On June 9, 1957, Thomas Dexter Jakes was born in South Charleston, West Virginia to Ernest Jakes, Sr., a janitor and entrepreneur, and Odith, an educator. Even as a child, he was known in his West Virginian neighborhood as “the bad Bible boy.” He was also told he would never be able to preach because of his “bad” lisp. Shortly after his father’s death from kidney failure, Jakes decided to go into ministry.
In 1979, with very little funds of his own and with only ten initial members, he founded Greater Emmanuel Temple of Faith as a storefront church in Montgomery, West Virginia. Jakes maintained his day job digging ditches in order to support his ministry until the church was able to support him. During its first 10 years, the church grew to over 1,000 members. In 1982, Jakes turned to full-time ministry.
By 1990, his church had moved twice, first from Montgomery to the nearby community of Smithers, and from there to his hometown of South Charleston. In 1993, the church moved yet again within the Charleston area, to Cross Lanes; the building having been formerly a bank.
In 1995, when he was 38 years old, Jakes started his television ministry. In 1996, Jakes founded The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas, with about 50 families that had relocated with him from his former congregation in Cross Lanes.
Jakes purchased the property, which was previously Eagle’s Nest Family Church, from W. V. Grant, after Grant was sentenced to 16 months in prison for tax-related crimes. In its 12 year existence, it has grown to over 30,000 members. Both Jakes and his Potter’s House church are unrelated to the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship, a Pentecostal denomination.
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. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._D._Jakes
Bishop T.D. Jakes and Mrs. Serita A. Jakes are influential leaders who serve with excellence and integrity. Throughout their nearly 30 years of marriage, Mrs. Jakes has diligently served alongside her husband Bishop Jakes, founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House of Dallas, which has more than 30,000 members and over 50 outreach ministries. Together, they have touched the lives of millions around the globe through various humanitarian projects, relief efforts, community service initiatives and record-breaking conferences.