Joyce Meyer is one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers. A New York Times bestselling author, her books have helped millions of people find hope and restoration through Jesus Christ. Through Joyce Meyer Ministries, she teaches on hundreds of subjects, has authored over 80 books and conducts approximately 15 conferences per year. To date, more than 12 million of her books have been distributed worldwide, and in 2007 more than 3.2 million copies were sold. Joyce also has a television and radio program, Enjoying Everyday Life®, that is broadcast worldwide to a potential audience of 3 billion people. We are pleased to have been able to interview Joyce despite her very busy schedule.
I’ve seen what God has done in my life when I applied biblical principles. What God has done in me through His Word, no one could have done. No one could have raised me up from who I was or where I was to permit me to be doing the things I’m doing today except God. When the Bible says that God will give us favor, double for our trouble and a double reward, it’s true. But we have to do things God’s way. Not our way. We won’t get the blessings by just reading the book. We receive them by doing what it says.
Candie A. Price – We are so pleased to be able to talk to you about your powerful ministry and are appreciative of the time you have spared to speak to our readers. First we’d like to know a little about your background. Where were you raised and what was your upbringing like?
Joyce Meyer: I grew up in the St. Louis, Missouri area and have said often that I didn’t have a great start. My father sexually abused me, and my mother didn’t know what to do. My dad was a harsh, negative, controlling man so that left me with physical, emotional and spiritual issues. Even though I accepted the Lord at nine years old, I didn’t ever grow in my faith. So when I moved out, I was determined that I was going to live life my way and on my own terms.
CAP: We know you are married, what is your husband’s name, children and how many grandkids do you have, if any?
JM: My husband’s name is Dave Meyer and we’ve been married over forty years. He is an incredible man of God who made it his mission to help me, encourage me and work with me while I worked through the pain of my past with God. We have four grown children and nine grandchildren.
CAP: Tell us a little about Joyce Meyer Ministries
JM: Joyce Meyer Ministries has a Godordained mandate to impact the world. We are called to present the Gospel to the lost, disciple nations, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, minister to the elderly, widows and orphans, visit prisoners and reach out to people of all ages and in all walks of life. God requires that we teach people how to apply biblical truth in every area of their lives and encourage Christians to influence every aspect of the world around them. Matthew 28:18-20; Isaiah 1:17 are foundational scriptures for this.
CAP: The first question that comes to my mind about your ministry is how in the world do you do it? How do you manage the huge responsibility that you have to minister to so many people and continue to be effective for the Lord?
JM: It’s total dependence on the Lord. God’s been training me for many years, starting by teaching me how to be faithful in little things, like returning my grocery cart, trusting Him for my kids’ clothes and shoes and to meet our family’s needs. Years ago God told me to quit my job and I had to depend on Him to provide the extra $30 we needed each month just to meet our expenses. I believe all those things were preparing me to believe Him now for the things He is accomplishing worldwide through the ministry.
CAP: The first time I came in contact with your name I was driving my car at lunch time one afternoon and I was thinking about a misunderstanding I was having with a friend and I was anticipating how I was going to act when I saw her, I turned on the radio, which is really something I rarely do in the car, and you were talking about how we play these dramas in our mind when we have conflict with others and how we can’t allow the devil to have those victories over us. In essence you encouraged reconciliation. I didn’t know who you were then, but you ministered to my situation and I had to find out more about you. I’m sure that you have that effect on many people with your very real and practical approach to the Word of God. What brought you to the point in your ministry that you realized that that type of approach is what people are really looking for?
JM: I’ve seen what God has done in my life when I applied biblical principles. What God has done in me through His Word, no one could have done. No one could have raised me up from who I was or where I was to permit me to be doing the things I’m doing today except God. When the Bible says that God will give us favor, double for our trouble and a double reward, it’s true. But we have to do things God’s way. Not our way. We won’t get the blessings by just reading the book. We receive them by doing what it says.
CAP: I know that sexism is a major dilemma for a lot of women in ministry. What has been your experience and how did you deal with it? How would you encourage other women who believe they have a calling on their lives to share the Gospel?
