With God’s miraculous power, Joy El Ministries will make disciples of Jesus Christ, who will expand God’s Kingdom around the world through spiritual multiplication.
Joy El seeks to provide opportunities for people to experience life-change through personal encounters with God.
Our motto is “Igniting a generation that seeks Him.” This motto is based on Psalm 24:6: Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.” This reflects our desire to transform the next generation into one that seeks the Lord. Verses 3 and 4 describe such a generation: “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive the blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior.”
As we provide opportunities to encounter God, as we evangelize, as we encourage and as we equip inidividuals for active ministry, we recognize that God will use people in this process. We want the next generation to be known as a Generation that seeks him.
In 1938 Joy El Ministries began a work in Pennsylvania under the name of Children’s Bible Mission,also known as CBM. Miss Mildred McEvers was CBM’s home missionary assigned to South Central Pennsylvania. She began teaching the Word of God to boys and girls in Franklin and Perry Counties in public schools. Then in 1965, the U. S. Supreme Court declared it illegal to have Bible reading and prayer in public schools. Guided by the Lord in their effort to reach children, the local CBM Committee discovered that Pennsylvania had a law lying dormant on their records that permits students to be released from public school for the purpose of religious instruction.
With this knowledge, CBM developed the Released Time Bible Program, which allowed students to be released from their classrooms once a week to go to an offsite location to receive Bible teaching. Released Time began in two elementary schools in 1967. The program met with favor from parents, churches, the community and the students. Soon “Released Time” became a familiar phrase. In the succeeding years, it has expanded into more than 21 school districts, reaching over 3000 students weekly with the Word of God, and the program is still growing today.
From its inception, Released Time included scripture memorization. To encourage students to memorize verses, incentive awards were offered for various levels of points each student accumulated. The maximum award was a free week of summer camp. Initially CBM held its summer camps at a rented summer facility local to Greencastle, PA. However, as more and more students earned free summer camp, CBM considered building its own facility. A search began for a piece of land that was located in central Franklin County, had water (stream or pond), and some flat land for the buildings. The students involved in Released Time shared the prayer request of the ministry with their parents and one parent offered the first parcel of land, followed later by a second donation of land. The two parcels together were not sufficient for the camp and the prayers continued until a third farmer donated the final acreage. The three area farmers donated nineteen acres of land, which began the site of Camp Joy El.
Camp Joy El held its groundbreaking on March 17, 1974 and was soon off and running to become its own significant ministry to area young people. CBM Ministries needed to raise $200,000 for the original buildings: a dining hall/chapel and ten cabins. The local community provided a majority of the labor. Local churches and businesses donated their time, talents and tools to erect the buildings and the first camp opened July 7, 1974.
Over time Camp Joy El became the identity focus of the ministry and the name by which the whole of CBM Ministries was most widely known. Responding to that, in 2004 the Board of Directors took action to rename the entire organization “Joy El Ministries,” which is who we are today.
Today at Joy El Ministries, we exist to provide opportunities for people to experience life-change through personal encounters with God. Our operation is dependent on the Lord’s provision through the gifts and support of its contributors. At Joy El Ministries, we want people to know that God showed us how much He loved us by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die for our sins. And because Jesus paid the price for our sins, we now have the opportunity to have our sins forgiven and to live a victorious, peace-filled life. If you are interested in learning more about this, please feel free to contact our office and speak with any of our staff members.
Our Statement of Faith
Joy El Ministries is committed to ministry across denominational lines. However, we believe the following faith statements are essential, non-negotiable truths and, as such, are the foundation for our ministry.
A. We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the eternal and verbally-inspired (God-breathed) Word of God, the final authority for faith and life, and without error in the original writings (Psalm 119:89, Matthew 5:18, John 16:12-13, II Timothy 3:16-17, II Peter 1:20-21).
B. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. As man, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin; as God, He is co-equal and co-existent with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:1-2:13, John 1:1-11, John 14:16, Philippians 2:5-11, Colossians 1:15).
C. We believe all human beings are born with a sinful nature and commit sin by desire, by choice and by practice. Because of sin, each person stands guilty in and separated from the presence of a just and holy God, rightfully deserving everlasting punishment (Genesis 3:1-13, Matthew 25:46, Romans 3:10, 23 & 5:12-21, I Corinthians 15:21-22, II Thessalonians 1:7-10, Revelation 20:12-15).
D. We believe Jesus Christ had no sin and did not sin. According to the Scriptures He was crucified, was raised on the third day in the same body from the dead, and later returned to heaven. In this way, through the blood of His sacrifice the only acceptable payment for our sins has been offered. (Matthew 28, Luke 24:39-32, Acts 1:11, Romans 3:25-26, I Corinthians 15:3-4, II Corinthians 5:21, I Timothy 2:5-6, Hebrews 9:11-22, I Peter 1:18-25, I John 2:2 & 5:10-13).
E. We believe we become God’s child by receiving Christ as our substitute and Savior by faith; this is a gift of God’s love/grace. Repentance, forgiveness, and “new life in Christ” are several of the many experiences for God’s child who is kept by God’s power. We believe it is the privilege of God’s child to rejoice in the assurance of eternal life, to live a godly life, to serve the Lord each day, and to live with Him in eternity (John 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Romans 3:22-24, Romans 3:28, Romans 8:1 & 38-39, II Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:8-9, II Peter 3:11, I John 5:11-13).
F. We believe that God, the Holy Spirit, is a Person who convinces individual sinners of their guilt but who also, because of Christ’s death, delights to bring sinners into right relationship with God at the moment of their belief. We also believe the Holy Spirit is God’s seal/mark on the believer; He lives within the believer from the moment of conversion to reprimand sin, to give power to resist sin, to guide into truth, and to give power for service to those who are yielded to Him. (John 16:8-13, Romans 8:9, I Corinthians 6:19-20, Galatians 5:16, Ephesians 1:13-14 & 4:30 & 5:18, Titus 3:5).
G. We believe in the visible, personal, and imminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for His Church (John 14:3, Acts 1:9-11, I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
H. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the believer and the unbeliever, the everlasting bliss of God’s children, and the everlasting punishment of those who reject God. (John 11:23-27, Romans 8:11, II Corinthians 5:1; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; II Thessalonians 1:8-10, Revelation 20:12-15).
The Glory and Worship of God
- God as the primary focus and motivation for all we do.
- Intimacy with God as essential to worship and ministry.
- Bringing glory to God by imitating His character and by offering Him the excellence of our work done in His strength.
- God’s Word as the revelation of our salvation and the standard for life and ministry.
- God’s Word as deserving our life-long personal meditation and memorization.
- God’s Word as central in our teaching, evangelizing, encouraging and equipping.
Empowered by Prayer
- Prayer as a demonstration of our dependence upon God.
- Prayer as a means to unleash God’s power on earth.
- Prayer as a means for God’s power to change us and work through us.
- Consistent and transparent at every turn.
- Financial practices and accountability that meet and exceed ECFA standards.
- Wise use of all available resources, including care and maintenance of the land, facilities, and equipment of the organization.
- The unity of the Body of Christ, evident in serving and cooperating with local congregations and ministries to do God’s work.
- Unity enhanced by recognizing each staff and volunteer as a valuable team member.
- Unity maintained by resolving conflict biblically.
God’s Work – God’s Way
- Relationship building as key to all ministry – the closer the relationship, the greater the impact.
- Evangelism as a first priority; growth, discipleship and multiplication of impact as a process for all.
- Servant leadership as the training model and goal for all.