Tonight on “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” Oprah Winfrey sits down to talk with one of the most inspirational spiritual leaders, Bishop T.D. Jakes, from his non-denominational church, the Potter’s House, in Dallas, Texas!
This an account of what transpired during that interview~
Oprah, Gayle and Tyler Perry are in attendance at one of Bishop T.D. Jake’s Sunday services in the Potter’s House where she noted there are more than 8,000 people in the congregation. Many cannot contain their emotions, including Oprah, Gayle, and Perry who reacts to a part of the sermon in which Jakes is talking about the five loaves of bread and the act of being blessed.
This man is powerful and as I watch the story unfold, it is clear why he commands such a following. He states that he preaches one message but each individual has their won interpretation of if because they hear what they need to hear. Oprah tells him “I have never heard, seen, or experienced anybody like you!” Bishop Jakes confides in Oprah the fact the weight of responsibility to deliver his messages is the same whether he is talking to seven people or 7,000. He claims the Bible comes to life in his hands! The part of the sermon about the five loaves, he explains, is about the being broken and blessed. Those who refuse being broken refuse to be blessed by God. He claims he has met a lot of people who have been broken and they are among the most blessed. I am sure we will hear more of this as the interview progresses.
Oprah gives some background history about the bishop including his humble roots where he always wanted to be a preacher even as a child. He founded his first church at 19-years-old even though he was told he would not be successful because of a speech impediment which is still a little distinguishable although he is very well-spoken. That first congregation started with ten people and grew ten-fold in one year and has been growing ever since. in 1985, T.D. Jakes was ordained a bishop and in 1996, the Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas was born which is now host to a congregation of more than 30,000 members including millions worldwide.
The interview followed a three-hour service and Jakes states the Potter’s House was always his vision but it was about the ministry, not the building and never about being successful; it was about being effective. He is asked about the criticism he has received about the abundance of his success which he replies it is from hard work and, in part, due to his engagement in movie productions. He tells Oprah that he feels blessed to be able to send his children to college and live in a house which his father would have bragged about cleaning before launching into a story about his childhood and his perception of rich was someone who had a doorbell and his idea of air conditioning was putting ice behind a fan with the window open…now THAT is poor!
Jakes’ idea that life’s storms are but teaching lessons in which Jesus is a ghost and God comes in a form unknown to us and it is our faith which gets us through. One of the parishioners states the Potter’s House is a “hospital for the broken!” Jakes tells Oprah “We need each other and must move past the segregationist mentality; it is not always racism but cultural comfort zones which keep individuals apart” when discussing race. How true, how true! She then asks him if he thinks homosexuality is wring to which he responds that homosexuality is condemned in the scriptures; he is not anti-anything, but pro-Bible and wants to be remembered for what he is for, not what he is against!
Oprah Winfrey asks the bishop about this quote (of African-Americans) – “We are an evolving group of people with a history of abuse in which many are yet ensnared in some way while others have escaped.” This is absolutely true and although he goes on to state the treatment of slaves has been like a molestation of a nation and it is going to take generations for the culture to heal, I do not think it should be used as justification for the continued actions many take and it seems as though the bishop addresses this in a small fashion.
Emmet Smith, former Dallas Cowboy, and his wife are members of the Potter’s House and talk about how this church has saved their drowning relationship. Oprah follows this segment with one question that is profound – “Who is and how do you describe God?” Bishop T.D. Jakes states God is the CEO of creation, the overseer of the universe, the originator of life. He is the beginning and the end of all things and reveals himself in many ways at an understandable level to each individual along different paths which accounts for the variations in religious beliefs and teachings.
As the interview continues, Bishop Jakes is asked about being council for the past three presidents – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barrack Obama – to which he only really replies he appreciates them as men in positions which can change you noting he feels they all rose to power believing they could make a difference. He tells Winfrey the fact there is a black president is important to all because it show that leadership cannot be stereotyped as all men or all white and it recognizes the core diversity of the United States…AMEN!
When asked what is the main motto of his “brand” Bishop Jakes replies “My destiny is to help you reach yours!” Now that is one powerful message from a man who rose to his greatness struggling adversity many of us have known to prove that when you believe, you can achieve! He quoted his sister which personally I found enlightening – “Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found the bread.” This goes back full circle to the “cross-pollination” the bishop has been talking about all night.
This episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter” ends with the inclusion of Serita Jakes, the bishop’s wife of more than thirty years, who states their marriage has been a difficult process but is successful because of communication and evolution. They say that following a devastating car crash six months after they were married strengthened the deep friendship they share. She is most proud of where they are because it signifies his promise to her which has been kept – to go places never thought possible together!
Image courtesy of OWN