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Sunday Extra | David Dwight

Sunday Extra: Cultivate Joy

SUNDAY EXTRA: David Dwight was a member of Leighton Ford's first Arrow Leadership class back in 1994.


To be honest, many of us have not felt much joy over the past year.  From pandemics to racial unrest to political turmoil, we have collectively and individually faced many challenges.  It has felt as if life is falling apart.

David Dwight, senior pastor of HOPE Church in Richmond, Virginia, says that we often confuse “joy” for “happiness.”  Happiness is an emotion based on events.  Joy is an anchor …  the place that holds … not an emotion to conjure up.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (Hebrews 6:19-20a, NLT).

David says the joy of God is now available to us by Jesus inviting us into the center of the Trinitarian love and fellowship!

David Dwight is part of the fruit of Leighton Ford’s long-term investment in emerging leaders.  A member of Leighton’s very first Arrow Leadership Program class back in 1994, David planted HOPE Church, which is one of the fastest-growing churches in Richmond.  As a side note, Kevin Ford is thankful that David is a Tar Heel!

Do you need some practice cultivating joy?  Have you ever thought of joy as something to grow?  Be refreshed and encouraged this week as David Dwight walks us through what Scripture says about real joy.

Dr. Jim Singleton
Executive Director of Missional Leadership
Leighton Ford MinistriesDr. Singleton also serves as Associate Professor of Pastoral Leadership and Evangelism at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.


Sometimes we get so “spiritual” that we forget we are human, made of humus, with bodies that need attention as do our souls.  I often tell young leaders who come on a retreat to take lots of naps – because they all arrive tired.

A walk we took up Moses Cone made a good object lesson.  The cows we passed, I would guess, were not thinking great thoughts.  Nor were they terribly impressed with the view of Grandfather Mountain in the distance.

They had the good sense simply to lie down, close their eyes, perhaps to dream of their next meal.  But otherwise just to sleep!

Ah, to be more like a cow at times.  To remember that God “gives to his beloved in sleep.”

Leighton Ford
Founding President
Leighton Ford Ministries

A Lazy Afternoon on Moses Cone, watercolor by Leighton Ford, copyright 2015.  To view more of Leighton’s artwork or to order prints, visit

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