Interview: T.D. Jakes on 35 Years of Ministry

Bishop T.D. Jakes is a jack of all trades and is recognized in all of them. He is known as the senior pastor of the 30,000-member Dallas-based church, The Potter's House, the New York Times best-selling author of Let It Go, the producer of the hit comedy "Jumping the Broom," and the founder of a Grammy award-winning Dexterity Sounds label.

His diverse circle of friends reflects his wide-ranging career: Oprah Winfrey, President Obama, Pastor Paula White, Tyler Perry, and Chaka Khan. In the midst of it all, he still finds time to send love tweets to his wife and support relief efforts at his church.

Last week, Jakes was the guest of honor at a big celebration in Dallas to mark his 35th anniversary of ministry, 55th birthday, 30th wedding anniversary, and 15th anniversary of The Potter's House.

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I sat down with Bishop Jakes immediately following the celebration to get his reflection of the night and on his 35 years of ministry.

CP: Congratulations on 35 years of ministry service. I would like know what is your reflection of the night. I know it was a surprise and you shed some tears. Can you explain that moment for us and what this meant to you?

Jakes: I think most people who get into their 50s reassess what made sense and what didn't make sense. For people to come from everywhere and every type of business, as well as faith, they reflect the diversity of my life and some sort of validation that for many people I did make a difference. At this stage in my life, it's important to know that in some ways I made a difference in somebody's life.

CP: After 35 years of ministry, is there anything that you would have done differently?

Jakes: (laughs) There's a lot of things that I would have done differently. But I think my mistakes became the chemistry for my miracles. I think that my tests became my testimonies. So though there are many things I would have done differently, I submit to God's sovereignty and His purpose in my life and I thank Him that He brought me the way he brought me and gave me what He gave me when He thought I could handle it.

CP: What are some of the blessings that you are thankful to God for?

Jakes: First of all, I would have to thank him for my parents. Everyday, I thank him for the way my parents raised me, particularly my mother. My father died fairly young. And the things that she put in me.

And my wife and my children and my circle of friends have driven away so much of the coldness that would have otherwise been too much for me.

And those people who really know who you are, not just what they read or see, but who really know you, have made such an impact on my life I can't even begin to express it.

And then I want to say something, that my church, for so many of them to come out and validate and support and to say that I mattered. That is encouraging to me and uplifting. I think every pastor wants to feel like he is leading people to Christ and that he is appreciated in that capacity.

CP: As you are looking toward the future, what is still tugging at your heart?

Jakes: There is nothing I'm any more passionate than empowering the next generation. If I can say or do anything or be a friend to anyone who is trying to reach a dream, I don't have to be on the stage. I can stand in the shadows encouraging people.

I know what it is to wish you had someone safe to talk to. Having been there and done that, I hope that I live long enough to be a confidant to some and a mentor to others.

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