What Is the Significance of Bishop T.D. Jakes' Sermons?

Bishop T.D. Jakes' sermons are known for their dual focus on self-help as well as faith that God cares for his followers. Jakes' messages often address improving relationships, personal health and economic circumstances as well as how to move past emotional psychological trauma.

Based in Dallas, Texas, Jakes preaches at the Potter's House, a 30,000-member nondenominational church. Through his church, he ministers to those often overlooked by mainstream churches, including drug addicts, prostitutes and victims of violence. He teaches that God has empowered each Christian to thrive, regardless of his circumstances.

Critics contend Jakes focuses too much on money and that connecting finances with spiritual faith dilutes God's message. They also accuse him of flaunting his personal wealth. However, Jakes says he is doing God's work by telling people how to become debt-free and self-sufficient, and he does not apologize for his own financial success.

Jakes' sermons appeal to a broad cross-section of people including Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. His message gained widespread exposure with the 2004 release of the film "Woman, Thou Art Loosed," which focuses on a young woman coming to grips with sexual abuse, drug addiction and poverty. The film is based on Jakes' self-help book of the same title.