Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word and His grace. A pastor at heart, Chuck has served as senior pastor to congregations in Texas, Massachusetts, and California. Since 1998, he has served as the founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, but Chuck’s listening audience extends far beyond a local church body. As a leading program in Christian broadcasting since 1979, Insight for Living airs in major Christian radio markets around the world, reaching people groups in languages they can understand. Chuck’s extensive writing ministry has also served the body of Christ worldwide and his leadership as president and now chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry. Chuck and Cynthia, his partner in life and ministry, have four grown children and ten grandchildren.
Call to Ministry
While on the island of Okinawa during his tour of duty in the United States Marine Corps, Chuck recognized that the Lord was calling him to devote his life to the gospel ministry. With Cynthia, his partner in life for more than fifty-one years, Chuck has devoted himself to the challenge of communicating practical, biblical truth and its application in the context of God’s grace.
After being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, Chuck enrolled in Dallas Theological Seminary [DTS]. Chuck’s course of study at DTS and the lifelong mentors he met there have permanently marked his life and the course of his ministry.
Chuck graduated magna cum laude from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1963 with three major honors:
- Harry A. Ironside Award for Expository Preaching
- Christian Education Award for the greatest achievement in the field of his academic major
- Faculty Award for the most outstanding graduate in the opinion of the faculty
Chuck has also received four honorary doctorate degrees in recognition of his outstanding contributions to ministry:
- Doctor of Divinity, Talbot Theological Seminary, 1977
- Doctor of Humane Letters, Taylor University, 1986
- Doctor of Laws, Pepperdine University, 1990
- Doctor of Literature, Dallas Baptist University, 1997
For more than forty years, Chuck’s pulpit ministry has emphasized the grace of God alongside an uncompromising commitment to practical, biblical truth and its application. He has served the following congregations in his pastoral ministry:
- Grace Bible Church, Dallas, Texas, Assistant Pastor, 1963–1965
- Waltham Evangelical Free Church, Waltham, Massachusetts, 1965–1967
- Irving Bible Church, Irving, Texas, 1967–1971
- First Evangelical Free Church, Fullerton, California, 1971–1994
- Stonebriar Community Church, Frisco, Texas. In October of 1998, Chuck founded Stonebriar Community Church, where he continues to serve as senior pastor.
As a pastor, Chuck has received the following awards:
- Clergyman of the Year, Religious Heritage of America, 1988
- Named one of the top twelve preachers in the nation by the Effective Preachers Program of Baylor University and George W. Truett Theological Seminary, 1997
- Ranked second to Rev. Billy Graham in a 2009 survey which asked 800 Protestant pastors to name the living Christian preachers who most influenced them (survey conducted by LifeWay Research).
Insight for Living
Chuck’s congregation extends far beyond the local church body. Through theInsight for Living broadcast, Chuck’s teaching is on the air in every major Christian radio market in all fifty states and through more than 2,100 outlets worldwide in numerous foreign languages, and it is also available to an exploding Webcast and podcast audience. While Chuck serves as chairman of the board, his wife, Cynthia, serves as president and chief executive officer of Insight for Living. They have directed its expansion to become one of the leading radio programs in Christian broadcasting. Their leadership has made Chuck’s messages accessible to 100 percent of the world’s population. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Insight for Living now has a staff of over 125 employees. We also maintain offices in Melbourne for our Australian listeners, in Brasilia for our Brazilian listeners, in Vancouver for our Canadian listeners, and in London for our listeners in the United Kingdom.
As teacher on Insight for Living, Chuck has received the following awards:
- Program of the Year, National Religious Broadcasters, 1994
- Religious Broadcaster of the Year, National Religious Broadcasters, 1999
- Hall of Fame Award, National Religious Broadcasters, 2000
Chuck’s prolific writing ministry has blessed the body of Christ for over thirty years. Beginning with You and Your Child in 1977, Chuck has contributed more than seventy titles to a worldwide reading audience. His most popular books in the Christian Bookseller’s Association include: Strengthening Your Grip, Improving Your Serve, Dropping Your Guard, Living on the Ragged Edge, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, The Grace Awakening, Simple Faith, Laugh Again, The Finishing Touch, Intimacy with the Almighty, Suddenly One Morning,The Mystery of God’s Will, Wisdom for the Way, The Darkness and the Dawn, A Life Well Lived, and the Great Lives from God’s Word series, which includesJoseph, David, Esther, Moses, Elijah, Paul, Job, Jesus: The Greatest Life of All,and his most recent addition, The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal.
