Osteen brings 'Hope' to Chicago with Saturday show

A near sellout crowd of 40,000 will fill U.S. Cellular Field Saturday night when popular TV preacher Joel Osteen brings his national "A Night of Hope" tour back to Chicago.

While he's been criticized for preaching "cotton candy gospel," Osteen's hope-filled sermons have made his Texas-based Lakewood Church into the largest church in the United States.

Nearly 40,000 people attend Sunday services there each week, and he reaches a worldwide television audience of 200 million in 100 countries (in Chicago, he airs at 9 a.m. Sundays on WCIU).

Several members of Osteen's family will take the stage during the 2½-hour sermon- and music-filled event, including his mother, Dodie; his wife and co-paster, Victoria; and their two children.

"The whole atmosphere of the evening is so inspiring," Victoria Osteen said. "When (people) leave, they feel fantastic. They feel empowered. They feel inspired."

"A Night of Hope" has become an annual event that's brought the Osteens to Chicago many times. They also pop in for book signings (both are best-selling authors), or in Joel's case, to throw out the first pitch at a Chicago White Sox game earlier this year.

Victoria Osteen said people come back to see them year after year because the atmostphere lifts their spirits.

"They take something away from it that's going to help make them a better person. Or to help them get through this hard time. They feel strengthened and they can make it," she said. "God speaks to you individually when you need to hear it the most."

The Chicago show will be streamed live at

TV Pastor Joel Osteen preaches to a crowd at Yankee Stadium during a recent “Night of Hope” event. The tour stops in Chicago Saturday night. Photo courtesy of Joel Osteen Ministries

“A Night of Hope”

What: Preacher Joel Osteen and his family provide inspirational worship, sermons and music

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6

Where: U.S. Cellular Field, 333 W. 35th St., Chicago

Tickets: $15, plus $4.10 in Ticketmaster fees;