), 45-48.

Frankl, R. (1988). A hybrid institution. Critical Studies in Mass Communication. 5(3), 256-59.

Gaddy, G. D. & Pritchard, D. (1985). The mediated ministry; When watching religious TV is like attending church. Journal of Communication, 35(1), 123-31.

Gangel, J. (2005, February 2). Joel Osteen doesn’t preach just to the choir. Retrieved from: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6894347/.

Garrett, Lynn. (2007, April 13). New Osteen book at three million. PW Daily—Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6433682.html.

Garrison, G. (2005, August 31). Smiling Houston preacher rockets to the top with upbeat message. Religion News Service.

Gerbner, G., et. al. (1984). Religion and television: A research report by the Annenberg School of Communication and the Gallup Organization. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.

Hadden, J. K. (1993). The rise and fall of American televangelism. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 527(1), 113-30.

Hadden, J. K. & Fankl, R. (1987). Star wars of a different kind: Reflections on the politics of the religion and television research project. Review of Religious Research 29(2), 101-110.

Hadden, J. K. & Swann, C. E. (1981). Prime time preachers: The rising power of televangelism. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Heslam, J. (2006, September 3). Rev-ved up over Joel; Country’s hottest preacher hits Hub. The Boston Herald, p. News 003.

Joel Osteen Ministries (n.d.). About Joel Osteen. Retrieved from https://www.joelosteen.com/Pages/AboutJoel.aspx

King, L. (Anchor). (2005, July 3). Larry King Live [Television broadcast]. Los Angeles: Cable News Network.

________. (Anchor. (2006, December 22). Larry King Live [Television broadcast]. Los Angeles: Cable News Network.

Knox, M. (2005, April 15). What can we learn from ticket scalpers? The Baptist Standard Retrieved from http://www.baptiststandard.com/postnuke/ index.php?module= htmlpages&func=display&pid=3230&print=1.

Lee, S., & Sinitiere, P. L. (2009). Holy mavericks: Evangelical innovators and the spiritual marketplace. New York: New York University Press.

Martin, W. (2005). Prime minister. (Cover story). Texas Monthly, 33(8), 106-175.

Miller, C., & Carlin, N. (2010) Joel Osteen as cultural selfobject: Meeting the needs of the group self and its individual members in and from the largest church in America. Pastoral Psychology 59(1), 27-51.

Moran, T. (Anchor). (2006, June 16). Nightline [Television broadcast]. New York: American Broadcasting Companies.

Osteen, J. (2004). Your best life now: 7 steps to living at your full potential, Large print ed. New York: Warner Faith.

Parker, E. C., Barry, D. W., & Smythe, D. W. (1955). The Television-radio audience and religion. New York: Harper and Brothers.

Peck, J. (1993). The god’s of televangelism: The crisis of meaning and the appeal of religious television. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Pettersson, T. (1986). The audiences' uses and gratifications of TV worship services. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 25(4), 391-409.

Prévos, A. (1990). Television as religion, religion as television? The case of the P.T.L. Journal of Popular Culture, 24(3), 113-30.

Ramirez, M. (2005, May 4). 'Smiling preacher' packs the pews, but message gives his critics pause. The Chicago Tribune.

Roberts, R., & Cuomo, C. (Anchors). (2006, December 12). Good Morning America [Television broadcast]. New York: American Broadcasting Corporation.

Romano, L. (2005, January 30). ‘The smiling preacher’ builds on a large following. The Washington Post, p. A01.

Ryan, Suzanne C. (2005, July 10). Uplifted. The Boston Globe, p. N1.

Savidge, M. (Reporter). (2006, March 16). The Today Show [Television broadcast]: National Broadcasting Corporation.

Schultze, Q. J. (1985). Vindicating the electronic church? An assessment of the Annenberg-Gallup study. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 2(3), 283-90.

Schultze, Q. J. (1988). Researching televangelism. Critical Studies in Mass Communication. 5(3), 271-75.

________. (1991). Televangelism and American culture: The business of popular religion. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Simmelkjaer, R. (Anchor). (16 June 2006). ABC inside the newsroom [Television broadcast]. New York: American Broadcasting Companies.

Smith, H. (Anchor). (21 October 2005). The Early show [Television broadcast]. New York: CBS Worldwide, Inc.

Tse, R. (21 October 2005). Interview with megachurch pastor Joel Osteen. Retrieved from http://www.christianpost.com/article/20051021/13777.htm.

Wilson, S. (2005, July 14). Investigators: A look at evangelist Joel Osteen. Detroit: WXYZ-TV. Retrieved from http://www.wxyz.com/wxyz/yx_investigations/

article/0,2132,WXYZ_15949_3927523,00.html.

Wright, C. (1989). Preaching to the converted: Conversion language and the constitution of the TV evangelical community. The Sociological Review. 37(4), 733-60.

Young, R. (2007) The rise of Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House.

Zagano, P. (1994). Media and the crisis of meaning. Journal of Communication. 44(4), 178-82.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17349/jmc117315

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Copyright (c) 2017 Journal of Media Critiques [JMC]

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.