If your heart is saddened by the news that Bishop T.D. Jakes is ending his “Woman Thou Art Loosed” conference after 2020, you’re not alone.
“I’m a little sad too. I’m a little nostalgic,” said the 62-year-old visionary behind the mega event, who discussed his reasons for moving on in a recent interview.
“It’s been amazing. It’s been an incredible career. Over 30 years I’ve been doing ‘Woman Thou Art Loosed.’ 43 years I’ve been preaching the gospel. I’m not retiring from the ministry, but I do think it’s important to know when to bow out, to go after other things, not to do things just out of tradition, but to move on to other messages,” Jakes told Atlanta’s V-103 DJ Frank Ski during an in-studio sit-down.
At its start, “Woman Thou Art Loosed” was a Sunday School class taught by Jakes that he said “really struck into a reservoir of human need, dealing with women being trapped by emotional, mental, physical pain, trauma, abuse, childhood scars. And it was just a message to say that you can get over it; that you can get beyond it; that you can still be somebody; that you don’t have to be ensnared by where you came from. It was very simplistic, but it was very needed, and I think it’s still needed today.”
The need that Jakes’ encouraging message filled created a demand that the Potter’s House of Dallas leader was not quite expecting. When Jakes wrote and self-published his book of the same title and sold it out of the trunk of his car, it went on to sell nearly seven million copies worldwide and was translated into 10 different languages.
“It swept the country. It swept the world. It went around the globe,” said the prolific preacher who is beloved by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry for painting vivid word pictures with his sermons that make Bible stories practical and applicable to modern times.
But now, after three decades of pouring into women through the annual “Woman Thou Art Loosed” gathering, Jakes said it’s time to do other things.
“Women are taking leadership. They’re moving into positions of power. They’re being healed emotionally and spiritually. Now it’s time to talk about some other things that need to happen,” he explained.
“We’re losing our men. We’re losing our sons. We’ve got all kinds of crazy stuff happening in our country right now, and I need to free my hands from what I used to do, so that I can have availability to focus on the ways that I can best contribute now,” Jakes added.
The conference’s last hurrah and send-off is happening in Atlanta, GA, September 10-12.
“We’re going to throw a party. It’s going to be a spiritual, Holy Ghost jamboree,” said Jakes who chose Atlanta for a very special reason.
“It exploded in Atlanta. It exploded like something I had never seen before, and quite honestly, it blew up to a degree where I was scared to death,” he laughed. “I had never had to manage so many pieces. So I wanted to bring it back for its finale here to Atlanta, and I’m inviting everybody.”
The New York Times best-selling author and powerhouse CEO, whose origin story is in West Virginia, told Frank Ski he wants to “close it down right and really celebrate who we are as a people in our spirituality.”
While the grand finale promises to be a huge undertaking, unlike his earlier days, Bishop Jakes is no longer “scared to death.”
His mega staff matches his mega ministry.
“I’ve got 300 people on staff, so it’s not just me. It’s all kinds of people helping me to do what I do. I didn’t get here by myself—not just staff, but also 4,000 volunteers in our church. They are helping me to get things done,” he said.
Though many are sad to see “Woman Thou Art Loosed” end, conference-goers will have one last chance to celebrate and participate in the life-changing annual event that has impacted lives worldwide so profoundly.