Yes folks, pastor T D Jakes, the notorious American evangelist, is blowing into Johannesburg this weekend, bringing with him his “annual” family oriented, conference and revival known as MegaFest. I’m not exactly sure what families do at such an event, but grovelling on hands and knees, submitting enthusiastically to brainwashing, and parting with cash, springs readily to mind.
And why exactly is the pastor coming to South Africa only now? It seems that since the inception of the MegaFest concept in 2004 in Atlanta, attendance figures has consistently dropped from around 500 000 to 100 000 or less in 2006. This alarming trend (to Jake’s that is, who had grown used to the good life, while defending his ostentatious collection of wealth) resulted in the event being cancelled altogether last year. It’s reasonable to surmise that Jake’s is running low on his reserves and needs an urgent cash injection. You know how tough it is maintaining all those houses, cars and the $45million Church called the Potter’s House. So, the resourceful pastor looked up to the heavens and when he got no answer from there, he looked down, South actually, and realized that if a potato farmer can sucker 60 000 odd people into attending a Mighty Man conference, he could surely do better.
When interviewed on MSNBC, T D Jakes said “I think that Jesus is the product” and “when the product is excellent it doesn’t require a big sales pitch.” Since he is now leaving a potentially much bigger target audience to scam from, to come out to South Africa, one can only wonder why the “product” is not selling so well any more. Could it be that Americans are wising-up to religious scam artists? Or maybe it’s just the current economic crises in the USA? Attendance figures for his MegaFest event had already started declining from 2005, so I tend to favour the former argument.
You know what’s even scarier than T D Jakes coming to town this weekend? Nope? Angus Buchan, the potato farmer and upstart evangelist, is also scheduled to host his Mighty Men conference this very weekend in Heidelberg, not too far from where Jakes is hosting his MegaFest. How about that? I don’t for one minute believe that they could have got their schedules mixed up. I am of the opinion that Angus Buchan deliberately scheduled his event on the same weekend to flex his muscles and see how big a (arguably deluded) crowd he can draw, with a big gun like TD in town. It would be interesting to read the attendance statistics after this weekends celebration of gullibility.