Principal Investigator: Pamela Ebstyne King
Postdoctoral Research Associate: Susan Mangan
Student Researchers: Frederic Defoy and Rebecca Baer
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.
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.
- 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. https://youtu.be/
- King, P. E. (September 2018). JoyRide: Paul's Understanding of Joy in Philippians. Sermon preached at Knox Presbyterian Church, Pasadena, CA. youtu.be/sTUJTnmRhuA
- 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. youtu.be/w--d2fUR7OA
- 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, https://doi.org/10.1177/00916471211072312
- 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. http://www.claremontpress.com/vocation-formation-and-theological-education.html
- King, P. E., & Defoy, F. (2020). Joy as a virtue: The means and ends of joy. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 48(4), 308–331. doi.org/10.1177/0091647120907994
- King, P. E. (2019). Joy distinguished: Teleological perspectives on joy as a virtue. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 15(1), 33–39. doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2019.1685578
Joy: A Guide for youth Ministry
Chapter 4 by Pamela Ebstyne King and Steven Argue
Published in partnership with Yale University, a myriad of scholars reflect on the importance of joy in youth ministry.
Thrive Center's Dr. Pamela Ebstyne King and Fuller Seminary's Dr. Steven Argue co-write the fourth chapter, Purpose: Finding Joy in Life Direction, offering suggestions on how youth leaders can nurture a sense of purpose and enhance joy in adolescents.
More Readings on Joy
Moments of transcendence
According to psychologist and executive director of the Thrive Center, Pamela Ebstyne King, transcendent experiences are emotional responses, often profound, that inform how individuals see themselves in relationship to God, others, and the world. Transcendent experiences give our lives meaning, and shift our focus from ourselves, connecting us with something more – whether that be…Read More
Rethinking Traditional Church for a Modern Age
Pamela King reflects on the church of her youth and how it deeply formed her identity, sense of purpose, and belonging.Read More
The 5 A’s of Agility: Adapting through Life Changes
Finding joy requires practice. Learn how you can be agile and experience more joy through our 5-step process.Read More
The True Joy of Love
Joy is more than an emotion. Rebecca Baer reflects on true joy as being rooted in love, sharing a mindfulness practice.Read More
The 5 B’s of Thriving: Accessing God’s Love
Our research-based framework will help you develop and strengthen your thriving “muscles.”Read More
Breaking Open: The Joys and Laments of Vaccinated Living
As our country slowly begins to re-open, Pamela King calls us to re-orient our lives towards what matters most and brings us joy.Read More
Science Agrees You Need Laughter
Research shows that humor can ease stress. Dr. Susan Mangan shares 3 exercises to help us get started.Read More
Finding Agility through the 5 A’s
Part of our journey towards thriving involves agility. Pamela King explains how we can be agile through this 5-step process.Read More
5 Joy Competencies for difficult times, Pt. 2
Thrive Fellow, Fred Defoy discusses spiritual joy and vocational joy as resources to help us thrive in hard times.Read More
5 Joy Competencies for difficult times, Pt. 1
Thrive fellow, Fred Defoy shares the first 3 joy competencies that can help us thrive through our bodies, creativity, and sense of belonging.Read More
Homebound: Protecting Our Spiritual Health
Guest blogger, Dr. Angela Gorrell emphasizes the importance of nurturing our spiritual health in order to thrive during COVID-19.Read More
Thriving on the Road to Joy
How can caring adults equip youth for a journey of long-lasting joy? Pamela King highlights the 3 essentials needed.Read More
Helping Youth Rediscover Joy: Vocation and Spirituality
In this part two post, discover how joy can be nurtured spiritually and vocationally in youth.Read More
Helping Youth Rediscover Joy: Body Senses and Connection
Learn how you can nurture joy in adolescents through their body senses and relationships.Read More
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.
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.
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.
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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