It’s not re­li­gious, but Jakes hopes new show will ‘min­is­ter’

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FEATURES - By Nekesa Mumbi Moody

NEW YORK >> T.D. Jakes doesn’t wave around the Bible or preach from Proverbs in his new OWN talk show; he’s dis­cussed plas­tic surgery ob­ses­sions, ques­tioned Bobby Brown about his trou­bled mar­riage to Whit­ney Hous­ton, and talked pol­i­tics with the net­work’s queen, Oprah Win­frey.

But the pop­u­lar pas­tor still con­sid­ers his host role an ex­ten­sion of his min­istry.

“I think it is a chance to min­is­ter to the na­tion. I think it is a chance to ... in­fil­trate the cul­ture and to be a part of the con­ver­sa­tion on main­stream tele­vi­sion,” says the 59-year-old pas­tor.

“I think it is a very im­por­tant that we don’t re­main nu­anced and stay in our com­mu­ni­ties or our sanc­tu­ary and not re­ally en­gaged in the cul­ture. We need to be out there lis­ten­ing and learn­ing and talk­ing and adding our thoughts to the whole mix of who we are as Amer­i­cans.”

It’s just an­other ex­am­ple of how Jakes has used his pow­er­ful voice to ex­tend his in­flu­ence far be­yond the Dal­las megachurch Pot­ter’s House. Jakes is a best-sell­ing au­thor whose books in­clude in­spi­ra­tional tomes, in­clud­ing this year’s “Des­tiny” and the novel “Woman Thou Art Loosed” which led to the Hol­ly­wood film of the same name.

His Hol­ly­wood im­print also con­tin­ues to grow. Besides “The T.D. Jakes Show,” he is a pro­ducer of other films, in­clud­ing “Mir­a­cles from Heaven” star­ring Jen­nifer Gar­ner.

And he still finds time to make it back to his church to preach on Sun­days.

AP: Some talk shows on to­day are of a more sala­cious na­ture. How will yours be dif­fer­ent?

Jakes: I don’t ex­pect to do gut­tural shows. I am not that kind of per­son and don’t want to be char­ac­ter­ized in that way, but we are go­ing to up­lift­ing shows. We will meet

peo­ple where they are. I have been deal­ing with peo­ple who have had sub­stance abuse. I have been deal­ing with hu­man traf­fick­ing. I have been deal­ing with do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. I have been deal­ing with fam­ily con­flict . ... This is go­ing to be a pot­pourri ... in terms of the di­ver­sity of shows each day.

AP: Who do you think we are as Amer­i­cans these days? In some ways, we seem very di­vided.

Jakes: I don’t re­ally agree with that. I think that we are fi­nally talk­ing about things that we all knew ex­isted in our nu­anced ar­eas all the while. Now we are strug­gling to have a con­ver­sa­tion and it is a rough con­ver­sa­tion. But I am used to rough con­ver­sa­tions be­cause it is al­most like a dysfunctional fam­ily who never talks about the ele­phant in the mid­dle of the room. And when you start talk­ing about it, emo­tions flare and tem­pers flare. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing be­cause if we can keep

go­ing through that pro­cesses, and the end of it, hope­fully we’ll have res­o­lu­tion and some­body will call us to­gether . .... That there is com­mon ground and that rea­son should pre­vail over watch­ing our coun­try fall apart.

AP: A lot of key preach­ers have got­ten in­volved in the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. Do you see your­self do­ing so?

Jakes: I have never seen a cam­paign that was as vis­ceral as this one . .... My con­cern is not with the politi­cians, it’s with the poli­cies. I think that we are so engrossed with the politi­cians and their con­ver­sa­tions that we are miss­ing the poli­cies and what I want to do on my show is high­light the poli­cies . ... I want to bring it back to Amer­i­cans.

AP: There have been re­ports that younger peo­ple are less in tune with a re­li­gion. Why do you think that is?

Jakes: The world is chang­ing. The way we re­ceive in­for­ma­tion is chang­ing. The sec­ond thing is that I don’t think con­tem­po­rary par­ents have raised their chil­dren in church like my gen­er­a­tion was raised — it was just a for­gone con­clu­sion. It’s Sun­day morn­ing and you’re go­ing to church . ... We skipped a gen­er­a­tion and so we lost a gen­er­a­tion, and I think we have to be much more in­ten­tional about com­mu­ni­cat­ing our faith in ways that is rel­e­vant to a broader cul­ture who re­ceives ev­ery­thing over their phones.

AP: So, is it OK on Sun­day if I sleep in and watch you on TV in­stead of head­ing to church?

Jakes: I am old school. I re­ally want peo­ple to come and be­cause there is some­thing about be­ing in that ... wor­ship at­mos­phere that I think is amaz­ing and spe­cial that doesn’t al­ways cross over to tele­vi­sion . .... How­ever, I am re­ally cool with the so­cial me­dia thing. The last five peo­ple we hired have been in our so­cial me­dia de­part­ment . ... As long as the mes­sage gets out, I don’t care how it gets out there . ... I might be work­ing my­self out of a job, but that’s OK. On­line: http://www.td­jakes.org/

PHOTO BY CHARLES SYKES — IN­VI­SION — AP, FILE

In this Satur­day file photo, Bishop T.D. Jakes speaks dur­ing McDon­ald’s Gospelfest 2013 at the Pru­den­tial Cen­ter, in Ne­wark, N.J. Jakes’ new show isn’t about bible verses, but he still hopes his new OWN talk show will min­is­ter to a na­tion in tur­moil.

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