Just call her Joyce. That’s the way Joyce Meyer, one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers, likes it. God launched Joyce Meyer into ministry over 30 years ago at a time when female Bible teachers were not en vogue. Over the past three decades, God has used Joyce Meyer Ministries to help millions of people find hope and restoration through Jesus Christ. Joyce Meyer has a message that crosses denominational lines with truths that are easy to understand, though perhaps challenging to apply. She uses her own life as an example to inspire others to overcome.
Suffering sexual abuse as a child and enduring a failed first marriage, Joyce discovered the freedom to live victoriously by applying God’s Word to her life and in turn desires to help others do the same. From her battle with breast cancer to the struggles of everyday life, she speaks openly and practically about her experiences so others can apply what she has learned to their lives. Joyce Meyer believes and teaches that regardless of a person’s background or past mistakes, God has a place for them and can help them.
Over the years, God has provided Joyce with many opportunities to share her testimony and the life-changing message of the Gospel. Recently, Time magazine selected her as one of the most influential evangelical leaders in America. She has also found airtime on “Larry King Live” and “Good Morning America,” serving as an uncompromising ambassador for Jesus Christ and as a model of true Christian character to a watching world.
Joyce Meyer is also a New York Times bestselling author. Joyce Meyer teaches on hundreds of subjects, has authored over 70 books and conducts conferences around the world. To date, more than 3 million of her books have been donated around the world, and in 2005 nearly 3.5 million copies were sold. She also has a television and radio program, “Enjoying Everyday Life”, that is broadcast to over two-thirds of the world. Joyce Meyer Ministries sows tens of millions of dollars into international missions each year – and her heart is to do even more.
A humble woman of God, Joyce Meyer gives all the glory to God and credits her husband of 40 years, Dave, as one of the people she most admires. The Voice magazine caught up with Joyce Meyer to discuss how she applies the practical truths she teaches to her own life, as well as what she sees as the challenges facing the Body of Christ today.
Your teaching is practical and your life is transparent on so many levels. Why do you feel this approach to sharing the Gospel has been so effective over your 20 years of ministry?
The Bible has the answers to our everyday life. Many times people don’t realize how practical it is. Just like me, there are many people who have suffered abuse or have had feelings of hopelessness. My teachings are my life. My heart is to help hurting people. I teach people God’s Word so they can overcome their problems and avoid some of the tough lessons I had to learn. I can honestly tell you that without God I would not be who I am today. He has done such an amazing work in my life and I want everyone to have the same freedom.
You have an uncompromising word of truth. What has such boldness cost you on a personal level? And how have you endured the price? What kept you from giving up?
When God called me and I first stepped out into ministry over 30 years ago, there were not many women teachers. Women preachers were not totally accepted and it was very difficult for me. I got kicked out of my church and lost all of my friends, but I realized that I had to obey God and not man. Through my obedience to God, He has been able to use my life to help others. It’s been a great journey and I’m looking forward to all the things God has in the future.
You’ve found a platform in secular media, appearing on “Larry King Live” and “Good Morning America”. Others, like Creflo Dollar, have also found opportunity. Do you feel God is beginning to open up doors in mainstream media for strong Christian voices?
I am amazed that people want to ask me questions about God’s work in my life. The interviews are a great way to share God’s life-changing message and I pray that God continues to open this door for Christians.
If you could only preach one message to the world, what would it be?
After years of abuse, it was difficult for me to understand God’s love. It took me years to truly understand it. I had to study it, recite it and tell myself God loved me even when I didn’t feel worthy of His love. Then, one day, the idea that God loved me dropped from my head into my heart. Everybody wants to be loved. God already loves you; all you have to do is believe and accept it.
You seem to be accomplishing the work of 10 women. You seem to get more productive as the years go by. How do you balance work and life? How do you keep from burning out?
The biggest thing I have to keep in mind is balance. I have certain times and days that I dedicate to certain responsibilities. It is very important to not become unbalanced in an area, spending too much time in one area and not another. There were a few times in my life when I worked so hard I literally made myself sick, so it’s very important to me to balance my work time and personal time.
Your ministry has influenced the lives of millions of people. What ministries have impacted your life the most and why?
More than a ministry, one person that has impacted my life greatly. My husband, Dave, is someone who I admire greatly. When we first got married, I was very difficult to get along with because of my past. Dave was always steadfast, patient, and an amazing example of God’s love and acceptance. Like everyone else, we have had to work through our marriage, but I am so grateful that we have not given up. We’ve been married for almost 40 years!
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the Body of Christ today and how can we overcome them?
Religion is a very dangerous thing. By that I mean being so caught up in rules and regulations and not focusing on the thing that matters most- a personal relationship with God. People today are not looking for more things to do, they want truth. They want Jesus and we know that He is the only thing that can set people free (John 8:32).
You’ve done so much over the years – and around the world – what else would you like to conquer for Christ? What’s next for Joyce Meyer?
Joyce Meyer Ministries is very concerned with helping people any way that we can. We have helped tsunami victims in India, hurricane victims on the Gulf Coast, we feed and educate orphans across Asia and provide free medical care to a remote part of India and getting ready to open up another hospital in Cambodia that will provide free medical care.
Our Enjoying Everyday Life television and radio programs are broadcast to a potential audience of over 3 billion people and over 11 million of our teachings have been distributed worldwide. My own personal goal is that someday we would be able to feed 1 million children every day. I pray that God will allow us to continue and expand these and other efforts to help hurting people.
You’ve experienced several moves of God. What do you believe is next for the Church of Jesus Christ? Where are we headed?
One thing that many people are realizing is that media has become a very effective tool to communicate the Gospel. Our television program airs to a potential audience of over 3 billion people, in many places where the people living there may have never even heard of Jesus. It’s amazing because even some of the poorest people have a television set. It is such a privilege to be a part of spreading the Gospel to the world.
What about the next generation. I’ve heard you say that none of your kids have emerged as preachers… are you raising up others to carry on this practical message for spiritual growth?
Right now I am focused on today. While my children do not have the same gifts as I do, they are talented in many other ways. It is so amazing to see the work God has done in all of our children.
One of our sons is in charge of our U.S. operations and the other handles all of our worldwide efforts (our two daughters are spending their time raising their children). All of our children are hard workers and it’s so great that God has given us the opportunity to work together and help change lives around the world.
If Jesus tarries, what would you like the world to most remember you for?
My hope is that God will have changed people’s lives through me for the better. I never get tired of hearing the great testimonies of people whom God has touched. I pray that the changes God has done in me will then be done in others.