Bishop T.D. Jakes is bringing the MegaFest conference, one of America's largest Christian events drawing tens of thousands of people, for the first time to his support base in Dallas, Texas, in August 2013.
The conference, which can attract more than 100,000 participants, will run Aug. 29-31 at the Dallas Convention Center, according to The Dallas Morning News.
MegaFest is part of the ministry outreach of Jakes, senior pastor of the 30,000-member The Potter's House church in Dallas.
The announcement was made Friday at the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau's annual meeting as the city officially launched its new branding campaign, "Big things happen here."
Phillip Jones, chief executive of the Dallas convention bureau, was quoted as saying that the event will occupy 6,000 rooms on its peak night and will be one of the largest "citywide" conferences of the year.
Jones added that MegaFest could get up to $2 million in reimbursement from a state fund for special events.
In a 2007 interview with The Dallas Morning News, Jakes had expressed a desire to bring MegaFest to Dallas where his support base is. "Once the [new Cowboys] stadium comes in, it may change things, but I want to see how many hotels come in around it, and the transportation that comes with it," Jakes said. "But I would really, really like to bring [MegaFest] to Dallas. My support base is in Dallas. My people are in Dallas. And when you are part of a city, you really want to be a blessing to that city."
MegaFest was launched in Atlanta in 2004, as a festival for fellowship, spiritual rejuvenation and personal growth. The inaugural event drew an overall record-breaking attendance of 560,000 and had an economic impact on the city of up to $125 million.
The event boosted Atlanta's reputation as a premium spot for religious convention, Lauren Jarrell of Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, said. The conference was held again in Atlanta in 2005 and 2006.
A 2007 MegaFest was cancelled. "The Potter's House will revisit the idea of hosting MegaFest in future years and will announce that decision publicly, once made," Jakes had then said.
In 2008, Jakes took it to South Africa. About the event's shift to overseas, Jakes said, "At the previous MegaFest events, we had people attend from all over the world, all ethnicities, all religions; so many different cultures were in the room. As I looked out, the feel was so much more aligned to an international event, than a U.S.-specific event."
MegaFest combines Jakes' popular conferences for men and women with youth events, live concerts and activities for the entire family.
Jakes was twice featured in Time magazine as "America's Best Preacher" and one of the nation's "25 most influential evangelicals."