The Rev. Dr. L. Bernard Jakes serves as Senior Pastor/Teacher of The faith family of West Point Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois. He received his elementary education at Nicholas Copernicus and secondary education at Marie Curie Metropolitan of the Performing and Creative Arts High School. Furthering his education, he received the Bachelor of Arts degree from Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois; the Master of Arts degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and earned the Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
Currently, Dr. Jakes serves as a member of the board at: Trinity Unlimited Resources and Vision House—an HIV/AIDS assisted living facility in Chicago, Illinois. He is also serves as a participant in the University of Chicago Charter School TAC team, Principal for a Day—Chicago Public Schools, Real Men Read, a CAPS representative (Community Action Policing), and serves as an advisor with Center for New Horizons Youth Outreach in the Bronzeville community. In addition, he is highly involved with local, state and federal policy makers—utilizing his voice as a local pastor to speak truth to power as it relates to social justice, social action, and social accountability. His voice and commitment to the less fortunate has earned him national recognition from the syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show by presenting him with The Biggest Giver Award for community excellence. He also serves as Co-Chaplain for African American students at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois. Dr. Jakes is a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, the Ancient Free and Accepted Scottish Rites Masons of North America, and a host of other civic and religious organizations.
As Senior Pastor of The Faith Family of West Point Missionary Baptist Church, Dr. Jakes has witnessed numerous spiritual, financial and administrative successes in seven years. His proudest to date was being immeasurably involved in bringing healing, reconciliation and restoration to a congregation that suffered a devastating church split prior to his being called to serve, as well as establishing the Operation H.O.P.E. Food and Clothing Pantry (having served over 19,000 people in 2008)—recognized by Chicago’s Greater Food Depository as the best new pantry in Chicago.
Other successes include: an overwhelming increase (39%) in new converts to the Christian faith, the newly developed West Point Village—seven elegant, luxury town homes in the Bronzeville community, an increase of over seventy-five percent in financial contributions and seventy percent in active worshipers, an additional worship service, organization of a theologically challenging, wide-ranging Christian Education department, a food pantry ministry which serves over one hundred and fifty families weekly, added 21st century technology, created OPERATION H.O.P.E. (Helping Our People to be Empowered), spearheaded and completed a half-a-million dollar renovation project entitled: Operation Restoration: Restoring A 20th Century Building Using 21st Century Designs, responsible for church receiving 501 (c) 3 status, and developed the West Point Community Development Corporation.