Who is T.D. Jakes?
T. D. Jakes (1957-) is pastor of The Potter's House, a non-denominational American megachurch, with 30,000 members, located in Dallas, Texas. His church services and evangelistic sermons are broadcast on The Potter's Touch, which airs on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Black Entertainment Television, the Daystar Television Network, The Word Network and The Miracle Channel in Canada.
Other aspects of Jakes' ministry include an annual revival called "MegaFest" that draws more than 100,000 people, an annual women's conference called "Woman Thou Art Loosed", and gospel music recordings. In the fall of 2009, Jakes planned on launching a secular daily talk show, syndicated through the CBS Television Distribution group; however, economic troubles in the industry may put his new program into jeopardy.
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.
Family and heritage
When he was 24 in 1981, he married Serita Ann Jamison. They have five children together (Jermaine, Jamar, Cora, Sarah, and Thomas Jakes, Jr.) Jakes is a strong advocate of abstinence and has made appearances on the subject ranging from Good Morning America to Dr. Phil. 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 also suggested that he is descended from them through his grandmother. He is a second cousin once removed of vocalist Will Wheaton and first cousin twice removed of actor James Wheaton.
Jakes' sermons are broadcast nationally and internationally on The Word Network, Daystar Television Network, and the Trinity Broadcasting Network. He has written over 30 books, many of which have been featured on the New York Times best-selling list. Jakes is also a songwriter, a playwright, and performer. He founded the Christian record label Dexterity Sounds as well as a theater and movie production company.
Jakes' church, The Potter's House, is active in ministry and outreach both locally and internationally. The Potter's House sends drugs and alcohol counseling to the inner city, volunteers to the elderly, to prostitutes and victims of domestic violence. Jakes also has a special interest in the continent of Africa, and The Potter's House launched an initiative that brought water wells, medicine, and ministry to thousands of people in and around Nairobi in Kenya.
Jakes hosted several popular national conferences, including "Woman, Thou Art Loosed," "G Unit: ManPower," and "God's Leading Ladies." Recently, Jakes combined those into a single event called "Megafest." Jakes regularly draws capacity crowds at his conferences and ministry events.
Awards and accomplishments
Jakes has received numerous honors, including 13 honorary degrees and doctorates. He has also received Grammy and Dove Award nominations for 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?".
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