T.D Jakes, The Spiritual Guru

Bishop Thomas Dexter (T. D.) Jakes is a legend of our time.

The Spiritual guru was born in South Charleston, West Virginia on June 9, 1957. He grew up in Vandalia, West Virginia, attending local Baptist churches. He spent his teenage years caring for his invalid father and working in local industries.

As Jakes’s archives reveals, feeling a call to the ministry, he enrolled in West Virginia State University and began preaching part-time in local churches, but he soon dropped out of the university. He took a job at the local Union Carbide and continued preaching part-time. During this time he met his future wife, Serita Jamison.

The couple married in 1981. In 1982, Jakes became the pastor of the Greater Emanuel Temple of Faith, a small, Montgomery, West Virginia independent Pentecostal church with about ten members.

Over the next few years, the church grew, drawing an integrated congregation that helped increase Jakes’ renown as a speaker and pastor. He moved the church twice – from Montgomery to Smithers and then to South Charleston, where the congregation grew from about 100 members to over 300.

During this time, he began a radio ministry The Master’s Plan that ran from 1982-1985. He also became acquainted with Bishop Sherman Watkins, founder of the Higher Ground Always Abounding Assembly (an association of over 200 Pentecostal churches).

Watkins ordained Jakes as a minister of the Higher Ground Assembly and encouraged him to start a church in the Charleston Area. Jakes also used this time to continue his education by studying through correspondence courses from Friends University. Jakes completed a B. A. and M.A. in 1990 and a D. Min. in 1995.

After the 1990 move to Charleston, as his congregation grew, T. D. Jakes began to focus on the spiritual needs of the women in his church who had been abandoned and abused in their lives. He began a Sunday School class for them, “Woman, Thou Art Loosed,” in which he encouraged the women to use their past pain as a foundation for new growth. He later started a similar class for men, which he called “Manpower.”

In 1993, Jakes self-published his first book, drawing on his experiences working with the women of his congregation. Woman, Thou Art Loosed would become Jakes’ signature work and a national religious bestseller. He also began a new television ministry, Get Ready, which aired on Black Entertainment Television and the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Also in 1993, Jakes moved his church yet again, to Cross Lanes, West Virginia.

His ministry continued to expand, prompting the founding of the T. D. Jakes Ministries organization to oversee his work beyond the church itself. He continued to write and to publish, spreading his message of spiritual healing to new audiences. In 1994 he held the first of what would become a series of conferences for ministers and their spouses, “When Shepherds Bleed.”

In May 1996, Jakes moved his family and his ministry again, as well as fifty other families involved in his work, to Dallas, Texas. There he purchased Eagle’s Nest Church, a large Dallas church. Renaming the church The Potter’s House, and Pastor. Jakes continued his work.

The Potter’s House, with 5000 seat auditorium and a 34-acre, campus has grown to a congregation of 14,000. Its ministries include the Ravens Reach program for the homeless, Operation Rehab, an outreach program for prostitutes, Transformation Treatment, a program for substance abusers, as well as prison ministries, literacy programs, youth ministries, weight-loss programs, and mentoring and job-training programs.

His television ministry, Get Ready, continues to be broadcast three times a week on Black Entertainment Television and Trinity Broadcasting Network, reaching audience across the country and internationally.

Jakes has also continued to write and publish, having released 15 books. Woman, Thou Art Loosed, still his most popular work, has sold over 800,000 copies and has spawned a devotional series and a musical CD as well as its continuing influence on Jakes’ conference of the same title.

Jakes, his family, and his ministry continue to be based in the Dallas area.

T. D. Jakes has described himself as a “spiritual physician,” as a person who “has discovered some medicine in the Word of God . . . As the physician, I am careful to always acknowledge that I am not the cure, but that I have been about to facilitate the cure because Jesus Christ lives in me.”

Also reported is that T. D. Jakes remains a powerful and charismatic figure who is renowned for his compassion for those who suffer and for his deep commitment to bringing spiritual wholeness to men and women.

Writing in Charisma Magazine, Ken Walker explained “He {Jakes} delivers the Word in such a lightening rod fashion that he makes you believe that all things really are possible with God. “

Works published include, Woman; Thou Art Loosed, Water in the Wilderness; Why? Because You Are Anointed; When Shepherds Bleed: A Study Guide for Wounded Pastors; Naked and Not Ashamed: We’ve Been Afraid to Reveal What God Longs to Heal; Loose That Man and Let Him Go!; Help Me I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!; Can You Stand to Be Blessed?; The Harvest; Help! I’m Raising My Children Alone; Daddy Loves His Girls; T. D. Jakes Speaks to Women!: Deliverance for the Past; Healing for the Present; T. D. Jakes Speaks to Men!: Powerful; Life-Changing Quotes to Make You the Man God Intended You to Be; So You Call Yourself a Man; A Devotional for Ordinary Men with Extraordinary Potential; Woman, Thou Art Loosed! Devotional.

Others include, Lay Aside the Weight: Taking Control of It Before It Takes Control of You; Anointing Fall On Me: Accessing the Power of the Holy Spirit; A Fresh Glimpse of the Dove; I Choose to Forgive; The Lady, Her Lover, and Her Lord; Holy Bible: Woman, Thou Art Loosed Edition: New King James Version; Loose That Man and Let Him Go! Devotional: So You Call Yourself a Man?; Maximize the Moment: God’s Action Plan for Your Life; Intimacy with God: The Spiritual Worship of the Believer; His Lady: Sacred Promises for God’s Woman; Loved By God: The Spiritual Wealth of the Believer; Life Overflowing the Spiritual Walk of the Believer; The Great Investment: Faith, Family, and Finance; Experiencing Jesus: God’s Spiritual Workmanship in the Believer; Celebrating Marriage: The Spiritual Wedding of the Believer and Behind Closed Doors (play).

Community and political leaders in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metro area have expressed great admiration and appreciation of Jakes’ work with the underprivileged and disenfranchised, awarding him the “Key to the City” in February 1997. Jakes has also been honored with the Gospel Heritage Award for Ministry (1996) and the Stellar Foundation Excellence Award (1996).

Jakes has received numerous honors, including 13 honorary degrees and doctorates. He has also received a 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?”

Photo Credit:



MICHAEL O’BRIEN http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,20010917,00.html


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