As I sat high in the ultra-upscale W Hotel on the outer edge of Beverly Hills for my interview with Bishop T.D. Jakes, I was struck by how this man of enormous national stature, fortune and influence was exceedingly humble and almost painstakingly polite. It is rare that you encounter an individual who has experienced great success in a range of industries — the ministry, his businesses, his best-selling books, critically-acclaimed movies, the multiplicity of philanthropic endeavors and the very powerful circles that he frequents — be absent of an ego commensurate with his pedigree.

Perhaps it’s his humble origins in the hills of West Virginia that helps keep him balanced, or the fact that he was told that he would never be successful behind the pulpit because of his very pronounced lisp. Well, 30,000 church members later, it is perfectly clear that he has and continues to fulfill his divinely-inspired destiny on earth in spite of, or even because, of his perceived physical deficiency. Jakes was named “America’s Best Preacher” in a 2001 Time magazine cover story, a seeming miraculous ascent when you consider that Jakes started as a part-time storefront minister in West Virginia in 1979.

With the help of and, we take a quick look back over the life of Bishop T.D. Jakes.

Bishop Jakes, seen here with "Sparkle" star Jordin Sparks, has added movie producing and acting to his prodigious resume


  • Jazz

    What’s with the ‘prosperity gospel’? I don’t believe God wants us to live in poverty on earth, but I thought preachers were supposed to be more concerned with the wealth of our souls than with our earthly riches.