JM: God knew I was a woman when He called me. I have to be obedient to God’s call on my life and if people don’t like me because I do, then they don’t. And with my deep voice, sometimes if they have only heard me on the radio they think I’m a man. One man said he listened to me for a year before he realized I was a woman! God doesn’t call any of us to do something without giving us what we need to accomplish it. So whatever God calls a woman to do, she can trust God to give her what she needs to fulfill that calling.
CAP: The argument for many men that believe that women shouldn’t pastor is that they should not have leadership positions over their spouses and that somehow that authority will create conflict within the home where the husband is to maintain a leadership role, how do you respond to this belief?
JM: When I’m teaching, I’m operating in my gift and Dave knows it and he respects it. But when I walk off the platform, I’m Dave Meyer’s wife. He’s the head of our house and I submit to his leadership.
CAP: What is the most challenging part of your ministry and how do you handle that challenge?
JM: Not being able to do more. We do what we can, but there always seems to be more that could be done. I have to trust God to lead us to the places where He wants us to go and to accomplish the things He called us to do.
CAP: Recently there has been an onslaught of questions and investigation into the spending practices of many wellknown ministers, yourself included. I was very impressed with the immediacy and openness to which your ministry responded. However, do you feel that these type of inquiries are justified because of the presence of corruption in some ministries and how can ministers of the Gospel protect themselves and their ministries from outside criticism?
JM: We respect the democratic process and submitted the requested documents to Senator Grassley’s office without hesitation. I believe ministries need to be transparent. Transparency has been and will continue to be a standard of our ministry. Dave and I hold a deep commitment to our ministry partners and friends, and that is why we have a tradition of going above and beyond what is required by law. We are committed to the truth and to our purpose. Each year our ministry makes independent audited financial reports available to the public as our commitment to fiscal responsibility.
CAP: There seems to be a common thought in many of your messages that speaks to happiness and enjoying one’s life. Do you think that believers don’t know how to be happy? We know that happiness is temporal and joy is deep seated and always available, but Christians seem to opt for joy but feel that happiness eludes them. Do you agree and if so, how can Christians be convinced that it’s okay to be happy and how can they embrace it?
JM: I think many Christians just don’t know it’s okay to enjoy life. But Jesus said in John10:10 that He came that we may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance, to the full, till it overflows. How can we not be happy if our joy is full and overflowing?
CAP: With so many people struggling to survive today with the onslaught of calamities, gas prices, economic disparity, senseless crime and so many other social ills, it seems that even Christians are struggling to make it although we have hope in Jesus Christ. What encouragement can you give Christians that are experiencing so much travail and uncertainty in today’s society?
JM: First, we don’t have to be afraid because God’s financial system isn’t like the world’s system. Also, we can recognize that God is our source and if He takes care of the birds, we can believe He is going to provide for us. And it’s important to remember that we can’t “out give” God. I’ve found the best way to deal with money is to give it away, and that is key in helping us keep a biblical focus on current economics. We need to keep on giving, especially during challenging financial times. Plus, we just need to use some common sense in things like keeping out of debt and using credit cards wisely or not at all.
CAP: What is your favorite scripture and why?
JM: John 10:10 because it frees people to enjoy life.
CAP: What biblical character most mirrors your life and why?
JM: Peter, because of his personality and readiness to serve God—even if sometimes his mouth got him in trouble—which is certainly something I can relate to and work on every day myself.
CAP: How do you want to be remembered?
JM: Remember that I was passionate about relieving human suffering and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
CAP: With all the things that you have accomplished: author, minister, global outreach, what’s next for Joyce Meyer? What have you not done that you want to still do?
JM: Reach every nation with the Gospel.
CAP: As you look over your life, what is the one thing that you regret?
JM: I refuse to live with regret. It’s a heaviness many people carry around because of bad choices, but Romans 8:28 says that God is working all things together for my good, so even the wrong choices I’ve made in life, I can trust God to work out for my benefit.
CAP: Please leave with us any information about your latest projects, books, conferences, etc. and contact information:
JM: My website www.joycemeyer.org lists our upcoming conferences, lcontact information, and available resources. Our broadcast is available online and in free podcasts. And there are also updates on our Hand of Hope missions outreaches. Also, my book 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life was just released in November and offers practical ways we can choose to live an uncomplicated life.
Featured in November, 2008 WOW! Magazine