Name at birth: Thomas Dexter Jakes
T.D. Jakes, named "America's Best Preacher" in a 2001 Time magazine cover story, started as a part-time storefront minister in West Virginia in 1979. By 1996 he had moved to Texas and founded what became a megachurch, The Potter's House. There he is also "CEO" of evangelistic and philanthropic ministries whose reach ranges from the poor neighborhoods of Dallas to rural Africa. A prolific revivalist, conference leader and Christian entrepreneur, he has written dozens of books on spiritual, women's, self-help and relational topics. One of them, Woman, Thou Art Loosed (1993), about domestic abuse and other difficulties, became a commercially relased film in 2004. The Potter's House is nondenominational, but Jakes is listed as vice-prelate of Higher Ground Always Abiding Assemblies, an Ohio-based national network of congregations. He was consecrated a bishop in 1987 by the "Greater Emmanuel Churches," according to his official bio. The title indicates honor and spiritual stature but not apparently any jurisdictional authority.
Jakes and his wife, Serita, have five children… He founded Greater Emmanuel Temple of Faith in Montgomery, West Virginia, in 1979 with 10 members… His recording label, Dexterity Sounds, has produced Grammy-nominated albums in collaboration with EMI Gospel Music… He is in the cast of his 2004 film, appearing as himself.