The Potter's House at a Glance
The Potter’s House is the Voice and the Hand that encourages people to change their lives with hope, comfort and peace. Multiracial, nondenominational and operating 50-plus active outreach ministries, the organization has dominated church growth records since its inception in 1996, growing dramatically from the 50 families relocating from West Virginia with the Jakes family to more than 30,000 members to date. Christianity Today has called The Potter’s House “one of America’s fastest growing mega-churches.” Rivaling many corporations, the ministry employs nearly 400 staff members, including full-time finance, human resources, information technology, materials distribution, public relations, publications, and television production departments. The Potter’s House is fiscally sound, retiring within four years the financial debt incurred by the 191,000 square feet, $45 million sanctuary construction. For more information about Bishop Jakes and the ministry, visit www.thepottershouse.org. (See The Potter’s House Ministry Facts for individual ministry descriptions.)
Local Ministry Initiatives
The Metroplex Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is the most immediate example of the ministry’s impact on community business development. Endeavoring to remedy social and economic disparities, Bishop Jakes founded the MEDC in 1998 to bridge socio-economic voids existing in urban America. A nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, MEDC works to impact the lives of individuals and families residing in historically underserved communities through the implementation of programs established under the umbrella of its core initiatives. The MEDC has sponsored home ownership conferences and youth mentorship programs, and in April 2005 launched an entrepreneurial training series.
Clay Academy was founded in 1998 by Bishop Jakes, and has since grown from its small beginnings to its new 70,000 square-foot campus in the heart of South Dallas. On October 10, 2006, Bishop and Mrs. Jakes and The Potter’s House church family formally dedicated the school’s recently constructed $14 million learning facility to the memory of his late mother, Mrs. Odith P. Jakes, an educator and mentor. The first of seven structures in a planned $80 million campus, the white-columned, red-brick school building sits atop a hill at 3303 Potter’s House Way in Mountain Creek about half a mile west of The Potter’s House church. Clay Academy is the crown jewel of an advanced “new urbanism” model, Capella Park. More information about Clay Academy can be found by visiting www.clayacademy.org. More information about the MEDC and Capella Park can be found by visiting www.medc-dallas.org.
The Potter’s House, working in tandem with a federally sponsored government program, currently administers The Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative (TORI) program, operating in Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston. These cities were chosen because they are Texas’ five primary “reentry points,” cities where former offenders reenter society after serving their sentences in Texas prisons. TORI is the ministry’s after-care reentry program providing intensive case management services, including HIV/AIDS awareness and substance abuse recovery counseling and education, and other wrap-around services such as family and marriage counseling, and pre-employment counseling.
Bishop Jakes and The Potter’s House have also invested more than $500,000 in outreach to prison inmates. The church’s New Creation Prison & Jail Ministry develops programs and services that equip, empower, support, and restore offenders and former offenders. To help them with their journey, this support is also offered to families of offenders and correctional staff. Local churches are provided training to better embrace and support former and current prisoners and their family members. The ministry’s Adopt-a-Prison program has meaningfully impacted the day-to-day lives of inmates, and contributes significantly in reducing the recidivism rate of program participants through spiritual support and a network of churches sympathetic to the plight of inmates re-entering the system. Every major ministry conference, including MegaFest, is broadcast live into prisons around the country.
International Ministry Conferences
Bishop Jakes is the CEO of The Potter’s House, a nonprofit organization that has produced several major international conferences – The Pastors’ and Leadership Conference, ManPower, Woman, Thou Art Loosed (WTAL), and MegaFest. A powerful and popular symposium, WTAL addresses the specific spiritual needs of women, speaks to their strengths, rather than their weaknesses, and empowers many to go from welfare to work, and from prison inmate to productive citizen. The WTAL conference set national indoor attendance records at the Atlanta Georgia Dome in 1999 with an average 84,500 attendees per day. ManPower seeks to equip and encourage men to build strong marriages, increase their confidence, and take on more responsibility within their community. The Pastors’ and Leadership Conference is designed for individuals in church leadership positions and for those seeking to further develop their leadership skills.
MegaFest, inaugurated in 2004, is a family-oriented Christian festival that combines Woman, Thou Art Loosed, ManPower and new components for children, teenagers, and young adults. The Mega Youth Experience (MYE), a component added to the conference in 2005, was created for young people ages 13 to 21, and is designed to inspire, inform, prepare, and empower Christian youth for today’s world. MegaKidz offers fun-filled and interactive sessions throughout the day, presenting the Christian gospel to children ages 5 to 12 in an easily understandable format. In 2005, Bishop and Mrs. Jakes were honored by Georgia Dome officials for breaking their 1999 attendance record during MegaFest 2004 when more than 140,000 people attended a single service – over the four-day period the couple hosted 560,000 men, women, young adults, and children. MegaFest 2005 was broadcast internationally to more than 2/3 of the world’s population, broadcast live via satellite into 350 U.S. prisons, and into each prison in the country of Bermuda, with live dialogues in Chicago, Memphis, and Glennville, Georgia. In October 2006, Bishop Jakes announced that the ministry will not host a MegaFest 2007 conference, and will instead take a year-long sabbatical to strategically evaluate the focus of MegaFest 2008. The location of MegaFest 2008 is yet undetermined.
