More than 25 years later, he pastors what Christianity Today calls "one of America's fastest growing mega-churches." The Potter's House, a multiracial nondenominational church with 50-plus active outreach ministries, has dominated church growth records since its inception in 1996. In its nine-year existence, the church has grown from the 50 families that relocated with the Jakes' family from West Virginia to Dallas to more than 30,000 members to-date. 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, having recently retired the financial debt incurred by the construction of its 191,000 square foot, $45 million sanctuary - an accomplishment phenomenally achieved within four years.
Bishop Jakes was born in South Charleston, WV, on June 9, 1957. His parents, businessman and entrepreneur Ernest Sr. and educator Odith, were charitable benefactors in their community. It is to them that their son credits as the source of his own integrity, discipline, and self-reliance.
Bishop Jakes is the CEO of The Potter's House of Dallas, Inc., a nonprofit organization that has produced three major national conferences - "The Pastor's and Leadership Conference," "ManPower" and "Woman, Thou Art Loosed." The vision of The Potter's House does not tarry at the doors of our church, or even on the shores of our nation. 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 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.