An Interview with Dave and JoyceIn 1976, when God spoke to Joyce’s heart that she would someday have “a large teaching tape ministry,” she could have only imagined what would happen over the next four decades.
From a Bible study in their home…to airing on a few local radio stations…to eventually reaching a potential audience of two-thirds of the world through the Enjoying Everyday Life TV program, Dave and Joyce have watched the Lord use their ministry to bring help and healing to millions, including missions outreaches that now span the globe.
They recently sat down to discuss ministry milestones, funny moments, how it all began, and the incredible things the Lord has done all along the way.
Forty years of ministry is a long time. How did it all begin?Joyce: Well, one day I was listening to a cassette teaching tape. It was 60 minutes long, and I was just amazed that anybody could get a whole hour of teaching out of one verse and keep my interest.
So, at the end of that teaching, I was making my bed and doing housework, and I just sensed God putting a desire in my heart to teach the Word...and that I was going to go all over the world and teach, which of course in the natural was totally ridiculous. But truly, with God, all things are possible.
What was your first step after you knew God was calling you into ministry?Joyce: I started a Bible study, and that’s kind of the way it began. But I didn’t know how to teach a Bible Study, so I asked my pastor. He recommended a Thompson Chain Reference Bible and to start in the book of John. So that’s where I started: John chapter 1, verse 1. But I certainly wouldn’t have seemed like Bible teacher material, would I?
Dave: No, in the natural you didn’t, but you always had the gift to teach from the very beginning. And while Joyce was teaching she was learning through the Word how to grow and deal with different problems in her own life. Then the things she encountered she would teach to the people.
Joyce: We always had about 25-30 people each Tuesday night. And they would come if it was snowing, raining…no matter what, they would come. Then a friend asked me to start a Bible study at her house on Thursday afternoon. So we did these Bible studies for five years.
When did you first begin to air on the radio?Joyce: We began attending Life Christian Center, a start-up church in 1980. They asked me if I wanted to start a women’s Bible study. They advertised a little bit, and this was just a miracle from God: That first Thursday morning, 115 people came! After a while they asked me to come on staff, and the Bible study grew to about 500 people every week.
My pastor was on radio, and the slot next to him opened up, so he asked me if I wanted to do it. I started on WCBW in St. Louis, a 15-minute radio slot once a week.
After five years, in 1985, we knew the Lord had instructed us to “take the ministry north, south, east and west.” So we literally began holding meetings in North St. Louis, South St. Louis, East St. Louis and West St. Louis.
At this point, we were running the ministry out of our home and had five or six people working for us. We even had a guy who produced the radio program out of our son’s bedroom closet. I’m also raising kids—I have a baby, I have teenagers.
Dave: I’m coming home and Joyce is saying, “This is overwhelming, I can’t handle this.” Six months later, I quit my job to help full time with the ministry. I set up all the conferences, I did the payroll, and I bought all the radio time. In the upcoming years, we grew to 150 stations.
When did you make the decision to go on television?Dave: It was just out of the blue. One day I was getting ready to go to the office and all of a sudden the Lord opens up my heart to sense the hurts of the world. I’m sobbing, and God says, “I prepared you all this time to go on television.”
I’m thinking, There’s no way we can go on television. It costs too much. Then in kind of a vision I see this hand on a spigot, and God says “If I turn this off, you can’t even do what you’re doing now. But if I turn it up, you can do everything I ask you to do.”
I shared this with Joyce, and that’s when we decided to do it. The first program was so primitive—Joyce was literally teaching in front of a shower curtain for a back-drop! But it was the beginning of the television ministry, and now it’s just beyond anything we could have ever expected.
People are drawn to your authenticity. How do you keep things so balanced and real? It seems like you have a lot of fun.Dave: Yeah we do! It’s very important to enjoy each part of your life—not just the ministry or work part. And it’s especially important to enjoy your spouse if you’re married and allow them to be themselves.
Joyce: I tell people all the time, I don’t know what I’d teach if I wasn’t married to Dave because he gives me an opportunity to apply every message that I’ve ever preached! But Dave and I both have a lot of fun in our relationship. And I know that it's very important that we remember where we came from and that it’s God doing all of this.
Get more of the story! Watch the interview and see more photos of Dave & Joyce at joycemeyer.org/TheJourney