Lakewood starts drive-through healing service

February 8, 2010 8:59:15 PM PST
Houston's Lakewood Church and Pastor Joel Osteen have changed the way a lot of people worship, and now Lakewood is starting a new service designed for people too ill to come to church. It's the idea of Dodie Osteen, Joel's mother and widow of the late John Osteen who founded Lakewood. Her ministry is healing and she's doing it outside the church walls - literally. When you think of Lakewood Church, you think of a congregation large enough to fill a former basketball arena several times over. But there is another side to the church.

"Just believe that the people who come today will get healed," said Dodie Osteen.

On a recent overcast winter morning in front of the building, a new program was launched. It's a drive through healing service led by Dodie Osteen, who says she received a message she couldn't ignore.

"He just said in my heart, why don't you have a drive by healing service? And it's the first one I've ever had. I didn't know what would happen, but if one person comes that doesn't matter. I'm doing what God told me to do," said Dodie.

For Dodie, it's personal. It goes back to 1981 when Lakewood, founded by her late husband, Pastor John Osteen, was growing into the church it is today. She was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and given a few weeks to live. She says she prayed without wavering for a full recovery. There was. She is now a vibrant 76 years old.

"I wish it wouldn't have happened to me, but if it hadn't I wonder if I could have helped other people. We don't know why we go through things. We just have to trust God," said Dodie.

She conducts a traditional healing service each month, recently adding one for children with medical issues. The drive service is for anyone too ill to attend those.

"In the name of Jesus do a corrective miracle for Miss Lovie and make her whole, Father," prayed Dodie.

Because of her health, Lovie Louise McNeil hasn't been able to get to church. She didn't expect she could until this day.

"Honey, this is a blessing, truly a blessing. I'm truly grateful," said McNeil.

A prayer team also attends to those in need. Among them is a young woman whose dying mother in her final weeks met Mrs. Osteen.

"She climbed in the back of that ambulance and prayed with my mom and at that moment, I saw a hope and compassion that I have never experienced, but it changed my life," said prayer team volunteer Adrian Bridges.

The first drive through service was advertised by word of mouth. Though small by Lakewood standards, it seems small though it will grow. Yet it did what was intended by creating hope where there might have been none. Dodie Osteen will tell you she's a living example

"You know what, I can come to them. And I'm perfectly willing to do that. If I have to crawl out there to them, I'll do that," said Dodie.

Mrs. Osteen plans to schedule more of the drive-through healing services when the weather improves. The cold temperatures and rain aren't good for people with health issues.