NEW YORK — Bishop T.D. Jakes, founder and lead pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, recently revealed what he thinks is his greatest accomplishment in life so far and said he's "more concerned about being a good person" than he is about being a good preacher.
"The things that are most dear to me are the things that are most personal to me," Jakes, 57, told The Christian Post in an interview last month.
The megachurch pastor, who leads a 30,000-member church, has come a long way since he first began ministering to a congregation of just 10 people at Greater Emanuel Temple of Faith in 1980. In addition to founding one of the largest megachurches in the United States, Jakes has won numerous accolades over the years for notable books, films and music he has produced. None of these accomplishments, he says, compares to family.
"It is not the outward accolades in success of men because I find that to be so fickle, but there are moments I have had with my children and watching them grow," he said, before touching on his 34-year marriage to his wife, Serita Jakes.
"It is the fact that our relationship has survived and flourished for 34 years between my wife and I. It is the fact that I took care of my mother until the day she died of Alzheimer's and I got to be a good son. I'm much more concerned about being a good person than I am about being a good preacher."
Last year, Jakes made headlines when he openly criticized megachurch culture as it relates to the cult of personality surrounding pastors and idol worship.
"There are pastors whose ego demands that type of adulation. ... It's the part of ministry that I hate," Jakes told The Huffington Post. "I hate it because from the inside out I see myself as quite normal. The pressure to live up to all of your expectations frustrates me."
He pointed out that a pastor's humility should not be controlled by the size of their congregation and said that he makes a conscious effort to stay consistent despite the success of The Potter's House.
"I'm the same guy that pastored 50 people on Easter Sunday," he said. "I didn't turn into some kind of creature when they became 5,000."
In addition to leading his 30,000-member church, Jakes continues to reach millions around the world through various initiatives like MegaFest, a Christian family festival that attracts thousands of attendees from around the world every year. The festival kicks off in his home town of Dallas in August.
During that same month, The New York Times' best-selling author is set to release his latest book, Destiny: Step into Your Purpose, which is a follow up to his best-selling book, Instinct.
"MegaFest harkens back to a simpler time when families spent quality time together," Jakes said earlier. "With so much chaos and turmoil ensuing in the world today, it will be critical for families to reconnect and recharge their batteries in a fun-filled, inspirational environment. It is also a great opportunity to showcase the best that Dallas has to offer — from its dynamic business community, to its arts and entertainment to its renowned shopping, restaurants and hospitality venues. MegaFest is a can't-miss opportunity for all."
Since launching in 2004, MegaFest has grown to become one of the largest faith-based multi-day festivals in the United States with organizers saying it has so far reached nearly 1 million people worldwide.
Jakes recently added internationally-acclaimed pastor Joyce Meyer and Australian activist Christine Caine to the lineup of speakers that are set to hit the stage during the three-day event.