Joy Church
Angel Kane - Kane & Crowell Family Law Center

Joy Church

A Conversation with Pastor Jim Frease of Joy Church International


Just as with the apostle Peter, Jim Frease was fishing when he got the call to ministry. But rather than Jesus approaching him in his boat, a still small voice spoke to Frease sometime around 1999 while he was out fishing with his wife Anne.

“I turned to my wife and said, ‘If we were ever to pastor a church, here is what we would do…’” At the time, Frease was running a Bible school and traveling around the country speaking, but never had a desire to pastor a local church. “I used to poke fun at pastors all the time. I’d say, ‘Boy I don’t envy you. I get Joy Churchto come in and speak for a few hours and then I get to leave town,’” he would joke. But God had other plans.

Fast-forward three years. The Freases, along with 16 other people from the Knoxville area, who felt led to help them plant a new church, came to the Nashville area and began looking for a property. Everyone told him to go to Franklin or Hendersonville, but he kept feeling drawn to Mt. Juliet. “At that time, Mt. Juliet had a Microtel, a Waffle House and a Cracker Barrel, and that was about it,” he says. “We went to all those other places but didn’t really feel that was where God wanted us to be. We fell in love with the Mt. Juliet area and we just knew in our hearts this was where we were supposed to plant the church.”

The first service at Joy Church International was held on October 12, 2003 at their former location on Charlie Daniels Parkway.

Fast-forward again to 2009. Because of their wise financial stewardship, and with only four paid staff, Joy Church paid off the building. Three weekend services were nearly all packed at the 400-seat church on Charlie Daniels Parkway, and it was clear that a new facility would be needed soon. So the church staff undertook a three-year campaign to raise over $10 million to fund and build a new church and move into it debt-free, or as close to debt-free as possible.

On the weekend of January 18, 2014, the church members moved into their new location at 10083 Lebanon Road, just off Benders Ferry, with over 90% of the building already paid off. Wilson Living Magazine spoke with Pastor Jim about this wonderful new facility.

Joy Church

WLM: Your parishioners have told us that you are against debt, in your personal life as well as your church stewardship, even though many in America live with substantial debt. Can you comment on that?

JF: The Bible says in the book of Proverbs 22:7 that the borrower is servant to the lender. Therefore, we want to live out as a church the same thing we teach to our people: we don’t want to be a servant to debt. Certainly there are times when wise debt might be appropriate, but I would much rather the church funds go toward ministering to, and serving people than paying interest on a loan. When you are out of debt, it simply gives you more freedom to serve others in a greater capacity.

WLM: Your church continues to actively participate in the community with its mobile kitchen to the gift card giveaways and yard sales. How do you see the church serving the community in the future?

 JF: We say this quite a bit at Joy Church: “A big church can make a big difference.” Now please don’t get me wrong. This is not big for the sake of being big, because {that} is simply a monument to ego. This is big for the sake of God. Joy Church has always been extremely outreach oriented. We purchased a mobile kitchen and served over 4,200 free meals in just 2013 alone. We are just scratching the surface. We have many preliminary plans in the works to significantly impact this community in the future.

 WLM: Is there anyone outside the church you would like to thank for helping you get into the new facility with all the necessary approvals and on schedule?

 JF: We would like to give a personal thanks to Kenny Martin, our City Manager. Kenny was very helpful and instrumental in the entire move. We would also like to thank the Mayor and the City Commissioners who all voted to purchase our old facility and we are very pleased that they are turning it into the police department so that our old facility can continue to serve the community.

 WLM: We keep hearing about Real Joy Youth Ministry, what is that exactly?

 JF: When I’m fishing, I am real big on using the right lure, so we put a lot of funds into both our youth and children’s facilities to make them state of the art, and of course very safe and secure. Both of these beautiful facilities are being used to touch children and youth in a very powerful way for the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have a three-pronged vision in Real Joy Youth ministry: Shaping a real relationship with God (Mk.12:30), showing real love toward others (Mk. 12:31), and sharing the real gospel with unbelievers (Rom.5:8). Our youth program is committed to creating the friendliest environment known to mankind! On our opening service weekend we had well over 400 children in attendance, and on our opening Wednesday night youth service, we had nearly 180 teenagers in attendance.

Angel Kane - Kane & Crowell Family Law Center

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