June 9, 1957: Pastor T.D. Jakes Born in South Charleston


On June 9, 1957, pastor T. D. Jakes was born in South Charleston. He developed an avid interest in the ministry as a young boy, preaching to imaginary congregations. After graduating from West Virginia State College, he started his first church. The Greater Emmanuel Temple of Faith opened in a Montgomery storefront in 1980 with a congregation of 10. Two years later, the Union Carbide plant where Jakes worked closed, and he pursued the ministry full time.

Word of his uplifting sermons spread, and his congregation, notable for its racial diversity, grew swiftly. He moved first to a refurbished theater in Smithers, then to South Charleston, then to Cross Lanes. By 1996, his congregation had surpassed 1,000 members. That year, Jakes relocated his ministry to Texas and founded the Potter’s House in Dallas.

The church’s services include ministries to homeless people, prisoners, prostitutes, and people with AIDS, as well as treatment for drug and alcohol abusers, and adult education. T. D. Jakes Ministries, the non-profit company that sells his videos and audiotapes, grossed $19 million just in 2000 alone. His ministry now has more than 30,000 members.