Meet T.D. Jakes

T.D. Jakes was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia. Described as a boy as being opinionated, stubborn, and driven, he is a man with a mission, a man with a message, and a man on the move.

Jakes says he was called by God to preach at the age of 17, but he had no idea his ministry would affect such multitudes. His first pulpit experiences were filled with nervousness and fear. While preaching, he would thrust his hands behind his back to hide their shaking. He began his ministry in 1979, establishing a storefront church with 10 members in Montgomery, West Virginia-the Greater Emanuel Temple of Faith. Relocating in 1990 to Charleston, West Virginia, the Temple of Faith grew to over 1,000 members.

In 1996, T.D. Jakes, his family, and 50 staff members of T.D. Jakes Ministries moved 1,100 miles to plant a church in Dallas, quickly filling a 5000-seat sanctuary. Today he serves as senior pastor of one of the fastest growing mega-churches in the country, The Potter's House, which has more than 15,000 members and a 28-acre facility in southwest Dallas. Though larger than Temple of Faith, ministry characteristics remain the same, with an emphasis on deep inner healing and practical life-application of Christian principles. The Potter's House is currently developing a 232-acre "City of Refuge," which will include housing for senior citizens, a safe house for abused women, rehabilitation for drug users, an AIDS support center, and education for all who need it. At groundbreaking ceremonies, Texas Governor George Bush praised Jakes and his congregation as "social entrepreneurs."

T.D. Jakes delivers the Word in such a lightning-rod fashion that he makes you really believe that all things really are possible with God. His ministry crosses boundaries of geography, race, ethnicity, class, gender, and denomination. "There's something inside of him that comes flooding out," says Sherman Watkins, presiding bishop of the Pentecostal fellowship that Jakes serves as vice bishop. "He's pregnant with God's purpose."

Jakes is the author of over a dozen books, six of which have been national bestsellers: Woman, Thou Art Loosed, which sold more than 800,000 copies in 1996 and was recently adapted into a musical recording and nominated for a 1997 Dove Award; Loose That Man and Let Him Go; Daddy Loves His Girls; Can You Stand to Be Blessed; Naked and Not Ashamed; and The Harvest. Having recently lost over 100 pounds himself, he shared his story inLay Aside the Weight.

His "Woman, Thou Art Loosed," "Manpower," and "When Shepherds Bleed" conferences attract thousands of participants. He hosts the internationally broadcasted television program, "Get Ready." He preaches regularly at The Potter's House, delivering sermons with Pentecostal fervor, focusing on the restoration, reconciliation, and healing of hurting people. His services are known for poetic messages, joyful worship, and soulful praise. He no longer hides his hands behind his back to camouflage their trembling.

His recent project is the Six Pillars from Ephesians series. The books that make up this series are Loved by God, which discusses spiritual wealth; Experiencing Jesus, on spiritual workmanship; Intimacy with God, about spiritual worship; Life Overflowing, on the spiritual walk; Celebrating Marriage, which focuses on the spiritual wedding; and Overcoming the Enemy, about spiritual warfare.

T.D. Jakes holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from West Virginia State University, and has earned a master's and a doctor of ministry degree. He and Serita, his wife of 26 years, have six children and live in the Dallas area.

Updated June 2003.

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