"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Gospel Truth! 6 Things every writer can learn from Joel Osteen

I’m a big fan of Joel Osteen. Not because of his huge popularity as a T.V. personality and pastor of Lakewood Church, nor his role as a savvy businessman and best-selling author.

Each week I’m glued to the boob tube, because in addition to learning about the path to salvation---there’s a bonus. He epitomizes what it is to be an effective communicator. And as I see it, there’s a parallel of sorts: he delivers the “word” from the pulpit while writers deliver “the word” on paper.

Each role is a ministry, shaping the mindsets of the masses.
And every week his eloquence is reinforced time and time again.

Whether you write business letters, speeches, articles, or essays, are Catholic, Baptist, or Buddhist here are six elements he embodies in his sermons that can improve your writing technique.

1. Presentation is important---This may seem a bit sacrilegious, but he’s gorgeous to look at and he dresses to impress; which explains why his fan base is primarily composed of women. When writing, the same principle applies. Make sure your work is “nice to look at,” free of typos, improperly spelled words and poor formatting.

2. An effective lead draws your audience in---Every Sunday he starts his program off with a joke. Some are pretty good, others are a bit corny, but either way this unorthodox approach grabs your attention.

3. Anecdotes help to illustrate key points---Whether he talks about his mom’s faith in her battle with cancer, or humorous accounts of how his wife Victoria really discovered a “gem” when he met her at a jewelry store, it makes an impact and makes things clearer.

4. Expert quotes give credibility---He cites biblical passages and chapters and their respective authors as a way to give guidance and authority to his messages.

5. The take away factor---It’s virtually impossible to watch his show and not come away with a deeper understanding of biblical principles, or encouragement to handle difficult times, or pointers on improving your life. Your work should also connect with readers and make them feel that they know more than they did before and that their time was well spent.

6. A call to action---“Put God first and get into a bible-based church” he tells viewers in closing. Remember that endings are just as important as opening statements to give your audience proper closure and to reestablish your purpose.

By following these six tips you’ll improve the effectiveness of your messages while improving the quality of life and the bottom line of your readers.
And that’s the “gospel” truth.


  1. You know, I have actually been thinking along these lines lately. You summed it up nicely, with a lot more order than my disheveled thoughts!

    After blogging and writing for a while, I'm learning that a polished product can often reflect an attitude of the heart and a respect for the reader (or listener).

    Have a good week,
    Karen :)

  2. Thanks, Karen. No disagreement here. :-)

  3. I love Joel Osteen! Every now and again I attend a service at Lakewood. I like the way you wove writing techiniques to how he presents himself when he's giving a sermon. Simple and very true!

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 16, 2011 at 6:44 PM


    Ooh, I'd love to be in your shoes as far as being able to see him! Isn't he awesome? My mom and I have talked about traveling to see him one day! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Well said, Jennifer.

    I'm a huge Joel fan and watch just about every Sunday. Love his messaging and get goose-bumps each time he closes with "Do you receive it today".

    This is a really fine post and I enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

  6. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 17, 2011 at 5:43 AM


    How cool! You a fan too? I always get a great feeling after I watch. Have yet to purchase his books, but hope to do so soon. Good to hear from you again. :-)

  7. Jennifer, one thing I really like about Joel Osteen is that, let's face it, he's not the most dynamic speaker, but he's able to inspire millions of people to dream big for their lives. It's like a big Tony Robbins event every Sunday - know who you're meant to be and don't stop until you get there.

    Also, it's hard to beat Lakewood's music. ;)

  8. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 17, 2011 at 12:22 PM


    Thanks for your thoughts. I'll have to tune in to Lakewoood's music. I appreciate your time and feedback. :-)

  9. I *do* agree that Mr. Osteen is gorgeous to look at, which is an added bonus to his already-engaging sermons. I find inspiration and comfort in the words of a few religious leaders--Joel Osteen, Father John Corapi and Joyce Meyer, in particular. What I love about Joel is his quiet confidence, his polished and neat appearance, and the fact that he absolutely radiates encouragement. Makes you keep coming back for more because you want some of the stillness and positivity he has clearly got.

    Great way of linking his communication style to writing!

  10. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 17, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    Hi Janette,

    I agree. I'm also a fan of Joyce Meyer. I find her to be humorous, down to earth, and easy to follow. Thanks for adding to the conversation! Always good to hear from you. :-)

  11. Jennifer, I, too, enjoy Joel. It was a very interesting post and to read how you parallel his presentations with writing. So true. Thanks

  12. Barb,

    How nice to have you here. Glad you enjoyed the post. Visit again soon. :-)

  13. Hi Jennifer -

    I've written a number of devotionals, and the take-away factor is a huge element.

    I admire Joel's gracious attitude and good-natured responses to criticism. It's not about being thick skinned so much as exhibiting the love of God.

    Susan :)

  14. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 21, 2011 at 6:56 PM


    Well said! I love his sense of humor and his engaging style.

    I hope to try my hand at devotionals too this year. Aren't you a contributor to Cup of Comfort devotionals?