As a writer, Chuck has received the following awards:
- Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement Award, Evangelical Press Association, 1997
- Twelve Gold Medallion Awards
Dallas Theological Seminary
After serving as Dallas Theological Seminary’s fourth president for seven years (1994–2001), Chuck became the seminary’s chancellor in 2001. As the sixth-largest seminary in the world, DTS’s primary goal is to equip godly servant-leaders for the proclamation of God’s Word and the building up of the body of Christ worldwide, a mission Chuck wholeheartedly supports in his life and teaching. He continues to uphold the school’s motto, “Preach the Word,” as he serves in leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary, at Insight for Living, and at Stonebriar Community Church.
Henry T. Blackaby is the founder and president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries International, an organization built to help people experience God.
Born in British Columbia, Dr. Blackaby has devoted his lifetime to ministry. He has served as a music director, education director, and pastor in churches in California and Canada, as well as president of Canadian Baptist Theological College for seven years and president of the Canadian Southern Baptist Conference. He has provided leadership to thousands of pastors and laymen across North America and has spoken to missionaries and other groups in over ninety countries of the world.
Dr. Blackaby studied English and history at the University of British Columbia as an undergraduate and earned his B.D. and Th.M. from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds four honorary doctorate degrees.
In 1970, Dr. Blackaby followed God’s call to pastor a tiny church in Saskatoon, Canada. Not only did Faith Baptist Church grow to many times its original membership, but it led to the founding of thirty-eight new churches and became a center for pastoral training.
Dr. Blackaby went on to serve on staff at the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through the Home Mission Board, he led revival and spiritual awakening in the life of the convention. He also served as special assistant to the presidents of the International Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources. Although he is now officially retired, Dr. Blackaby continues to provide consultative leadership in the life of the Christian community.
Blackaby has published an array of spiritually influential messages in his lifetime, most notably Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (1990), which has sold 7 million copies and has been translated into over 45 languages. His books, Experiencing God Together and Experiencing God Day by Day Devotional, both won the Gold Medallion Award.
Henry lives with his wife, Marilynn, in Rex, Georgia. He has five children (Richard, Tom, Melvin, Norman, and Carrie), all of whom are serving in Christian ministry, and fourteen grandchildren. His long-range goal is to encourage revival and spiritual awakening in the United States, Canada, and across the world through speaking, praying, enlisting, writing and mentoring. His hobbies are reading and traveling.
Max Lucado loves words – written, spoken – it does not matter. He loves to craft sentences that are memorable, inspiring and hopefully life-changing. In almost 25 years of writing, more than 100 million products—80 million books—filled with his words have been sold.
Max is the only author to have won three Christian Book of the Year* awards—in 1999 for Just Like Jesus, in 1997 for In the Grip of Grace, and in 1995 for When God Whispers Your Name. In 2005, Reader’s Digest magazine dubbed him “America’s Best Preacher” and in 2004, Christianity Today magazine called him “America’s Pastor.” The product line for 3:16—The Numbers of Hope sold more than four million units worldwide, including one million units of the cornerstone trade book of the same title (released in September 2007), making it the fastest selling Lucado product in his career. His latest, Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference (September 2010) hit both the Publishers Weekly and New York Times bestseller lists and has been featured on “Fox & Friends” and “CNN American Morning.” He has participated on the “Good Morning America” Christmas Day panel in 2009 and 2010.
His works have appeared on every major national bestseller list including Publishers Weekly, USA Today, The New York Times, Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and Christian Booksellers Association. He has been featured in countless media outlets and national broadcasts.
Max’s writings have been published in a wide array of formats including adult books, gift books, children’s titles, Bibles, commentaries, calendars and devotionals. He is also the author/creator of “Max Lucado’s Hermie & Friends” brand family, one of the most popular animated DVD series in the marketplace, with more than 5 million units sold to date. His words have also inspired a branded line of greeting cards and gift books for Hallmark/Dayspring that has sold more than 15 million copies since its 2001 debut. He is currently serving as a contributing editor for Leadership Journal magazine.
Max Lucado is a Minister of Preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio,where he has served since 1988. He has been married to Denalyn Preston Lucado since 1981, and they have three grown daughters—Jenna, Andrea and Sara—and one son-in-law, Brett.
