Who is Sarah Jakes Roberts? Bishop TD Jakes passes baton to daughter

Eve Edwards September 26, 2022
Who is Sarah Jakes Roberts? Bishop TD Jakes passes baton to daughter
Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

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Bishop TD Jakes has passed the mantle of The Potter’s House, the nondenominational church he founded, to his daughter Sarah, a senior pastor.

There comes a point during leadership when a founder has to choose a successor. That time has come for Bishop TD Jakes, who has announced he is passing the baton to daughter Sarah Jakes Roberts.

The Potter’s House church building was founded by televangelist WV Grant, who named it the Eagles Nest Family Church. In 1996, TD Jakes bought the building and rebranded it The Potter’s House. Jakes has served as bishop of the megachurch for more than 25 years.

Bishop TD Jakes passes the mantle to his daughter Sarah

Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

On September 24, 2022, a video of TD Jakes passing the baton of bishopric to his daughter Sarah was shared online.

“God gave John his platform so he would be smart enough to know when to pass it on,” TD Jakes says to a tearful Sarah in the clip. “After 30 years of ministering Woman Thou Art Loosed, and 45-46 years of preaching the gospel, the time has come that I must decrease, that you might increase. I am so proud of you.

“I am not just proud of what you do, but who you are.”

Sarah Jakes Roberts called herself the ‘black sheep’ of her family

Christian faith always played a central role in the Jakes household but Sarah Jakes Roberts never envisaged it would be her path in life. In fact, Sarah described her younger self as the “black sheep” of the family in a Los Angeles Times interview.

She is the second-youngest child of Bishop TD Jakes and First Lady Serita Jakes, who have four other children: Cora, Thomas Jr, Jermaine and Jamar.

Sarah currently co-pastors with husband Touré Roberts at ONE, located in LA’s old ARC Theater. The first time Sarah delivered a sermon was at ONE on Mother’s Day 2014 and she has co-pastored ever since.

As well as preaching at ONE, Sarah leads Woman Evolve, an organisation she founded in 2017. This organisation receives the support of TD Jakes, who heads up his own related event, Woman Thou Art Loosed, named after TD Jakes’ novel of the same name.

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Potter’s House supporters react to Sarah’s appointment

The congregation offered its support for Bishop TD Jakes passing the mantle to Sarah. Since the news broke, some have offered their support online too.

One supporter tweeted: “Beauty for ashes, that’s the story of Sarah Jakes Roberts… Her past didn’t limit her, she has gone on to soar despite all life has thrown at her. Woman thou art loosed has now become WOMAN EVOLVE! I watched TD Jakes pass the torch on and I know our generation is blessed.”

Another wrote: “I watched TD Jakes handing over the mantle to his daughter, Sarah Jakes, and all I can say is if you have believing parents and family, you have truly won in this life and the next.”

Sarah Jakes Roberts reflects on road to redemption

After Sarah’s path to leadership was announced, one thing her supporters commented on was her path to redemption.

A supporter tweeted: “I believe so many of us were moved to tears by what we witnessed with TD Jakes and Sarah Jakes Roberts because we know where Sarah came from… Sarah represents the least likely, Sarah represents the least of these, Sarah represents those who felt they had no place in the church.”

Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

At the age of 13, Sarah became pregnant by a boy a year older who also attended The Potter’s House. She waited three months before telling her parents and gave birth to her son aged 14.

“My perception after I got pregnant was I was disqualified from favor, from anointing, from being used. Everything communicated that to me ‘we don’t want you in the kid’s group. We don’t want our other kids around you. Pregnancy is contagious.’ It just made me feel like I had no use,” Sarah told the Los Angeles Times.

Sarah began her journey to becoming a spokesperson for other women after her divorce from linebacker Robert Henson. The couple wed in 2008 but filed for divorce four years later, citing infidelity. Sarah wrote about her frustrations in a blog, which eventually gained her a following online.

“In my life, everything opened up for me when I saw everything that happened in Eve’s life, after she ate from that fruit. Everything after that moment was really her reaching for redemption and recovery,” Sarah told Thrive Global.

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Eve Edwards is a staff writer for The Focus who has been with GRV Media since April 2019. Having gained a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Bristol, Eve joined GRV starting out as a writer for Reality Titbit before making her way over to HITC. With a passion for music, TV, and cultural news, Eve eventually found a home at The Focus. Eve spent 2021-2022 freelancing for GRV Media while she completed a Masters in Music Performance, and brings her wide array of interests to the company in her written work. In Eve's spare time you'll find her working her way through the day's Wordle, Heardle, and Quordle, or struggling to complete The Guardian's cryptic crossword.