Bishop TD Jakes, pastor of The Potter’s House church and spiritual shepherd to millions around the world, began his ministry in 1979 in a small West Virginia church. That ministry has now grown into what Christianity Today calls “one of America’s fastest growing mega-churches” and CNN calls “the Smart Church of the 21st Century”.
In 1996, 50 families relocated with the Jakes family from West Virginia to Dallas and founded The Potter’s House Church. Since then, the multiracial nondenominational church has grown to more than 30,000 members, employs almost 400 staff members and has over fifty active outreach ministries. TD Jakes’ passion for helping hurting people shows itself within The Potter’s House ministries, which include Ravens Refuge, a homeless ministry; Operation Rehab, an outreach for prostitutes and the Transformation Treatment Program for drug and alcohol abusers.
T.D. Jakes has a unique speaking style and his sermons contain startling insights along with fresh and inspiring commentary, allowing the message to transcend both racial and gender barriers, enabling a diverse audience to understand and apply the teachings of Christ in their lives. His willingness to squarely confront issues often considered off limits in the church has endeared him to people seeking the relevance of the Gospel in their lives. Bishop Jakes’ passion filled sermons touch the lives of those seeking God’s restoration, reconciliation and healing by offering contemporary applications of the Bible’s timeless message. This ability lead Time Magazine to name Bishop T.D. Jakes “America’s Best Preacher” in September 2001.
T.D. Jakes is the CEO of The Potter’s House of Dallas, Inc., a nonprofit organization that has produced four major national conferences: ManPower, Woman, Thou Art Loosed and MefaFest. The ManPower conference seeks to encourage and equip men to increase their confidence, build strong marriages and to take on more responsibility within their community. Woman, Thou Art Loosed is a book turned conference which addresses the specific needs of women of all colors and races, speaking to their strengths rather than their weaknesses, empowering many women to go from welfare to work, from prison inmate to productive citizen. MegaFest is a family oriented festival combining ManPower, Woman, Thou Art Loosed along with theMega Youth Experience and MegaKidz symposiums. MegaFest 2005 was broadcast internationally, including live satellite broadcast into 350 U.S. prisons.
Bishop Jakes also founded the Metroplex Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in an effort to remedy social and economic disparities in urban America. MEDC has sponsored many home ownership and youth mentorship programs. In 2005, the NxLevel Entrepreneur Training Series was launched. The NxLevel ministry is a hands-on business development assistance program geared toward helping to expand and grow existing businesses by providing practical instruction on business planning and development.
In 1998, TD Jakes founded the world-class private college preparatory school – Clay Academy. Clay Academy currently serves pre-K through 8th grade with plans to extend through grade 12. The Clay Academy prep school focuses on the “whole child”, molding them spiritually, academically, athletically, artistically and technologically to achieve greatness.
Bishop Jakes’ ministries include an ambitious and widespread prison ministry. Every Potter’s House conference is broadcast live into prisons around the country. In addition, The Potter’s House has invested over $500,000 in programs and services that equip, empower, support and restore offenders and their families. A program called Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative (TORI), currently operates in Texas’ five major offender re-entry points – Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin and Houston. TORI helps to mainstream former offenders by offering substance abuse education, family and marriage counseling, pre-employment counseling and assistance for low-income families with enrollment in state and federal support programs. The ministry’s Adopt A Prison program contributes significantly by providing training to churches to better embrace and support former offenders and current prisoners, helping to reduce the recidivism rate of program participants.
TD Jakes is a ministerial and business visionary, an entrepreneurial trailblazer, an altruistic philanthropist. In the words of Charisma Magazine’s Ken Walker, Bishop Jakes’ message “. . . is about God’s supernatural ability, bestowed by a Lord who is color-blind and cares about each person . . .(Bishop Jakes) delivers the Word in such a lightning-rod fashion that he makes you believe that all things really are possible with God.”