Beliefnet: What is worship and what does it mean to you?
Bishop T.D. Jakes:Well for me worship and my understanding of worship comes from the Latin word “worth-ship” and it is where we express God's worth to us in our lives. Worship is essential to really create an atmosphere for the word of God to flow and for God to move in our lives corporately and individually.
Beliefnet: Some people would say worship is something that only takes place in the church, others would say it’s a daily practice, or something that you should do every now and then or perhaps when you feel like it. What would you say to that?
T.D. Jakes: I don’t think worship is solely reserved for church service. Most religions have something that requires slowing down and getting in touch with the spiritual aspect of who you are. Some people meditate and some people chant. But for Christians worship becomes the centralized place where you really get in touch with who you are as a spirit being. We need to understand that the spirit also has needs and that those needs require tranquility and contacting God – and this can happen corporately and individually. However, worshiping with other people enhances the worship experience. It’s much like exercising with other people. It enhances the exercise experience.
Beliefnet: Why exercise?
T.D. Jakes: Well you know the reason I use the exercise metaphor is – the author of Hebrews used it as well when he talks about our spiritual senses. He says "by reason of use having their spiritual senses exercised" (Hebrews 5:14). The word exercise in the original language is where we get the word gymnasium. Worship then gives us an opportunity to exercise our spiritual ear and our spiritual sight. If we walk in the flesh it will strengthen us in sin. If we walk in the spirit it will strengthen us in righteousness and peace.
Beliefnet: To what degree would you say our spiritual life has an impact on our overall well-being?
T.D. Jakes: Doctors say that people who have faith appear healthier. Many emotional imbalances, illnesses, as well as many physical things like hypertension medical science says result from stress. Stress produces pressure, anxiety, worry; all of those things that we carry day to day in the process have ramifications that affect our physicality, our sense of emotional wellbeing and our sense of tranquility. I think all of that is a residual of relying on yourself, being your own god, instead of relying on a higher power to help steer you through the vicissitudes of life.
Beliefnet: All right, so you're a best-selling author, you pastor a 30,000 plus member church, major movie producing, world-wide conferences and ministies, what’s next for you?
T.D. Jakes: You know at this point in my life, my passion now is to watch the torch pass to the next generation. To be there to coach younger men who are coming along and encourage them to be all that they can be and to allow men and women to explore their spiritual gifting because I think it is important that faith has a legacy. I’m concerned that we are so quick to throw people away when they make mistakes or they have errors in judgment. And I think that we’re throwing away people that God has chosen and I don’t think that we should do that - I don't believe God wants us to do that.