Birth Place: San Angelo, TX
Graduate: Andrews High School, Andrews, TX
- BA: Mass Communications, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX
- MA: Biblical and Related Studies, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX
- Associate Minister, Central Church of Christ, Miami, FL
- Church Planning Missionary, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Currently serving as a Preaching Minister, Oak Hills Church, San Antonio, TX
LTCOL OLIVER OLIVER L. NORTH, USMC (Ret.)
Oliver North is a combat decorated U.S. Marine, a #1 best-selling author, the founder of a small business, an inventor with three U.S. patents, a syndicated columnist, and the host of “War Stories” on Fox News Channel.
North was born in San Antonio, Texas, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and served 22 years as a Marine officer. His awards for service in combat include the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for valor and two Purple Hearts for wounds in action.
Assigned to the National Security Council staff in the Reagan administration, LtCol North was the United States government’s counter-terrorism coordinator from 1983-1986. He was involved in planning the rescue of 804 medical students on the island of Grenada and played a major role in the daring capture of the terrorists who hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro. After helping plan the U.S. raid on Muammar Qaddafi’s terror bases in Libya, North was targeted for assassination by Abu Nidal, the infamous terrorist killed in Baghdad in August, 2002. President Ronald Reagan described North as “an American hero.”
Since 2001, he has been the host of “War Stories” – the award-winning military documentary series on Fox News Channel -- and has been embedded with more than 55 U.S. and allied combat units. North has authored thirteen books, all of them New York Times best sellers. His latest, Heroes Proved is a gripping tale of intrigue and duplicity at the highest levels of the U.S. Government.
North serves on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association and is the founder of Freedom Alliance, a foundation providing college scholarships to the sons and daughters of U.S. military personnel killed in the line of duty. He claims his most important accomplishment is being “the husband of one, the father of four and the grandfather of fourteen.”
Luis Palau (loo-EES puh-LAOW) and his ministry have shared the Gospel with more than 1 billion people through evangelistic events and media. He has spoken in person to 30 million people in 75 countries with more than 1 million registered decisions for Jesus Christ. He has authored close to 50 books, contributed articles on issues of faith to countless publications, and counseled business leaders, political leaders, and heads of state around the world.
Luis’ radio broadcasts in English and Spanish are heard by millions on 3,500 radio outlets in 48 countries. Among other top-tier programs, Luis currently hosts Luis Palau Responde, an international Q&A program in Spanish that deals with spiritual issues ranging from marriage to the occult, and Reaching Your World, a devotional-style program featuring tools for evangelism and biblical wisdom broadcast daily on some of the most popular Christian radio stations in the United States.
Luis Palau festivals have produced some of the largest audiences ever recorded in cities from south Florida to South America. His ministry also includes a number of alliances that allow partners in ministry to collaborate, draw guidance and resources from Palau’s vast experience, and become equipped to reach the world for Christ. More than 400 evangelists are currently a part of Alliance Ministries, which includes the Next Generation Alliance, the Livin It Alliance, and the Creative Arts Alliance.
Luis’ latest book, Changed by Faith, a biblically literate resource for those struggling with difficult times, was released in the United States in 2011. Luis and his wife, Pat, live in Portland, Oregon, along with their four sons, three of whom are actively involved in the ministry, and twelve grandchildren.
For thirty-four years Ravi Zacharias has spoken all over the world and in numerous universities, notably Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford University. He has addressed writers of the peace accord in South Africa, the president’s cabinet and parliament in Peru, and military officers at the Lenin Military Academy and the Center for Geopolitical Strategy in Moscow. He has been privileged to bring the main address at the National Day of Prayer in Washington, DC, an event endorsed and co-hosted by President George W. Bush, and at the Pentagon. Additionally, Mr. Zacharias has spoken twice at the Annual Prayer Breakfast at the United Nations in New York, which marks the beginning of the UN session each year, and at the invitation of the President of Nigeria, he addressed the delegates at the First Annual Prayer Breakfast for African Leaders, held in Mozambique.
Mr. Zacharias was born in India in 1946 and immigrated to Canada with his family twenty years later. While pursuing a career in business management, his interest in theology grew; subsequently, he pursued this study during his undergraduate education. He received his Masters of Divinity from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. Well-versed in the disciplines of comparative religions, cults, and philosophy, he held the chair of Evangelism and Contemporary Thought at Alliance Theological Seminary for three and a half years. Mr. Zacharias has been honored by the conferring of a Doctor of Divinity degree both from Houghton College, NY, and from Tyndale College and Seminary, Toronto, and a Doctor of Laws degree from Asbury College in Kentucky. He is presently a Visiting Professor at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University in Oxford, England.
