Interview with TD Jakes – Global Leadership Summit, Session 6

Bishop TD Jakes is engaged in the worlds of church, film, TV, publishing and more. He is leveraging a TV show to speak to those outside the church in an environment that’s not wrapped in “religousosity” (#TDJakesShow).  Jakes leads a congregation of 30,000 and actively speaks on leadership and healing—both in the spiritual and racial sense.

He compares racism in America to a sickness:  when we get a fever, our body is telling us there is something wrong. As difficult as the issues in our current society are, the blessing in it is that it’s exposing something that needs to be addressed.  Visible through a series of issues, we have pockets of illness and it forces us to ask: “Are we including all people in our strategy for success?” We had a strategy for “us” but did not include all people, and when people can’t eat, get a job, or have equal opportunities, they swell to a point where the larger issue cannot be ignored.

There is success within the black community, but just because there are some successes, doesn’t mean it is the case for all.  The successes are merely exceptions who didn’t fall into some of the potholes many experience.  Jakes summarizes their situation: “I could get on my feet if you didn’t cut off my legs.”  But this is not just a black/white issue. Hatred and ethnic strife is found every corner of the world and anarchy erupts whenever someone in power leaves another people group out of their strategy. 

Sadly, the church has done one of the worst jobs at this. It is one of the most segregated places on Sunday mornings.  This is a situation in which we have the faith but not the works.  The church, and nation, needs great leaders to rise up and challenge the system, bring true leadership back to the table and pioneer the next movement. When we understand the brotherhood of men and include all men, we can bring the Hope of Christ and, with it, unity.  Love is hard. Jakes challenges leaders, “If you’re not doing something that scares you, you’re not growing yourself. We need to be challenged every day.”  Love well.

In our quest to love well, lead better, sometimes we get trapped by titles and stop seeking. Stop pushing.  Stop growing.  People can put a “period” on our identity, but God sees commas.  Jakes challenges leaders to find the commas, the common denominators in your giftedness—its manifestation can come out in many ways and you’ll find various opportunities to utilize your gifts when you’re on the lookout.

But figuring out where we want to go is usually not the challenging thing. It’s what you need to let go of to get there that seems to give us the most trouble.  Your dream should be bigger than you.  If you are capable of fulfilling it yourself, then it’s too small.  Just like the Israelites wandering through the wilderness relying on daily manna:  quit trying to save the bread, only to watch it spoil. You can’t hold on to old vision, yesterday’s bread. Sometimes the “worms” that appear are a blessing to help us let go.  Unity and equality in our nation is not an easy goal.  And half the battle is releasing our petty, but more attainable goals, to reach for the big one.

There is not one thing on this Earth that God did not put a seed within. You are gifted with multiple gifts. The ultimate question for your life is what are you going to do with what God gave you? How are you going to increase it? Stop looking at other people and their gifts, and instead look inward to the gifts God has given you. Be fruitful. Get out of the box. You are more than what people pay, say, or think about you. God has given you the opportunity to rediscover yourself.  Rethink what God has given you.  Rethink your goals.  Go do something hard.