TD Jakes: “Create A Vision So Big You Cannot Achieve It Alone”


Many take a look at what Bishop T.D. Jakes has done over the span of his life and say he’s the definition of successful–not perfect–but successful. Jakes is co-founder of The Potter’s House, a church and humanitarian organization that attracts more than 100,000 members worldwide. The spiritual leader has expanded his brand to produce movies, release Grammy award-winning music, host BET’s Mind, Body & Soul talk show, and selling more than 20 million books (in total), producing $115 million in revenues.

But Jakes has had his fair share of learning to get to this point.

In 1982, Jakes became the pastor of Greater Emanuel Temple of Faith in West Virginia. When he started out he had only 10 members in the congregation.

Yet, the church grew, and kept growing. Leading Jakes to move it several times to accommodate the larger congregation and following.

Jakes moved his church from West Virginia to Texas in 1996. He also moved 50 families involved in his work and created a campus environment for his congregation, which grew to 14,000 members at the time.

Fortunately for us, he shares some of those life lessons with us.

In his newly published book, Instinct, Jakes dedicates a chapter to leading. Here are seven quotes from the book that highlight his philosophy:

1. “Your own metamorphosis doesn’t have to be dramatic. It may simply mean moving from doing other folks’ hair in your kitchen to doing it in a salon, or going from owning a health spa to owning a chain of spas. God blesses what you do, not your feigning and going through the motions. Action must be an outgrowth of a faith that is working.

It was my father’s faith that took one mop and one bucket and turned them into a whole janitorial service. It was my mom’s faith that led her to put an oil lamp to read by at the bottom of the bed, with 14 brothers and sisters jostling all around her, and work her way through Tuskegee. This is not a faith that simply feeds a hunger for capitalism, making money for money’s sake, or amassing material goods. This is not a name-it-and-claim-it, blab-and-grab kind of faith. It’s deep-seated. Without it, no one experiences tried-and-true success.”

2. “We instinctively know how to lead if we allow ourselves. …When instincts are ignored, leaders become followers, and followers become unemployed.”


3. “Anything that we do for years that doesn’t match the inner imprint of our gifting will eventually become monotonous and routine, ritualistic and frustrating.”

4. “Leadership emerges not only when an individual can capably do what needs doing; the real test is passed when a person can implement what needs to be done through others.”

5. “When you operate independently in the midst of your team, it stunts their growth as well as your own. You don’t want to lead a task, run a business, direct a philanthropy, or guide a church if your stakeholders assume you…