Thousands who count themselves as members of televangelist Joyce Meyer‘s flock prayed, swayed and sang at her “Life in the Word” gathering Friday at the Cleveland State University Convocation Center.
Joyce Meyer Ministries stretches worldwide and includes television and radio programs, books, CDs and videotapes. But for her fans, there is no substitute for hearing her message live.
“I wouldn’t have missed it for anything,” said Dorothy Johnson, 78, who came from Akron. “I used to watch Joyce on TV and I guess I’m just addicted to her way of presenting the gospel.”
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Johnson was one of about 16,000 attendees expected at the ministries’ four meetings at CSU from Thursday through today. The last session is scheduled for 10 a.m. today. Admission is free.
In Friday’s morning session, Meyer talked about how people’s needs to impress others leads to guilt and condemnation. Christians should listen to God and tune out other people’s opinions, she said. “Do we really think heaven will be full of guilt?” she asked. “You are not helping anybody by feeling guilty all the time. All you’re doing is playing into the devil’s hands.”
Meyer encouraged Christians to complain about public immorality. She said that the outcry over the Janet Jackson episode at the Super Bowl brought positive changes. “Sin is progressive and it’s not going to stop on its own,” Meyer said.
When Meyer asked how many people had taken vacation time to attend the session, Kay Wood of Port Clinton was among those who raised a hand. Wood, 44, said Meyer’s message of love and kindness changed her life.
“People need love. People need understanding,” Wood said. She planned to bring a friend with muscular dystrophy to a healing prayer session Friday evening.
Meyer’s husband Dave, who is the ministries’ business administrator, warned that Christians were in danger due to court rulings on the Ten Commandments and prayer in school. He urged Christians to pray, vote and learn about the country’s history.
“We are the people who should be running our country, not the ungodly,” Dave Meyer said.
After the session, hundreds of attendees crowded around long tables laden with videocassettes and books with titles like “Seven Things That Steal Your Joy” and “The Triumphant Marriage.” Many of them were buying.
The “Joyce Meyer Ministries” television show airs on WVPX Channel 23 and WUAB Channel 43. Her radio ministry is heard on WHK AM/1220 in Cleveland.
The television ministry was expected to take in about $95 million last year. According to published reports, the Meyers and their four children draw paychecks from the ministry. Last year Wall Watchers, a watchdog group for Christian organizations, asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate seven televangelists, including Meyer, to see if their tax-exempt status should be revoked.
A spokesman for the IRS in Ohio said that it is not public information whether the IRS is or is not conducting investigations. A spokesman for Wall Watchers said that the organization had not heard anything from the IRS about the matter.