Three books by Joyce Meyer
Maybe we need to be more ‘Joyced’ in our attitude to the Christian message - but how well does her approach translate to the UK?
20 Ways to Make Every Day Better (ISBN 978 1 473 66219 3)
Overload (ISBN 978 1 473 63613 2)
Enjoy Your Journey (ISBN 978 1 473 66335)
By Joyce Meyer
Hodder & Stoughton
Reviewer: David Stuckey
Joyce Meyer is a prolific Christian author with a forthright message of ‘blessed reassurance’ for Christian believers. She has a massive folllowing in the United States but to British audiences she is probably not so well known.
That is a shame but it is hardly surprising. If British evangelists tend towards an almost apologetic stance when seeking a response to repentance, Joyce and her Stateside colleagues tend to favour a more pragmatic approach and it does not easily span the Atlantic.
Her message is direct, and is often peppered with homespun platitudes. It is also loaded with sincerity and a certainty that comes from years of prayer and practice. Her message is not short on humour nor on hints on how to change aspects of your life. It all adds up to a pattern that could be said to be guaranteed to transform her readers wholesale.
Those logging onto her YouTube channel could easily bridle at early exhortations for support and these three books carry a lengthy list of companion titles (70-plus) as well as contact details for her ministries not only in the USA but also Canada, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Also you can subscribe to any one of her YouTube channels. 'We would just love you to subscribe' is a familiar mantra on her channels.
Of this trio of helpful books, Overload is aimed at defeating the pressures of stress; 20 Ways to Make Every Day Better is not short on recipes to make life more meaningful, more enjoyable, more adventurous; and Enjoy Your Journey is a ‘pick you up’ paperback for those days when life gets you down. “Find the Treasure Hidden in Every Day” is its subtitle.
So beyond the business-like jargon there is a challenging core, and I was steered in Joyce’s direction by friends who found her words homely and comforting. It is an approach midway between the academic and a door-to-door salesperson. Sometimes her road to salvation tends to read like a celestial recipe book.
There are not only hints on how to change aspects of her readers’ lives. She is also full of suggestions about putting change into practice - and she urges her audience to ‘dare to dream” – to be almost “childlike” in their approach to God.
Her approach is refreshing and her plan of attack is obviously finding a growing audience. “Good to go with God” was a phrase that stuck with me, and Joyce does have a knack of touching a chord, one that is individual and pertinent. It may seem biindingly obvious to the long-term believer - but some folk do need that hint of reassurance from time to time. 'God knows you're there and what you need - and he always wins,' she says. 'Folk wonder why prayers don’t get answered. I say it’s because you don’t ask.'
Joyce has not been shy in speaking about her love for her husband. She is grateful that her husband is faithful to her. Even when she points at pretty women on the street, he would only reply, 'I don’t know. I don’t pay any attention to any women other than you.'
So, above all, in the centre of her message is sincerity. Maybe we need to be more ‘Joyced’ in our atitude to the Christian message, but I feel some folk may not fully appreciate or endorse her approach. Having watched several YouTube samples of her preaching, I get that she attracts a a huge audience and knows how to work it, but is it an approach that crosses the Atlantic? You decide.
David Stuckey is a journalist and member of Maghull Baptist Church