As a best-selling author, successful entrepreneur, and the spiritual leader of The Potter’s House, a Christian church based in Dallas, Texas that boasts over 30,000 members, Bishop T.D. Jakes likes to dream big. He works hard to overcome the barriers that separate people from hope, peace and joy. He makes it his mission to free people from the chains that keep us from reaching our full potential. And in his largest endeavor, a 4-day festival that attracts nearly 100,000 attendees, he does all of this on an unprecedented scale.
This festival, appropriately called MegaFest, is more than what it appears to be. To those outside the spiritual community, MegaFest simply looks like a massive Christian revival. And while it is rooted in the Christian faith of its founder, this event goes beyond what is usually considered sacred—it has something to offer everyone.
MegaFest combines four of Jakes’ most popular conferences—Woman Thou Are Loosed, ManPower, MegaKidz, and MegaYouth—and features a number of arts and entertainment events such as dance classes, comedy shows, celebrity appearances, film screenings, and more. These are mixed in with inspirational sessions and practical workshops that teach a variety of life skills such as entrepreneurship, health, and even navigating the glass ceiling. If it’s a needed family skill, you can probably learn it at MegaFest. It’s not just a festival—it’s an experience.
And therein lies the power of MegaFest.
Many consider the barrier between the sacred and the secular to be impenetrable. If you believe in this divide, you might think that some things are inherently spiritual, and have no practical value to the rest of the world. Conversely, you may also believe that some things are worldly, and have no eternal, spiritual value for the faithful. These two worlds are wholly and forever separate for many people, Christian and non-Christian alike.
But it doesn’t have to be this way—we don’t have to put faith into a neatly labeled box. After all, can’t Christians engage in secular culture? Can’t they create beautiful art? Can’t they put on a comedy show? Can’t they put on theatrical performances? Can’t they teach great business practices? And can’t they do all of these things so well that everyone, regardless of faith, can benefit and be enriched by their work?
Of course they can. The wall between the sacred and the secular isn’t real—it’s built, brick by brick, from our assumptions about how the world should work, not how it actually does.
These assumptions are often detrimental to us all. When Christians make these assumptions, they fail to engage with the world outside of their culture, and their relevancy dwindles. And when the outside world takes on its own, corresponding assumptions, it fails to take the potentially enriching nature of Christian culture seriously. Overcoming the barrier between the sacred and secular is good for all of us, and this is a part of what MegaFest provides.
On this aspect of MegaFest, Bishop Jakes says, in a 2015 interview with CBN, that he’s trying to help “America to have an experience with their family and with their God, and to tell the world that we as Christians don’t just have to go to secular things that make do, that we can be the originator of great entertainment that everybody can come and enjoy, and that it can come from a place of faith.”
For Christians, the “sacred” part of life occupies only a tiny part of daily life, but the “secular”—things like shopping, watching movies, reading fiction, working out—takes up the bulk of their time. These activities matter just as much as the hours spent in church and prayer.
If you try to find the word “spiritual” in the original Hebrew of the Bible, you’ll find nothing. It’s not there. In the eyes of the ancient Hebrews, all of life was spiritual—this is how Jesus, in fact, would have seen the world. Everything He did was “sacred”. When he, as a carpenter, cut and formed wood into useful shapes, it was sacred. When he went for a walk, it was sacred. When he ate a meal, it was sacred. There was no secular. There was righteous and unrighteous. There was a good job and a bad job.
1 Corinthians 10:31 illustrates this: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” When you hear that MegaFest is faith-based, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to stumble into watered-down teaching and half-done “Christian” art. You’re going to experience art and entertainment by Christian entertainers who are doing their very best. You’re going to be taught by people who teach for highest purpose.