"If they would have asked us to become a shelter early on, we would have prepared for it," -Joel Osteen
I'd like to know if he actually said this.
Yes, he said this and something similar in an interview with NBC's Today Show.
Quotes from the interview, with emphasis added:
When asked why he didn't open initially:
[...] I think if people were here they'd realize, there were safety issues, this building had flooded before, and so we were just being precautious, but the main things is the city didn't ask us to become a shelter then.
When asked if he would do something differently if he could:
Yeah, I'm sure we would have done something differently, but uh, the fact is I don't know that we would have opened any sooner, because again there were safety issues. I think sometimes social media can be very powerful and it can create this false narrative, but if you're sitting in another state and you're not here, I mean, my niece was stranded right across the street from this building with nowhere to go. This building was one foot from flooding. If we didn't have our floodgates, it would have flooded. It's easy to say, 'Wow, there's that building. They're not using it.' But we don't have volunteers, we don't have staff that could get here. We're all about helping the city whenever we could, if they would have asked us to become a shelter early on, we would have prepared for it all and been ready to help. But hey, thank God we could do it now and help the city in this way.