Jakes tries to lead ladies up corporate ladder

Preacher’s business message wasn’t what I was expecting at conference
The Charlotte Observer, Apr. 12, 2003

Bishop T.D. Jakes covered everything a Christian woman might want to know about succeeding in business last weekend at his two-day “God’s Leading Ladies” conference.

At least 18,000 women took part last Friday and Saturday at the Charlotte Coliseum. And while Jakes pulled together an excellent conference, I was ready for a revival-type celebration that didn’t quite happen.

I thought Jakes would preach himself into a sweat, lay hands on a few folks or anoint them with oil like other world-renowned evangelists.

But he was on a different mission this time: climbing the corporate ladder.

“Churchey is not our focus right now,” Jakes said in an interview. “We can’t just keep shouting and ignore the dearth that exists in our community, economically, socially and corporately.”

Jakes is pastor of the Potter’s House Church in Dallas, Texas, where he ministers to the homeless, addicts and people with other problems. The “God’s Leading Ladies” conference was not designed for them.

Having Deion Sanders as emcee wasn’t a bad start for a ladies night out. Everything about the former football and baseball star was polished — including his head. He didn’t run out of humor.

Helen Baylor had it all together for the vocal entertainment. She led the women in “Awesome God,” which echoed with inspiration throughout the coliseum. A rollicking comedy, “Lydia,” added some fresh laugh lines.

Dr. Ronn Elmore, “The Relationship Doctor,” gave some extremely comical but beneficial information on handling men. He sent me home with a new attitude that was good for at least 24 hours.

By the time Jakes appeared for his on-stage interview with Cheryl Martin, former BET show host, a few restless souls headed for the exit signs. They’d be back the next day to get the full benefit of their $59 tickets.

Dr. Marian Heard tapped into every aspect of business etiquette, gracefully and with dignity until she commented favorably about the honorary emcee’s “buns.”

The conference was not totally amiss, though. The “goal-oriented” ladies were clutching transparent plastic bags filled with informational tapes and books, T-shirts and other memorabilia that was on sale in every wing of the coliseum.

A young woman, Janie, sat next to me. She said she came looking for a shouting/praise service, too. She gave me the ultimate message.

“I understand (Jakes),” she said. “He’s trying to equip Christians to be able to take over the failing businesses or open their own businesses.”

Janie leaped up several times and yelled “yes!” during the messages. Other women ran across the coliseum floor near the stage, shouting, and waving hands in the air as Jakes sent forth more powerful words of encouragement. They created their own revival.

I learned a lot about Christians climbing corporate ladders. However, it can’t compare to “climbing Jacob’s ladder.” At least I know who’s waiting for me at the top.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday April 13, 2003.
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