In 2006, Bishop introduced and hosted the first For Men Only conference, and in 2007, he and Mrs. Jakes will also host the first-ever For Ladies Only conference. Both conferences will be held in 2007 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. In previous years, Bishop Jakes has also hosted both the God’s Leading Ladies and Into the Hearts of Men national speaking tours. Each of these conferences was conceived by Bishop and Mrs. Jakes’ desire to assist men and women in their efforts to become and achieve their personal best, and to allow themselves the opportunity to intimately speak and teach into the lives of conference attendees.
International Ministry Initiatives
The outreach efforts of Bishop Jakes and The Potter’s House do not tarry at the doors of the church, or even on the shores of the nation. Additional attempts to contribute positively to society include financing and initiating the construction of two Habitat for Humanity homes in conjunction with the ManPower 2003 conference, and making a $107,000 donation to relocate Dallas citizens from an economically and environmentally disadvantaged area in 2003. The ministry is also responsible for contributing to the construction of a much needed hospital in Belize, Central America, and has sent missionaries to northern Mexico, the Republic of Guyana, and other areas of the world where people are living under perilous physical and spiritual conditions. Also very mindful of Africa and passionate about doing what he can to contribute to the well being of the continent’s people, Bishop Jakes, his partners, and The Potter’s House sponsored the construction of six water wells and five water stations throughout the arid, drought stricken areas of Kenya in 2005, supplying desperately needed purified drinking water to people and livestock as well as valuable irrigation for crops. Wells were drilled in each of three Kenyan districts: West Pokot, Sigor, and Baringo. September 26 – October 2, 2005, Bishop Jakes dedicated the new sources of water during a weeklong humanitarian missionary trip that included than 300 African Americans, including a skilled team of medical professionals, and The Potter’s House’s 140-member mass choir. More than 6,000 Kenyans received medical care from organized teams of doctors and nurses. Medicines valued at more than $200,000 U.S. dollars, as well as 7,000 pairs of eyeglasses, were distributed. While in Kenya, Bishop Jakes and his team served alongside the healing team of Melchizedek Hospital, located in a slum area called Kawangware, and sponsored the construction of six water wells and five water stations throughout the arid, drought stricken areas of Kenya. The mission trip culminated with worship services led by Bishop Jakes in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park. On March 18, 2006, Melchizedek Hospital officially dedicated the T.D. Jakes Wing to facilitate a maternity ward, intensive care units and an operating room.
In October 2006 a delegation from The Potter’s House commissioned by Bishop Jakes returned to Kenya to establish a computer lab at Kawangware Primary School, the first of its kind in a slum school. Contractors remodeled a unit of the school and equipped it with the latest technology, and on October 6, 2006, the unit was dedicated on to the memory of Bishop Jakes’ late mother.
International and National Crisis Intervention
In February 2005, Bishop Jakes presented checks to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF from The Potter’s House and Clay Academy totaling $100,606.11. The contribution represented the largest tsunami relief donation received by UNICEF from a faith-based organization. In September 2005, Bishop Jakes placed in motion the full force of the ministry’s resources into actively assisting families displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Only two days after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, The Potter’s House created a telephone bank to receive calls from survivors of the hurricanes who were now residing in the North Texas region. The church then matched the needs of survivors with calls from Good Samaritans who made offers of housing, employment, and non-perishable items such as clothing, shoes, bed linens, diapers, toiletries, and school supplies. The church’s medical ministry filled prescriptions and provided blood pressure, heart, and diabetic medication. Clay Academy also opened its enrollment to displaced students. In December 2005 Bishop Jakes was asked to serve with the Rev. William H. Gray III as co-chair of the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund’s Interfaith Coalition.
The Potter’s House Event Center
The Potter’s House makes its physical facilities available to the public as The Potter’s House Event Center, completed in August 2000 and located within easy driving distance from anywhere in the Metroplex. The main auditorium seats 7,600 people and is a great venue for general sessions, meetings, graduations, musical concerts, and corporate presentations. Cascade seating makes the main floor accessible from the balcony without exiting the room.The main auditorium also features a concert quality sound system with completely digital signal processing. Two 20 foot x 26’-6” video screens provide optimal visibility for image magnification and video presentations. The facility offers pre-wired camera positions for IMAG, recording, and satellite uplink capability for live video feeds. Wide catwalks and state-of-the-art lighting provide staging flexibility.The choir loft provides seating for 450. The stage is more than 150 feet wide and offers easy walk up from all sides. The platform is also wheelchair accessible from an elevator backstage. The backstage area includes support spaces, i.e., dressing rooms, green rooms, and secures VIP access. The chapel/small meeting room seats 500 and is ideal for breakout sessions, presentations, and weddings. The room has a quality sound system and lighting suitable for video from the platform. There are adjacent dressing rooms which can be used for bridal parties or presenters.
The lobby offers easy flow of foot traffic with ample space for conference registration areas and sales of promotional materials. The large 1,200-seat meeting room offers a full stage, quality sound system and two video projection screens for image magnification and presentation support. Video capability allows this room to be used as a stand-alone meeting space or in conjunction with the main auditorium for overflow. More information about The Potter’s House Event Center can be found by visiting www.thepottershouse.org.