Thomas Dexter Jakes Sr. (born June 9, 1957), known as T. D. Jakes, is a bishop, author and filmmaker. He is the bishop of The Potter’s House, a non-denominational American megachurch. Jakes’s church services and evangelistic sermons are broadcast on The Potter’s Touch, which airs on Lightsource.com, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Black Entertainment Television, the Daystar Television Network and The Word Network.
Other aspects of Jakes’s ministry include the annual festival MegaFest which draws more than 300,000 people, the annual women’s conference Woman Thou Art Loosed, and gospel music recordings. He hosted the T.D. Jakes Show, a nationally syndicated talk show produced by Tegna Media and distributed by Sony Pictures Television, until the show’s cancellation in March 2017.
A pastor’s career
In 1980, at age 23, Jakes became the pastor of Greater Emmanuel Temple of Faith, a storefront church in Smithers, West Virginia, with ten members. The congregation grew to encompass 100 members and was notable because it was racially integrated.
In 1990, Jakes moved to South Charleston, West Virginia, and his congregation grew again, to 300 members. In 1993 he moved to Cross Lanes, West Virginia, where the congregation grew to more than 1,100 people, of whom 60 percent were African American and 40 percent Caucasian.
In 1994, T. D. Jakes Ministries was established as a non-profit organization that produced televised sermons and conferences. From 1995 to 1996, Jakes hosted “Get Ready,” a weekly radio and television show with national distribution through syndication.
In 1996, Jakes, his wife and family, and a staff of 50 employees relocated to Dallas, Texas, where Jakes founded the Potter’s House, a non-denominational megachurch. Located on a 34-acre hilltop campus, the Potter’s House features a 5,000-seat auditorium, as well as offices for employees and staff. Between 1996 and 1998, church membership grew from 7,000 congregants to 14,000.
In 2005, Jakes accompanied President George W. Bush on his visit to the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. In his book Decision Points, President Bush describes Jakes as “a kind of man who puts faith into action.”
On January 20, 2009, Jakes led the early morning prayer service for President Barack Obama at St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., according to NBC News.
In 2009, Jakes partnered with Dr. Phil McGraw, Jay McGraw, and CBS Television Distribution to launch a syndicated, secular talk show; however, due to economic issues within the syndicated television market, the program never premiered.
In July 2015, Tegna, Inc. and Debmar-Mercury announced that a new secular talk show hosted by Jakes called T. D. Jakes would air a test run on Tegna stations in Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, and Minneapolis from August 17 to September 11, 2015. On May 10, 2016, Tegna announced that it would begin airing Jakes’s show September 12 in over 50 markets across the country. On March 15, 2017, Tegna announced that T. D. Jakes was cancelled due to poor ratings and low clearances.
Although Jakes was converted and ordained within Oneness Pentecostalism, he revealed in an interview with Mark Driscoll in 2012 that he affirms the Trinity, although Jakes did not affirm the eternality of the individual persons of the Trinity which is denied by Oneness churches.
Jakes is an advocate of sexual abstinence and has made appearances advocating it on Good Morning America and Dr. Phil.
In 2015, Jakes stated that his views on homosexuality and LGBT rights are evolving. However, Jakes stated that his words were misinterpreted and that while he does not support same-sex marriage, he “respect[s] the rights that this country affords those that disagree…”
Jakes’ album A Wing and a Prayer won the “Best Gospel or Chorus Album” at the 46th Grammy Awards in 2003. He has also received Grammy and Dove Award nominations for the gospel album “Live at The Potter’s House.” PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly named Jakes among America’s “Top 10 Religious Leaders.” Time magazine featured Jakes on the cover of its September 17, 2001, issue with the provocative question, “Is This Man the Next Billy Graham?”
On the PBS program African American Lives, Jakes had his DNA analyzed; his Y chromosome showed that he is descended from the Igbo people of Nigeria. According to his family history, it was suggested that he is also descended from them through his grandmother. Jakes was selected in Oprah’s SuperSoul100 list of visionaries and influential leaders in 2016.
Writings by Jakes
- Intimacy With God
- Loved by
- Before you throw in the towel
- Naked And Not Ashamed?
- Loose That Man And Let Him Go
- Loose That Man And Let Him Go Workbook
- Positioning Yourself To Prosper
- Reposition Yourself: Living a Life Without Limits
- He-Motions: Even Strong Men Struggle
- Help! I’m Raising My Children Alone: A Guide for Single Ladies and Those Who Sometimes Feel They Are
- Ten Commandments of Working in a Hostile Environment
- Promises From God For Single Women
- Woman, Thou Art Loosed: Healing the Wounds of the Past
- Woman, Thou Art Loosed Devotional
- The Lady, Her Lover, and Her Lord
- Maximize the Moment : God’s Action Plan for Your Life
- So You Call Yourself a Man?: Finally… a Devotional for Ordinary Men with Extraordinary Potential
- God’s Leading Lady
- His Lady
- Jesus Walks (with me)
- Lay Aside the Weight
- Daddy Loves His Girls
- The Greatest Investment
- Mama Made the Difference
- TD Jakes Speaks to Men
- Overcoming the Enemy
- From the Cross to Pentecost
- Life Overflowing: Six Pillars for Abundant Living
- Not Easily Broken, 2006
- Before You Do: Making Great Decisions That You Won’t Regret, 2008, Atria Books.
- The Memory Quilt: A Christmas Story for Our Times, 2009
- Let it Go: Forgive So You Can Be Forgiven, 2012
- Instinct: The Power To Unleash Your Inborn Drive, 2014, Hachette Book Group.
- Destiny: Step Into Your Purpose, August 2015, Hachette Book Group.
- Soar!: Build Your Vision from the Ground Up, 2017, FaithWords.
- Crushing: God Turns Pressure Into Power, April 2019, Hachette Book Group.
Films involving Jakes
- 2004: Woman Thou Art Loosed — As himself (based on Jakes’s novel of the same name)
- 2009: Not Easily Broken — Allen (based on another Jakes novel)
- 2011: Jumping the Broom — Reverend James
- 2010: Munya — Reverend Brian
- 2012: Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day – As himself
- 2012: Sparkle
- 2014: Heaven Is for Real – Producer
- 2014: Winnie Mandela – Producer
- 2016: Miracles from Heaven – Producer
- 2018: Faith Under Fire – Executive Producer