October 20, 2023

The Joyride Project

This project seeks to integrate the theological and psychological perspectives of joy and flourishing.

Project Dates

November 2017—Present

Lead Team

Postdoctoral Research Associate: Susan Mangan

Student Researchers: Frederic Defoy and Rebecca Baer

Funded By

This project was made possible through the generous grant, Theology of Joy and the Good Life Project from the John Templeton Foundation held by the Yale Center of Faith and Culture.

Project Overview

This project seeks to integrate the theological and psychological perspectives of joy and flourishing. Our aim is to provide information on the nature of joy and thriving and how to nurture joy in our lives, answering the following questions:

  • What is joy?
  • What is flourishing and thriving?
  • How are joy and thriving related?
  • How does joy develop in people, specifically youth?
  • What kinds of contexts, communities, relationships, and practices are conducive to promoting joy and thriving?
  • What are the implications for congregations, families, and other youth-related organizations?

We address the aspirational topics of joy and thriving in a manner that is not just informational, but inspirational, serving as an invitation to others to pursue a life of thriving and joy for themselves and the young people in their lives. In addition, the project will contribute to the scholarly literature (e.g., developmental psychology) and the popular Christian literature. Our resources will also focus on the significance of transformative relationships and a transcendent narrative in the formation of purpose and the virtue of joy.

Related Publications

  • King, P. E., & Baer, R. A. (2022). Back to the future: Volf’s eschatological vision of flourishing for a psychology of thriving. Journal of Psychology and Theology
  • King, P. E. (2021). Vocation as becoming: Telos, thriving and joy. In Seminary Student Vocation Formation (eds. David J. Downs, Tina Houston-Armstrong, and Amos Yong). Vocation, Formation, and Theological Education: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Fuller Theological Seminary. Claremont, CA: Claremont Press.
  • King, P. E., & Defoy, F. (2020). Joy as a virtue: The means and ends of joy. Journal of Psychology and Theology48(4), 308–331.
  • King, P. E. (2019). Joy distinguished: Teleological perspectives on joy as a virtue. The Journal of Positive Psychology15(1), 33–39.

Selected Presentations

  • King, P.E. (2019, January 22). Joyride: Thriving on the Road to Joy. Speech at Santa Catalina School, Monterey, CA.
  • King, P.E. (July 2018). Joyride: Thriving on the Road to Telos. Plenary address at the Future of Joy and the Good Life Conference at the Center for Faith and Culture at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CN.
  • King, P. E. (September 2018). JoyRide: Paul’s Understanding of Joy in Philippians. Sermon preached at Knox Presbyterian Church, Pasadena, CA.
  • King, P. E. & Argue, S. (October 2016). Joy on Purpose. Presentation at the Yale Youth Ministry Institute Lecture Series on Joy and the Good Life, New Haven, CN.–d2fUR7OA

Media Coverage

What is Joy? What Does it Say About Us?

Dr. Pam King joins Dr. Jaime Aten on Psychology Today to talk about the meaning and depth of joy in this part one interview.

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How to Experience Joy During COVID-19

Dr. Pam King discusses how one can experience joy as the pandemic continues in this part two interview on Psychology Today.

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On the Pathway of Jesus: Can Life be a Joy Ride

Dr. Pam King with other scholars give a plenary address on joy at the Future of Joy and the Good Life Conference in Yale Divinity School.

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Health & Wellbeing Day Gives Students A Day to Discover

Dr. Pam King joins Santa Catalina School’s Health and Well-Being Day as the keynote speaker, sharing the elements students need on their joy ride.

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