Joel Osteen's audience
In week 6 of the first semester of DC (our 21-month discipleship curriculum), we have a question about the audiences which Christ addressed in Matthew 11:28-30 and Matthew 16:24. Recognizing the different audiences helps to explain the markedly different style and substance of Christ's comments in those contexts. (This allows us to make the broader point about the importance of understanding audience and context in order to interpret the Bible properly.)
While looking in on a DC group this week, someone mentioned Joel Osteen's recent interview on 60 Minutes-- and it got me thinking further about Joel's primary audience. Although Joel should also minister to the believers in his church (in the style of Mt 16), his primary ministry is to non-believers (a la Mt 11), especially to those who don't imagine that they are welcome in the Kingdom of Heaven (as in the Beatitudes of Mt 5.)
Again, my data set on Joel Osteen is quite limited-- just the book review I wrote and a few anecdotes here and there...