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Thomas Dexter Jakes, Sr., also known as T. D. Jakes, is an American bishop, author, and filmmaker born in New York City. He serves as the bishop of The Potter's House, a nondenominational megachurch in the United States. Jakes's church services and evangelistic sermons are broadcast on The Potter's Touch radio station in Los Angeles. Thomas Dexter Jakes was born on June 9, 1957, in South Charleston, West Virginia. Jakes grew up in Vandalia, where he attended local Baptist churches. Having a caring attitude since his childhood, Jakes looked after his stepfather as a teenager while working. Feeling a call to the ministry, he enrolled in West Virginia State University and began preaching part-time in local churches. After deciding to drop out of the university, Jakes took a job at the local Union Carbide and continued preaching part-time. Leaving college early proved to be a good omen for him as he immediately became a pastor in 1982.
Jake met Serita Jamison and eventually married her in 1981 when he was 24 years old. Since their wedding day, the couple have experienced the highs and lows of married life without any thoughts of divorce. They have both been very faithful to each other. His wife is the First Lady of his church. With a theatre background and mass communication skills, she has always supported her husband in all the ventures he has undertaken. The loving couple have five children, and they have three sons and two daughters.
It appears that due to his busy schedule and service to society, he was not able to pay much attention to his kids, especially his two elder sons. Despite both sons falling into the path of outlaws, the parents have been kind enough to stand by them and support them whenever possible. They always have an open door when their boys decide to walk the path of righteousness. Jake has shifted his attention to his family and was heavily involved in his second daughter's marriage. He has received a lot of help from his church, which has freed up time to focus on his family.
It appears that Jake is being considered a mentor, a spiritual father, a role model, a coach, and an example to many within and outside the United States of America. His books and sermons are being used all over the world for both moral and spiritual learning.
In 1982, T. D. Jakes became the pastor of Greater Emanuel Temple of Faith, a small, independent Pentecostal church in Montgomery, West Virginia, with around ten members. Over the following years, the church grew, attracting an integrated congregation that helped to enhance Jakes' reputation as a speaker and pastor. He relocated the church twice, first from Montgomery to Smithers, and then to South Charleston, where the congregation grew from approximately 100 members to over 300. He also started a radio ministry, The Master's Plan, which ran from 1982 to 1985.
After the move to Charleston in 1990, Jake's congregation grew and he began focusing on the spiritual needs of the women in his church who had been abused and abandoned. He started a Sunday School class for them called "Woman, Thou Art Loosed" and 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, Jake self-published his first book, drawing on his experiences working with the women of his congregation. "Woman, Thou Art Loosed" would become Jake's signature work and a religious, national bestseller. He also began a new television ministry, "Get Ready," which aired on Black Entertainment Television and the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Additionally, in 1993, Jake 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 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, entitled "When Shepherds Bleed."
Jake's family and employees relocated to Dallas in 1996, where he founded a megachurch on a hilltop with a large land area. He purchased Eagle's Nest Church, a large Dallas church with a 5,000-seat auditorium and a 34-acre campus. He renamed the church to The Potter's House and was eager to preach to his congregation of 30,000.
He is now the Bishop of The Potter's House Megachurch. Jake's church services and evangelistic sermons are broadcasted on The Potter's Touch, which airs on multiple outlets including Lightsource.com, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Black Entertainment Television, the Daystar Television Network, and the Word Network. In addition to being a Bishop in a church located in West Virginia, Jakes is also a well-known writer and actor. He has written spiritual books and has acted in some movies; a few of which he has also produced.
Although Jake was converted and ordained within Oneness Pentecostalism, he revealed in an interview with Mark Driscoll in 2012 that he affirms the Trinity. However, Jake did not document the eternality of the Trinity's persons, which Oneness churches deny. Jake is a strong advocate of abstinence and has made appearances on the subject ranging from Good Morning America to Dr. Phil. His net worth is estimated to be around $18 million.
During the 46th Grammy Awards in 2003, Jake's album A Wing and a Prayer won the award for "Best Gospel or Chorus Album."
"Live at The Potter's House," his gospel album, has been nominated for Grammy and Dove Awards, among other accolades. Jakes was designated one of America's "Top 10 Religious Leaders" by Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, a publication produced by PBS Religion and Ethics. Jakes was featured on the cover of Time magazine's September 17, 2001 issue, with the intriguing question, "Is This Man the Next Billy Graham?" Jakes was interviewed for the cover story.
Jake had his DNA tested for the PBS documentary African American Lives. The results revealed that he was descended from the Igbo people of Nigeria. Several family members had speculated that he was also descended from them through his grandmother, based on his family history. Oprah named Jake in her SuperSoul 100 list of visionaries and prominent leaders in 2016.
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