Why T.D. Jakes Almost Quit the Ministry

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Bishop T.D. Jakes told Steven Furtick he almost quit ministry for good—but then he had a life-changing encounter with a woman who reminded him of the real reason for his ministry. During a conversation with Furtick at Elevation Church, Jakes explained that the major media attention nearly forced him to quit being a pastor.

“I almost quit,” Jakes said. “I’m a country boy. I’m from West Virginia. I don’t know nothing about this big-time stuff. I never even asked to be big. I wanted to be effective, not famous. Famous is the consequences of being effective. I didn’t know nothing about being famous and I didn’t like it. So there I was. And when you’re first new, everybody attacks you first and figures you out later.”

He says he was “viciously” attacked in the press and decided he was through with it all.

“The first time I was in the Washington Post, the article was so vicious it made me nauseous,” Jakes said. “I was so shocked that you could say that stuff about somebody you didn’t even know based on assumptions and a little bit of this and a little bit of that, then they’d piece it all together and you don’t get to say anything back. So I decided I don’t want this. … Nobody knew it because preachers can override their feelings and function. I had preached at places on fire, but inside, I wanted to quit. I told God, ‘I’m through with this. I’m not going through this. I don’t need this.'”

One night after preaching, Jakes had an encounter with a woman who changed his life.

“I was mad inside,” Jakes said. “I was hurt. And I stayed up in the fellowship with the pastors because I didn’t want to go back to my room and sulk in my own sorrows. And they said, ‘There’s a lady downstairs waiting to see you.’ The service was over. The fellowship was over. The pastors were starting to leave. I was trying to out-wait her. I thought she’d give up and leave. And when I finally came down the steps, she was there. And she was just a willowy bit of a woman, and she said, ‘Bishop Jakes,’ she said, ‘I’ve been in the hospital.’ She said, ‘I was pregnant in my fallopian tubes, and the baby died in my tubes. And I was carrying around a dead baby. And the toxicity from the baby almost killed me.’ But she said, ‘The only thing that kept me alive was hearing you preach.'”

Jakes, visibly moved to tears, explained what happened next.

“She said, ‘If you hadn’t been preaching to me every day, I swear I would’ve died,'” Jakes said. “Then she looked at me and she said, ‘It’s for us. It’s not for them. It’s for us.’ It hit me so hard. I didn’t even get her name. I got her card and cried all the way back to my room, because she reminded me why I was there.”

Watch the full video interview with Jakes here. His conversation about nearly quitting ministry begins at roughly 1:05:00.

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