Holy Joys publicly launched on April 17, 2020. One year later, we thank God for exciting progress. This article shares several highlights from our first year, explains how it has helped to focus our ministry, and then casts a renewed vision for the future.
Highlights from Our First Year
Launching during a time of pandemic and political unrest has created obvious challenges for our fledgling ministry, but we are more confident than ever about the future of Holy Joys. Here are a few highlights from our first year:
- We published weekly articles on a wide range of topics, from conspiracy theories to coronavirus, and restoration from sin to the pastor as theologian. This included subjects of special interest to Wesleyans, such as class meetings, total depravity, and prevenient grace.
- In October 2020, we launched the Holy Joys Podcast, which is now co-hosted by Johnathan Arnold and Dr. David Fry. Recent episodes discussed virtual communion, atonement theories, the resurrection, and much more.
- Participation in our Ad Fontes 2021 Patristics Reading Group far exceeded expectations, and we have been privileged to schedule world-renowned theologians such as Fred Sanders, Tom McCall, Scott Harrower, Chris Bounds, Brain Shelton, and Jonathan Morgan to guide us in retrieving the riches of our ancient faith to meet the needs of the contemporary church. Pastors, students, and educators continue to register for the group, and we are already planning a 2022 survey of Methodist theology. There is now an Ad Fontes page on holyjoys.org.
- We recently invested in studio equipment to produce short, high-quality videos that explain important practical and theological concepts in simple language for ordinary pastors and laypersons. Stay tuned!
We extend a sincere thank you to all of our readers and supporters. One pastor’s feedback has provided significant encouragement:
I am struggling against tears because of how deeply I feel the need for this ministry in my own life and pastoral ministry! I am overwhelmed by the quality and integrity of what I have seen and read, the breadth of topics explored, and the basic foundation of joy in God that I need to remember so desperately! Thank you! I have been encouraged and inspired in my relationship with God, and I can’t wait to read and study more.
If you value the work of Holy Joys, we need your support. Please join us in prayer and consider becoming a monthly donor. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit ministry, so we rely on the donations of generous supporters to pay our editorial staff, cover our operating expenses, and fund our projects.
Staying On Mission
As we look to the future, we are optimistic about the ways that Holy Joys can contribute to local church renewal, especially among Wesleyans. Our main reason for existing continues to be the holiness and happiness of God’s people. We love the church, and we believe that a healthy church is holy and happy. As John Wesley said, “Christianity is holiness and happiness.”
Holy Joys began with a fairly broad mission statement. Of this we were sure: Theology is for the church, and many local churches are unhealthy because of weak theology. Practice is downstream from doctrine. Instead of quick fixes to our widespread discipleship crisis, we need theologically-informed solutions.
Although our mission remains fundamentally unchanged, this first year has been immensely clarifying. To help us stay more focused on what we value most and do best, the remainder of this article issues a statement to help us move forward with a new level of clarity.
Moving Forward with Clarity
For a holy, happy church.
To bring theology to bear on the beliefs and practices of local churches, especially in the Wesleyan tradition, so that they can be more holy and happy.
We envision churches where
- The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are upheld as the inerrant Word of God and systematically expounded as the unified revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ and his authoritative will for the Church.
- The creeds, especially the rule of faith given in the Apostles’ Creed, are cherished as faithful summaries of Scripture and foundational resources for discipleship and catechesis.
- The gospel is purely preached and kept central to the church’s life, worship, and mission, producing a culture of grace, transparency, and humility.
- The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are faithfully administered as the signs and seals of our redemption, as well as our entrance into and continued participation in the Church.
- Church discipline is faithfully and lovingly administered for the purity and maturity of the body which grows when every member is working properly.
- Pastors are given to prayer and teaching, helping Christians to think theologically about all of life and modeling behavior that is consistent with sound doctrine.
- Holiness of heart and life are faithfully taught within the context of the divine economy and our happy fellowship with the triune God.
Our values serve as a grid through which to run the content that we publish. We value
- Christ-centeredness. We aim to show Christ as glorious and sufficient in all things, carefully interpreting all of Scripture as a unified witness to him.
- Catholicity. We cherish our deep unity with all who confess Jesus as Lord and seek to retrieve the riches of classic Christianity.
- Charity. We aspire to speak the truth in love, seasoning every word with the grace of Christ.
- Piety. We seek to exude the warm and deep spirituality that flows from sincere holiness of heart and life.
- Beauty. We work to present what is true and good in a way that is consistent with its beauty and splendor.
- Joyfulness. We love to celebrate and give thanks for what is good, testifying to the solid happiness that is found in God alone.
We aim to consistently produce several types of high-quality resources. As of April 2021, we are tightening up our word and time restrictions to establish clear expectations for our readers.
- Articles (900–1200 words). If an article is longer and more academic, it will now be categorized as an essay.
- Podcasts (average of 30 minutes).
- Sermons (audio and/or manuscripts). Stay tuned for a new weekly sermon podcast!
- Videos (around 3 minutes).
- Video conferences and events (around 1 hour). Stay tuned for more educational opportunities.
To celebrate this new phase in the ministry of Holy Joys, we have designed a logo to replace our text-only logo. This logo features the primary means by which our corporate life is constituted and nourished: Word and Sacrament. One of our original articles concluded, “At the center of a holy, happy church are Word and Sacrament—two holy joys which are ours in Christ. Let us hasten to the gospel feast!”