KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Joel Osteen travels around the country to preach to large crowds. Back home in Houston 43,500 attend his Lakewood Church every week. Osteen is also seen in over 100 countries. He's considered one of the most influential ministers in the world.
WILLIAMS: How many cities do you usually go to a year?
OSTEEN: Typically 12, about one a month, that's our goal is to do one of these a month.
WILLIAMS: What got you in the ministry?
OSTEEN: I worked 17 years for my parents behind the scenes at the church and my dad had a heart attack and died in 1999, and I felt like I was supposed to pastor.
WILLIAMS: A lot of people call you the smiling preacher, where did that come from?
OSTEEN: They nicknamed me in the press, I guess, I do smile a lot, at first I think they were making it derogatory toward me, but I never took it that way because I have always been joyful and happy.
WILLIAMS: That's who you are, you're a positive guy right?
OSTEEN: I really am, I never planned on being a minister, those 36 years before I was in front of people I was always happy, optimistic, smiling, just who I am. "
WILLIAMS: Many ministers talk about sin; you talk about mercy.
OSTEEN: I do, I believe I talk about sin, but I don't do it in the traditional way all the time, I always give an altar call at the end and all, but I talk about making good decisions and honoring God with your life. I'm always not as traditional as my father, but I believe the Bible; it says it's the goodness of God that leads people to repentance so I believe telling people you can overcome addiction, or you can let go of the past, or you can be a better father.I think too, the message is positive, hopeful -- a lot of people are pushing people down these days, I think that resonates with people, you tell them that's God's will for them, they can move forward, not how bad you are and how you aren't going to make it."