Dallas – Bishop Thomas Dexter Jakes, the senior pastor of the 30,000 member Potters House Church in Dallas knew his family and church members were planning something to mark the anniversary of his 35years in ministry. He had no idea about their relentless determination to make it a night he will never forget. Strategically themed “A Triumphant Journey” the main focus of the event was to salute and tell the story of Bishop Jakes remarkable career in ministry for more than three decades.
From 6pm on Friday June 8, 2012, Christian leaders, dignitaries, celebrities, church members and well-wishers from different parts of the world began gathering in the AT&T Winspear Opera House in downtown Dallas to celebrate the man who has impacted their lives in one way or the other.
Bishop T.D. Jakes
The red carpet hosted an array of Christian leaders, great music artists, film stars, producers and popular sports figures. I was privileged to interview a number of the guests on the red carpet. Bishop and Mrs. Hilliard, Dr. Bernice King, Pastor Paula White and Pastor Sam Rodriguez paid glowing tributes to Bishop Jakes. While music artists Bebe Winans, Israel Houghton, Jordin Sparks, Mary Mary, Fred Hammond, Ledisi, Chaka Khan, Kelly Price and Kirk Whalum paid tribute, Film stars Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance, Loretta Devine, Mike Epps, Derek Luke, Kimberly Elise, Meagan Good and Charles S. Dutton recalled how Bishop Jakes ministry helped them. Sports legend Emmitt and Pat Smith, Deon Sanders and many more also had glowing remarks. Bishop and Mrs. Eddie Long, Gayle King, Pastor Bill Hybels, Pastor Sheryl Brady, Sony executive DeVon Franklin were among the pastors and producers in attendance.
By the time the black-tie celebration kicked off at 7:00 pm, a galore of surprises also kicked off for Bishop Jakes. Playwright and actor Tyler Perry and CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien hosted the evening with a surprise appearance by entertainment guru Oprah Winfrey. Music performance from Jordin Sparks, Ledisi, BeBe Winans, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Fred Hammond, Israel Houghton, Karen Clark Sheard, Kelly Price, Kirk Whalum and Chaka Khan made the night an interesting story to write home about.
“I have been blown away; I love God and have always loved people; your presence here tonight says you love me back. It’s hard to overwhelm me, but you’ve done it this time!” an emotional and undeniably shocked Bishop Jakes said as he took the stage to an impressive standing ovation from the crowd of well-wishers.
As the night drew to a close, it was obvious the mission of the anniversary planners was more than accomplished. “The event was an opportunity to salute him for the millions of lives he’s touched, the hearts he’s changed and the lives he’s saved through his stirring messages,” said content Mrs. Serita Bishop Jakes. “It was a blessing to honor him for 35 years of unwavering service” She concluded.
By May Olusola