There are a myriad of words to describe T.D. Jakes: Pastor. Global leader. Best-selling author. Filmmaker. Real estate industrialist. Conference producer. The senior pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas, Jakes blazed the trail in bringing a message of hope to millions around the world through any mode of communication, never being limited to just the pulpit.
He has counseled several U.S. presidents and been the guest of numerous leaders around the world. Jakes will be honored for his 45 years of ministry at a special worship service on Sunday, Sept. 26, at The Potter’s House beginning at 9 a.m. CT, set to feature special guests and tributes.
Jakes began his ministry in West Virginia at the age of 19. Now 64 years old, Jakes has reached the masses through his various ministries and enterprises. Since starting The Potter’s House in Dallas in 1996 with 50 families, more than 30,000 members now attend the megachurch’s multiple campuses, with millions more attending online around the world. The Potter’s House mission is carried out through global humanitarian outreach, inspirational conference series, media and entertainment venues, and thought leadership forums.
Key international events created by Jakes include:
Woman, Thou Art Loosed!
What began as a Sunday school curriculum turned into a cornerstone of Jakes’ ministry. Now a conference, a book, a play and a movie, Woman, Thou Art Loosed! reaches into the souls of women and catapults them into the confidence to live as God intended. The first Woman, Thou Art Loosed! conference was held in Atlanta in 2004, hosting approximately 45,000 women. The conference continues to attract thousands from around the world.
International Leadership Summit
Jakes’ leadership in the religious arena has led him to host an annual leadership conference for people of faith. Drawing in more than 10,000 leaders globally, the International Leadership Summit has featured industry leaders like Tyler Perry and Denzel Washington to teach others how to succeed in their areas of work.
This conference for men began in 1993 to help men of all races and backgrounds address specific needs, hurts and struggles from a biblical perspective. The conference grew from 2,500 to 20,000 attendees.
Combining Jakes’ conferences and the International Faith & Film festival into one, MegaFest is considered one of the largest faith-based international conferences in America. In 2015, more than 91,000 people attended to hear from a wide array of international speakers. In 2008, the global gathering was held in Johannesburg and contributed more than 60 million South African rand to the local economy.
Tapping into the digital world to further Jakes’ message, the Bishop’s Village offers on-demand subscribers unique, behind-the-scenes insights into the workings of the T.D. Jakes “machine.” Viewers are treated to videos and other online content, including (but not limited to) worldwide speaking engagements, conferences, business seminars, meeting preparations and sermon notes that are not available on any other Jakes platform.
Other Key Milestones
- 1993: launched a weekly TV broadcast on Trinity Broadcasting Network
- 1994: began weekly TV broadcasts on Black Entertainment Network
- 2000: named one of the Top 10 Religion Leaders by PBS’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly
- 2001: named America’s Best Preacher by Time magazine and CNN
- 2009: delivered the morning service for President Obama’s inauguration
- 2016: debuted the “T.D. Jakes” talk show
- 2021: premiered “Kingdom Culture with T.D. Jakes” (a weekly sermon and conversational series) on REVOLT, the leading Black-owned-and-operated multimedia platform servicing content 24/7 across digital, linear and live media channels
Books, Film, Comedy and Music
Jakes is a New York Times bestselling author and has published more than 40 books. His 2014 book Instinct is one of his most successful, spending 16 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. His latest book, Don’t Drop the Mic, which gives insights into communicating well, was on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller lists.
An accomplished film producer, Jakes’ movies have grossed over $500 million and catapulted the faith-based film industry. His films include: A Dog’s Way Home (for Sony Pictures) starring Edward James Olmos and Ashley Judd; Miracles from Heaven, the follow up to Heaven is for Real; the made-for-TV-film Faith Under Fire (for Lifetime); On the Seventh Day; Winnie Mandela; Black Nativity; Jumping the Broom; and Sparkle. Jakes’ film projects continue to redefine and reimagine the ever-evolving “faith-based” genre. Stories about real people and experiences often are oversimplified with a traditional faith-based lens. Jakes’ ability to translate stories about real people with real experiences into sales, streams and support is unprecedented.
Jakes’ “A Time to Laugh” is a touring comedy show and concert featuring some of the hottest up-and-coming artists and comedians.
Dexterity Sounds is responsible for some of the most innovative expressions in Gospel Music today. Receiving numerous industry accolades, including Grammys for “The Storm is Over” and “A Wing and a Prayer.” Dexterity may be best known for the fan-favorite album Sacred Love Songs II, which featured music inspired by the film Jumping the Broom. The label is also known for its award-winning worship experience DVDs and the all-female contemporary gospel group, Grace.
The Potter’s House charter is to extend a “hand of help to the needy, a heart of compassion to the hurting, and a message of empowerment to the disenfranchised.” Jakes has led and lived this mission each day in his ministry.