At the invitation of Billy Graham he was a plenary speaker at the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam in 1983, 1986, and 2000. Mr. Zacharias has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University, where he studied moralist philosophers and literature of the Romantic era. While at Cambridge he also authored his first book, A Shattered Visage: The Real Face of Atheism (Baker Book House, 1994, 2nd ed.), which in 2004 was updated and republished by Baker as The Real Face of Atheism. His second book, Can Man Live without God (Word Publishing, 1994), was awarded the Gold Medallion for best book in the category of doctrine and theology. Deliver Us from Evil (Word, 1996) followed with an accompanying video series. Cries of the Heart (Word, 1998) was his fourth book. His first children’s book, The Merchant and the Thief (Chariot Victor), was released in 1999, followed by The Broken Promise (Chariot Victor, 2000). Jesus Among Other Gods (Word, 2000) was nominated for a Gold Medallion. The first in a series of great conversations, The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha was released by Multnomah in 2001, and the second, Sense and Sensuality: Jesus Talks with Oscar Wilde, in 2002. Mr. Zacharias’ very personal response to the September 11th tragedy is Light in the Shadow of Jihad (Multnomah, 2002). Recapture the Wonder was released by Integrity Publishers in 2003 and I, Isaac Take Thee, Rebekah, a book on marriage, in February 2004 by the W Publishing Group. His latest work is Walking From East to West: God in the Shadows (with R.S.B. Sawyer) published by Zondervan (2006). Several of these books have been translated into many other languages including Russian, Arabic, Korean, and Thai.
Mr. Zacharias is listed as a distinguished lecturer with the Staley Foundation and has appeared on CNN and other international broadcasts. His weekly radio program, "Let My People Think," is broadcast over 1500 stations worldwide, and his weekday program, "Just Thinking," began airing in November 2004. He is president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with additional offices in Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Zacharias and his wife, Margie, have three grown children.
Evangelist Billy Graham took Christ literally when He said in Mark 16:15, "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature."
Mr. Graham has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history-nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories-through various meetings, including Mission World and Global Mission. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film, and webcasts.
Since the 1949 Los Angeles crusade vaulted Mr. Graham into the public eye, he has led hundreds of thousands of individuals to make personal decisions to live for Christ, which is the main catalyst of his ministry.
Born November 7, 1918, four days before the Armistice ended World War I, Mr. Graham was reared on a dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina. Growing up during the Depression, he learned the value of hard work on the family farm, but he also found time to spend many hours in the hayloft reading books on a wide variety of subjects.
In the fall of 1934, at age 16, Mr. Graham made a personal commitment to Christ through the ministry of Mordecai Ham, a traveling evangelist, who visited Charlotte for a series of revival meetings.
Ordained in 1939 by a church in the Southern Baptist Convention, Mr. Graham received a solid foundation in the Scriptures at Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College in Florida). In 1943 he graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois and married fellow student Ruth McCue Bell, daughter of a missionary surgeon, who spent the first 17 years of her life in China.
Bruce Wilkinson is a popular speaker, #1 New York Times best-selling author, leader of various global and humanitarian causes, and media producer.
Author and Publisher. He has written over 60 books in 30 languages, been #1 in New Bruce Wilkinson and FamilyYork Times, #1 in the Wall Street Journal, and #1 in USA Today. His is the only book in history to win "Book of the Year" two years in a row. Publisher's Weekly reported The Prayer of Jabez as the "fastest selling book of all time" (2001), and the only religious non-fiction to hit the #1 New York Times best-seller list in first week was A Life God Rewards. He is also the New York Times best-selling author for children and teen books, the Publisher and Executive Editor of ten monthly magazines with over 120,000,000 distributed. Bruce has served on the Overview Committee of the New King James Version of the Bible, as well as is the author of the Outlines of the Books of the Bible for the best-selling Open Bible, and is Executive Editor of three Bibles. He is the author of The Prayer of Jabez, The Secrets of the Vine, A Life God Rewards, Beyond Jabez, Set Apart, Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs, and The DreamGiver.
