A Texas megachurch overseen by Bishop T.D. Jakes has opened up a new campus three years after purchasing the location, which was once a shopping center.
With the sound of shofar, The Potter's House of Dallas held their first worship service on Sunday at the Fort Worth location, expanding the number of operating campuses for the church that boasts an estimated 30,000 members.
Patrick E. Winfield Jr., a pastor ordained in 1996 who is presently pursuing a doctorate in education from Dallas Baptist University, heads the newly operational campus, known as The Potter's House of Fort Worth.
"As an educator, leader and pastor his mission is to transform lives, build leaders and strengthen families by helping people discover and live in the grace of God found in Jesus Christ," reads the bio of Winfield on The Potter's House site.
"As a leader, Pastor Winfield believes in service leadership that is exercised through modeling, mentoring, instructing and life coaching. He is consumed with impacting people's lives and helping them become effective leaders."
According to local media, an estimated 2,000 people belong to the Fort Worth campus, which Winfield described as being "symbolic."
"This is symbolic of the idea that God can rebuild lives if you put your trust in him to," said Winfield to NBC DFW not before the Sunday grand opening. "And as he's done with this church that used to be a Kroger, he has rebuilt it into something that gathers people from all walks of life."
Founded in 1996, The Potter's House has been identified as one of the fastest growing churches in the United States. It boasts of being a multicultural, multiethnic congregation. This focus on diversity was noted by Winfield in his interview with NBC DFW.
"In times like these, people are divided over all kinds of issues be it racial or economic or political…," said Winfield. "It's very important for us to be able to gather people together in a place of unity where we can take out all of those ancillary things."
Three years ago, The Potter's House purchased the former Woodhaven Village Shopping Center and after some extensive remodeling, opened it. Even before Sunday's opening service, The Potter's House has been involved in many projects in Fort Worth.
For example, in Jan. 2011 Potters House put up several pro-God ads on Fort Worth buses in response to an earlier anti-God atheist ad campaign.