T.D. Jakes grew up modestly in a small West Virginia town, but his upbringing wouldn’t stop him from reaching stardom in the name of God. Jakes, who was nicknamed ‘The Bible Boy” at a young age, knew he was destined to preach in the name of his Lord. Throughout his career as a minister, he has published over 30 books and helped countless individuals improve their life by teaching about purpose, forgiveness, and faith.
T.D. Jakes Profile:
Name: Thomas Dexter (T.D.) Jakes
Born: June 9. 1957
Occupation: Pastor, Author, Motivational Speaker
Focuses On: Vision, Leadership, Personal Growth
T.D. Jakes Overview:
On June 9th, 1957, Ernest and Odith Jakes gave birth to their third child, a boy, in the town of Charleston, West Virginia. Ernest, who was an innovative entrepreneur, owned a janitorial business that seemingly cleaned every business in the Charleston area. Odith was an economics professor who passionately instilled educational values in all of her children. In 1957, Ernest, Odith, their daughter Jacqueline, and their first son Ernest Jr., would welcome the last member to the Jakes family, Thomas Dexter Jakes.
Growing up on the outskirts of Charleston, in the small town of Vandalia, few would have predicted the massive impact that their youngest son, nicknamed T.D., would make on the world. At a young age, the youngest Jakes was referred to as, ‘The Bible Boy,’ and he came to believe, in his adolescence, that he was called to preach in God’s name.
Although Jakes was fearful to speak in front of large groups initially, the enormous reactions of his crowds gave him the confidence to continue to pursue a life dedicated to the work of God. During his teenage years, T.D. was tasked with tending to his invalid father and worked in various local businesses before enrolling at West Virginia State University in hopes of fulfilling his dream of becoming a minister.
Soon after enrolling in WVSU, however, Jakes took a job at the local Union Carbide, which postponed his ultimate goal. During his time at Union Carbide, he did continue preaching part-time and met his future wife, Serita, to who he is still happily married.
It was in 1982, at the age of 25, that Jakes got the opportunity to become the pastor of the Greater Emanuel Temple of Faith Church, which saw rapid congregational growth under his leadership. The congregation grew from a mere 10 members to over 300, which forced Jakes to move the church to 2 different locations. It was also in 1982 when Jakes started a radio ministry program called, “The Master’s Plan.” Jakes’s reputation for being a powerful orator continued to grow and he eventually decided, with the guidance of Bishop Sherman Watkins, to open his own church in Charleston.
The move to Charleston allowed Jakes to continue working towards his educational and spiritual goals. In 1993, he self-published “Woman, Thou Art Loosed,” which documented an outreach program he started and ran, under the same name, where he worked with women victimized by abuse. The book became a religious bestseller and put Jakes on the national map. During his time in Charleston, Jakes also started a nationally televised ministry program, and created his non-profit organization T.D. Jakes Ministries, and graduated with a Doctrine of Ministry.
In May of 1996, Jakes, his family, and 50 other families who worked with Jakes’s organization moved their congregation to Dallas, Texas, after T.D. had the opportunity to purchase the Eagle’s Nest Church. Jakes quickly renamed the church, calling it The Potter’s House, and used the additional space and land to expand his growing ministry operations. Today, his congregation consists of over 30,000 members.
While Jakes is primarily focused on preaching the word of God, he has been able to make a major impact on communities, throughout the United States, in a variety of ways. T.D. Jakes Ministries has many outreach programs that help individuals who have been victimized by homelessness, addiction, and prostitution. He also has programs dedicated to helping the youth, working with prisoners, and helping individuals who suffer from weight issues.
Jake’s has received numerous awards. In 1997 he received Dallas’s Key to The City and in 2001 he was named America’s Best Preacher by CNN and Time. Since the 90s, he has published over 30 books, including: “Destiny: Step into Your Purpose,” “Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive,” and “Healing the Wounds of The Past.” The previously mentioned, “Woman, Thou Art Loosed,” ranks as one of the top-selling religious books ever published. While his main message is to promote the Lord, he has been able to help countless individuals realize their value through his personal growth and development teachings.
3 Messages to Take from His Teachings:
Find and Follow Your Life’s Purpose:
Much of T.D. Jakes’s personal development teachings focus on helping each of us find our life’s purpose, and not letting anything stop us from working toward that purpose. Jakes believes that this often means we have to step outside of our comfort zone. In a recent interview with Success Magazine, he says:
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been… Get out of the box and see what else is out there that would impassion you and inspire you.”
He believes that it is extremely important to not let others dictate our path and not to confuse talent with purpose. In this short video clip from a 2012 interview on the wildly popular show, ‘Oprah’s Lifeclass,’ Jakes talks about the difference between talent and purpose:
Find Empowerment through Forgiveness:
A number of Jakes’s books center around the theme of forgiveness and help show how holding onto the burdens of anger, judgment, and resentment, towards someone who has wronged us, does nothing but hurt the victim more. In a 2012 interview with NPR, which took place after Jakes released, “Let it Go: Forgive So You May Be Forgiven,” the passionate pastor talks about how holding onto resentment causes the victim unneeded harm. Jakes says,
Forgiveness liberates the victim. It’s a gift you give yourself. It has less to do with what somebody else did as much as it does with your decision to move on with your life and not be continually victimized by rehearsing that issue or incident over and over again.”
The biggest benefit of forgiving, according to Jakes, is that we then can move on with our lives and move towards our Destiny. In the same interview, he later adds:
We are a mass of energy, that’s why we get tired, that’s why we had to go to sleep so that we can refuel and re-energize. And I would think that if you spend all your time energizing what has happened in your past it begs the question: If you energize your history, what will you have left for your destiny? If you continue to expend all of your fuel on where you’ve been you will have no gas for where you’re going.”
Keep Going with Faith:
Every message that T.D. Jakes gives to his followers is centered around keeping ultimate faith in God, regardless of the circumstances. The work that he has done with sexually abused individuals, victims of prostitution, addicts of every kind, and numerous others, who were faced with extremely difficult situations, has taught him that there is light on the other side of darkness, and by keeping faith in the Lord, you will certainly experience better times. Jakes is quoted as saying:
Don’t allow past or present circumstances to dictate who you are. You are who God says you are, and he has a plan that will turn your situation around if you’ll keep the faith.” Through his countless outreach programs, he has also came to believe that, “You face your greatest opposition when your closest to your biggest miracles.”
- “We all set out to make a difference in the world, but the first step is to achieve the less lofty goal of changing your own world.”
- “Don’t be limited by people who despise your growth. They want you to remain the same so they will feel comfortable.”
- “Your word will tell others what you think. Your actions will tell them what you believe.”