TD Jakes in Zimbabwe

HE is 28 years old yet he is hosting a preacher who has advised the last three presidents of the United States of America including being an attendant at Pope Francis’ 2015 White House visit.

His proposal fitted in the schedule of a preacher who attracts high profile people who over the years include former presidents: Jerry Rawlings (Ghana), Olesugun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan.

The young and ambitious chief executive of Zimpraise, Joseph Madziyire has defied the odds to host “America’s Treasure” and leader of The Potter’s House, Bishop Thomas Dexter Jakes in Zimbabwe.

This is a first for Madziyire as it is for Zimbabwe to host this preacher who leads a 30 000 member non-denomination church in Dallas, Texas. As Zimpraise celebrate a decade since its formation with an International Gospel and Music Festival from September 5 to 9 at the 60 000 seat National Sports Stadium, Bishop Jakes whose conferences attract as many as 100 000 attendees will be the major attraction.

While many could have desired to host the revered award winning preacher, for Madziyire it took an encounter back in 2013 that opened a door of opportunity for this visit.

“My dad had invited Bishop John Francis (Ruach City Church leader) to Zimbabwe and he heard us (Zimpraise) ministering. He said these guys are amazing. He said, ‘when you guys come to England for the Morris Cerullo programme I want you to come to my church to perform’. He didn’t even tell me that Bishop T.D Jakes will come. So we just went to Scotland with a team of about 20 people,” Madziyire said.

While they got to England on a Friday for their tour in Scotland, Zimpraise led by Madziyire were scheduled to perform at Bishop Francis’ church in London.

However they were delayed and despite trying all night arrived late. The initial plan was for them to get to Bishop Francis’ church by 6am so they could perform before Bishop Jakes preached.

“We walked into the church just after 7am and the praise and worship team was busy preparing for the minister to come. But Bishop (Jakes) had not come yet. Bishop Francis had already cancelled us ministering on the program but when he saw us he was so touched.

“He decided to give us one chance to minister and he said, ‘I am going to allow you only one song since Bishop Jakes is not here yet’.

“And just when I was on the stage I heard people screaming and then I was wondering what people were screaming at. I looked back and I saw that Bishop Jakes had walked in. So if we had gotten there earlier we wouldn’t have met him. It was like a divine delay,” revealed Madziyire.

The American preacher took a seat directly facing Madziyire and the group on the stage. All I could say was thank you Bishop Jakes and it’s an honour to minister in front of you. We were supposed to sing one song but we ended up singing three songs because people were now asking for more,” Madziyire noted.

After the experience Zimpraise members would come back home and hopes for continued communication with Bishop Jakes would be temporarily dashed as there were no offers of that sort.

With time frustration crept in some of the group members with others deciding to leave and pursue their careers.

However at the end of 2014, Bishop Francis called Madziyire and notified him that Bishop Jakes had inquired about him in the process acknowledging Zimpraise’s great performance in London.

The coming year would be a challenging one for Madziyire as cases of indiscipline would be reported within the group with the culprits being expelled from the group.

“It was such a hard time I told my dad that I wanted to quit. But he advised me to pray about it. One day after prayer I was sitting in the dark in my house because there was no electricity and a phone call came in with an American number.

“I picked and the guy said, ‘hey is this Joseph’ and I said ‘yes’. He said, ‘my name is Marcus and I work for Bishop TD Jakes. I wanted to know if this is the right time to talk to you’ and I said ‘yes’, and he said ‘I will call you within one hour’.

“My frustrations had gone and I was thinking what this was all about.”

In less than an hour the guy called and advised Madziyire to hold the line for someone who wanted to speak to him.

“The caller said, ‘hello Joseph this is Bishop TD Jakes, I just wanted to check how you are doing’ he said, ‘I will be holding a conference and I would like to invite you guys to our Mega Fest. I was breathless.”

Madziyire would visit The Potter’s House for the announcement of the invitation. It was just in passing that Madziyire hinted to Bishop Jakes he would love to host him in Zimbabwe for the decade of praise celebrations.

“I then one day said to this guy we would love to host Bishop Jakes. At that time it was something a little bit crazy. I was 26 years old and it didn’t make sense. So I just said it in passing but from there I started planning. The proposal and planning we are using now is what I wrote down two years ago when it crossed my mind. And a lot of close friends thought I was crazy

“So this year I went to England where I was invited for some business meeting and I remember we had started preparing to come back for the Mega Festival. And as I was talking with this guy (Marcus) he said, ‘bishop was inquiring about you, he wanted to know when your tenth anniversary is.’ I said in October.

“He said, ‘well if you are thinking of having bishop maybe you will have to move it back to September. That time he will be free and will be able to come to your anniversary because he will be in Southern Africa. And if you guys can take him around to your partners in South Africa.

“And that was it and we started planning. And when I met him he was happy telling his friends ‘I’m going to Zimbabwe,” he said.

Bishop Jakes has received numerous accolades which include ranking as one of USA’s Most Influential & Mesmerising Preachers by the New York Times, America’s Best Preacher by CNN and Time as well as being named among Black Billy Graham Nation’s 25 Most Influential Evangelicals.

According to the preacher’s website, Bishop Jakes who is married to Serita and has five children has a ministry expanding through four channels which are global humanitarian outreach, inspirational conference series, media and entertainment ventures as well as thought leadership forums. For a man of such calibre to come at the behest of a 28 year old scares Madziyire.

“There are a lot of invitations around the world and he could be anywhere in the world that day. But he chose to be in Zimbabwe and it makes us feel happy.

“So sometimes I just ask God in prayer what he wants us to do. It’s not about Zimpraise. It’s about the entire nation and generation that’s why I think it’s going to be a great commission.

“It does make me panic but then as we are preparing we took a bigger step and we are going into the National Sports Stadium. So this is about everyone. I know people say you must not fear but I am scared with what God has done to me.”

While Bishop Jakes will preach, a business summit, empowerment workshops and youth explosion nights are scheduled on the first two opening nights.

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