TD Jakes: Big churches start small

Published 11 April 2012
Megachurch pastor TD Jakes says the responsibility of a preacher is the same whether he's preaching to seven or 7,000.

The Potter's House pastor sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a candid interview, broadcast on the talk show host's OWN network on Sunday.

Jakes was just 19 when he first got behind the pulpit. Now his church in Dallas, Texas, is one of the biggest in the US, with around 30,000 members.

His sermons are broadcast globally, giving him an international following in addition to his home flock.

When asked by Winfrey whether the size of the crowd made any difference to him as a preacher, Jakes said that the "weight and responsibility of sharing with people what you believe is the same whether preaching in front of a crowd of seven or 7,000".

"When I was speaking to the seven, I took it just as seriously," Jakes said. "The job is still the same. I think that's how you end up with thousands of people - is that you take small beginnings seriously."

Jakes has faced criticism over his personal wealth – he owns his own airplane and lives in a mansion – but the preacher is unapologetic about what he sees as God's provision.

God "allows your cup to run over", he told Winfrey.

"I don't think the issue of clergy is what you drive or where you live, it's more how you got it.

"If you got it abusing and breaking the backs of people, that's a bad thing.

"If you put yourself before the congregation, that's a bad thing."

The interview also covered the pastor's feelings about the US having a black president for the first time.

He said it was important to "recognise that leadership is not stereotypical, that it's not all men, or all women, or all blacks, or all whites".

"To recognise the diversity that exists in the very underbelly of this country," he added.

Before the interview began, Winfrey sat in on one of Jakes' sermons at Potter's House.

He preached on what he called "saving the scraps".

"The miracle is not in what you lost. The miracle is not in what you have consumed previously," he told the packed auditorium.

"Your best days are not your yesterdays. Your miracle is in what you have left. If you discard it, ignore it, don't use it, don't value it, don't learn from it, don't understand it, you will lose the battle before you because you did not learn from the battle behind you.

"My thought this morning is save the scraps, the leftovers. That which remains is more valuable than that which was lost."

Winfrey was visibly blown away by the pastor's preaching.

She told Jakes during the interview: "I grew up in the church, joined the church when I was 8 years old.

"I heard a lot of preachers preach in my life. I've never heard, seen, or experienced anybody like you. I've never seen anything like that."

Reprints

More News in Mission