Bishop T.D. Jakes pastor of The Potter’s House, a 30,000-member mega church in Dallas, TX is tired of being boxed in by others’ definition of what it means to be a preacher of the gospel—this, according to a sermon he preached Sunday morning, September 15.
In an effort to make the point that the perceptions of others limit what they believe is acceptable from someone in his shoes, the contemporary pastor revealed to his congregation, when meeting new people, “I almost never tell them I’m a preacher.”
As Jakes walked the aisles of the sanctuary, arguing intensely in favor of diversifying one’s circle and being connected to others who do not think the same way, he explained, “When I fly on a plane and people ask me what I do for a living, I almost never tell them I’m a preacher. I almost never tell them I’m a preacher,” he reiterated.
“I tell them I’m an author. I tell them I’m a speaker. You know, I tell them I’m a [movie] producer. I almost never tell them I’m a preacher.”
After the man named “America’s Best Preacher” by TIME Magazine threw out that somewhat surprising tidbit of information, he then explained why he keeps his role as a carrier of the gospel of Jesus Christ a secret.
“Because once you give them a word [like preacher], their definition of that word, controls the rest of the entire conversation,” he said, as attendees listened to his discourse.
Jakes continued, “I don’t mind having to fight in my own armor, but I have to fight what you think that means. So, sometimes, rather than have to fight what you think that means, I don’t bring it up, so I’m not incarcerated by your traditional understanding of what that is.”
Traditionalism, in Jakes’ eyes, is the enemy of his ministry—one that is growing more diverse and mainstream, similar to Grammy award-winning rap artist, Lecrae, who has chosen to drop the “Christian” label from his art.
“I just don’t want there to be any hindrance to people hearing the music and ultimately hearing the gospel,” said the Houston-bred Hip Hop lyricist and Reach Records CEO in an interview with WADE-O Radio.
Both he and Jakes have taken heat in their respective fields for non-Christian collaborations.
In the Bishop’s eyes, though, the limiting preconceptions do not only exist outside the church, but within. “The problem is, you can’t get into your traditional understanding of what this [church] is. You can’t even hear me, because you have a preconceived idea of what this is. You understand what I’m saying?” he asked, working hard to bring his point across with clarity.
Jakes added, “You can’t really receive what I’m offering to you because you have a stereotypical idea, [that says] Potter’s House is a church. Jakes is a preacher. [He] reminds me of Reverend Wilson when I was a boy. You got us all locked into this traditional understanding of who God is…”
But criticized or not, the charismatic speaker is breaking out of what he calls congregants’ “narrow little mind of what church is.”
Article By Emili’ Sanders:: EEW Magazine Ministry News