Other Highlights for Bruce Include
Popular Speaker and Curriculum Developer. Bruce built the largest seminar organization to the religious market in the world and has been the keynote speaker to Presidents, CEO's, Marriage and Family conferences and major national events including stadiums of 30,000 to 80,000. He trained 100,000 professional teachers in Teaching for Life Change. He is also a trainer of coaches in the DreamGiver methodology of discovering and fulfilling your dream.
Global and Organizational Leadership. Dr. Wilkinson has conducted and keynoted national leadership conferences literally around the world. He has launched and led the massive global initiative, WorldTeach that recruited and trained over 30,000 indigenous leaders in 83 nations to conduct various life skill courses.
He has held private meetings with the presidents of Nigeria, Swaziland, Namibia, Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Zambia, Botswana, and various leaders in US Congress, Senate, and US International Agencies and also chaired a major multi-organizational movement (87 national organizations) who joined together at the request of the Department of Education of Russia to train national teachers on "Morals and Ethics" and various teaching methodologies.
Humanitarian Efforts and Volunteer Mobilization. Bruce launched Heart for Africa (previously Dream for Africa) which mobilized first-world volunteers who planted over 500,000 backyard vegetable gardens for the orphans and hungry. He also launched the "Beat the Drum for AIDS" movement and recruited over 1,000 college students from eleven nations to conduct week-long AIDS training in every high school in the #1 HIV/AIDS nation in the world with dramatic results solidified by various local initiatives. He also led major reconciliation conferences in Uganda (tribal reconciliation of 5,000 for five days), Namibia (racial reconciliation/white farmers issues"two days, largest leadership conference in nation's history), South Africa (10,000 attendances over 3 days with major religious reconciliation), etc.
Media Appearances and Video/Film Production. At the request of the President of Kenya (President Moi), Dr. Wilkinson worked to produce the most award-winning motion picture on AIDS: Beat the Drum (28 awards), now in distribution in over 100 nations. He has been a featured guest on many major television and radio shows, and has been a keynote speaker on over a hundred internationally distributed video/TV sessions. He is currently working on a major new Hollywood motion picture
Bruce is married to Darlene with three children and six grandchildren. The Wilkinson's reside in Atlanta, Georgia.
Franklin Graham, Christian Leader
Franklin serves as president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse—respected not-for-profit organizations with combined annual budgets of more than $439 million. He has met privately with five U.S. Presidents as well as world leaders from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Using traditional and social media and speaking opportunities, Franklin regularly speaks to current moral and social issues, challenging Christians to make a difference in the world. He also offers biblical context and application to current national and world events. Through the organizations he leads he has been instrumental in helping people impacted by crises including the 9-11 terrorist attacks, civil war in Sudan and natural disasters ranging from the tsunami in South Asia to the massive earthquakes in China, Haiti and Japan.
Franklin Graham, Evangelist
Franklin conducted his first evangelistic event in 1989 and now conducts Franklin Graham Festivals around the world for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). He has preached to more than 7 million people in cities from Johannesburg, South Africa to Tupelo, Miss.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association appointed Franklin Graham CEO in 2000 and president of the organization in 2001.
Franklin Graham, International Relief Worker
"I've been called to the slums of the streets and the ditches of the world." —Franklin Graham
When Franklin was in his early twenties, Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of Samaritan's Purse, invited Franklin to join him on a six-week mission to Asia. It was during that time that Franklin felt a calling to work with hurting people in areas of the world affected by war, famine, disease, poverty and natural disaster.
Franklin was elected to the Board of Samaritan's Purse in 1978, and one year later, following the death of Dr. Pierce, he was elected president of the organization. Today, he serves as president and CEO of the international relief and evangelism organization headquartered in Boone, N.C. It has affiliate offices in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, plus partners and field offices around the world.
Growing Up Graham
William Franklin Graham III, born July 14, 1952, is the fourth of five children of evangelist Billy Graham and his wife, the late Ruth Bell Graham. Raised in a log home in the Appalachian Mountains outside Asheville, N.C., Franklin now lives in Boone, N.C.
In his autobiography, Rebel with a Cause, Franklin explained that "just being the son of Billy Graham won't get me into heaven." He knew that he was being called to do more with his life and to make a real commitment to God. So at age 22, after a period of rebellion and traveling the world, Franklin committed his life to Jesus Christ while alone in a hotel room in Jerusalem.
Franklin and his wife, Jane, have four children, Will, Roy, Edward, and Cissie, and eight grandchildren.
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.”