One of the most popular Christian preachers in America and a best-selling author who produced over a dozen books in just the first five years of his writing career, Bishop T.D. Jakes began recording in 1997 with a live version of his most popular book, Woman, Thou Art Loosed!. Born in 1957 in West Virginia, Jakes was raised as a Baptist, but an experience at a storefront Apostolic church gave him a sense of purpose to preach the unity to a disparate Christian America, whether the issue is denominational, racial or sexual. He attended West Virginia State University and studied psychology, though he later earned a master's as well as a doctorate in the ministry. After marrying in 1980 and working for several years at Union Carbide, he moved into a full-time ministry role with the founding of Charleston's Temple of Faith in 1986.
T.D. Jakes' renown grew during the rest of the decade as he gave several high-profile sermons around the nation, including the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship's convention before 45,000 people. By 1993, he had begun writing Christian books, and in 1995 his Woman, Thou Art Loosed! became the second best-selling Christian book of the year. In early 1996, Jakes learned that W.V. Grant's large Eagle's Nest Family Church in Dallas was for sale. He bought the site -- as well as its media facilities -- and soon gained audiences of over 5,000. Sacred Love Songs followed in 1999; Storm Is Over appeared two years later. ~ John Bush