*From actors to television icons, Bishop TD Jakes is admired by many.
And last Friday they converged on Dallas to help Jakes celebrate his 35th anniversary in ministry.
The event was held at the Winspear Opera House in Downtown Dallas. Among the clergy who graced the red carpet to honor Jakes were Bishop I.V. and First Lady Bridget Hilliard, Bishop Eddie and First Lady Vanessa Long and Pastor Paula White proving that Jakes is a pastor among pastors.
“Pound for pound, in the body of Christ, Jakes stands head and shoulders above us all. He represents us well and he pushes us to excellence, said Hilliard.
The list of actors in attendance who have either appeared in a Jakes film or shared the big screen with him were Loretta Devine, Megan Good, Mike Epps, Angela Bassett and Kimberly Elise. Even though Epps admitted his comedy can be R-rated, the comedian said Jakes has served as an inspiration to him.
“I have gone through phases in my life from the bottom up. If and when the time comes for me to be that type of (clean) comedian I think I will be that type of comedian.
“It’s ironic that we choose to have football, basektball and baseball coaches but we don’t choose to have spiritual coaches,” said NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, adding that “I don’t understand how we expect to overcome adversity without such.”
Sanders, who confirmed that he and celebrity Tracey Edmonds are a couple, attended the event as did Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboys teammate Emmitt Smith with his wife, Patricia.
Although actor Charles Dutton said just recently met Jakes, he admitted that he too is inspired by him. Dr. Bernice King said had her father, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lived to know Jakes she believes they would have been friends.
BeBe Winans, Mary Mary, Karen Clark Sheard, singer KEM and jazz pianist Keiko Matsui also attended the gala. Television Mogul Oprah Winfrey was there too.
Despite the fanfare Jakes appeared to be humbled by all the attention. When asked about his growing popularity among everyone from parishioners to the mega wealthy he said:
“It was never my plan to be a success. I only hoped to share a message of love. I never had any other aspirations than trying to help people.”
Asked how his message has changed over the decades, Jakes responded:
“My message has not changed but my method changes everyday. We don’t have to change our message. Just be honest about what we think and feel and communicate that message. I’m glad I’m alive to participate in shaping a future that I will never see.”
Jakes said, “it’s overwhelming to see any type of affirmation or validation” about your work. Even though he’s not ready to retire, Jakes told us he hopes to spend more time on the beach in the coming years.
See more photos from this event at Gospel Today.