Meet Joyce Rogers
Joyce is best known as the wife of the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, pastor for 32 years of the well-known Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, and the the three term president of the Southern Baptist Convention. She was his main “cheerleader” and behind the scenes adviser. She passionately believed in his calling as a pastor and loved being a pastor’s wife. She was standing by his side at the Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly in Ridgecrest, North Carolina when he stepped out during an “invitation” to publicly declare that he felt God calling him to be a preacher. There was no one any happier than she. They were too young to declare their love for one another (He was 16 years and she was fifteen), but deep in her heart she knew that one day she would be Mrs. Adrian Rogers, pastor’s wife.
She shares his convictions about the inerrancy of the Scriptures and has a deep personal love and knowledge of the Scriptures herself. She joyfully stood by his side and encouraged him as he took courageous stands for the Word of God.
Joyce and Adrian were childhood sweethearts and she still has love notes that he dropped by her desk in the sixth grade. They were married at the beginning their second year in college. They ministered together every weekend at the First Baptist Church of Fellsmere, Florida, (a town of about 500 people) which was about 180 miles from the college.
Joyce majored in religious studies and completed her major before they decided to have a baby. When Adrian graduated with his B. A. from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, Joyce was seated in the audience holding her B. A. and her B A B Y, Stephen Michael Rogers, who was then three months old.
Joyce has always been an avid student, having graduated with honors from high school and college. She loves to read and her two favorite authors are her husband and Oswald Chambers. Her favorite book, of course, is the Bible of which she is a diligent student. The book of Psalms is her favorite book of the Bible. Her favorite chapter is Psalm 18 and her favorite passage is Psalm 63:3-4.
She is a committed homemaker and mother of five children (Steve, Gayle, Philip, David and Janice). Baby Philip was taken to heaven by sudden crib death when just 2 ½ months old. This tragedy greatly impacted Joyce and Adrian’s lives and they were cast upon the Lord in a greater way than ever before. Joyce has a special burden for those who have lost little ones. She learned in those days how to “lean hard” on Jesus and to “dig deep” into God’s wonderful written Word.
Nine grandchildren, Adrienne Renae (Rogers) Hetzer, Angie (Edmiston) Luce, Rachel (Edmiston) Kendall, Michael and Adrian Foster, Jonathan and Stephen Rogers, call her Grammy, and she loves each one dearly.
To date she has seven great grandchildren who also call her Grammy; Marianna Luce, born the evening before Adrian died, Poppy Joy Luce (who had Trisomy 18 and lived only three hours), Adrienne Luce (who was adopted just six months later from Life Choices), Graham Luce, Townes Hetzer, and Allie and Pierce Kendall. Adrian only got to meet one of them, little Poppy Joy, who joined him in heaven. Joyce says that there’s still room for lots more “greats.”
Joyce has been a Bible teacher for 60 years. Over the years she has taught teenagers, young married women, adult women and children. She taught a Children’s New Member class for over 40 years and loved impacting the spiritual growth of thousands of children.
She was a pioneer and leader in beginning Women’s Ministry in the Southern Baptist Convention, first at the First Baptist Church of Merritt Island, Florida and then at Bellevue Baptist Church.
Her major spiritual gifts are “exhortation” and “mercy.” She loves encouraging and challenging others in their Christian walk. Upon retirement and Adrian’s homegoing Joyce is now the member of an adult women’s “Connection Class” at Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett, Tennessee. She loves her teacher and the fellowship with godly Christian women. She sees these years as opportunities to speak to various groups—pastors’ wives, widows, and various ages of women. She has even been invited to speak to teenage young women and at a marriage retreat for husbands and wives.
She has a great love for music and sings in her church choir. She also sings solos from time to time and frequently will sing as a part of a message that she brings to a group. She has a vast collection of songs about Jesus. Her all time favorite song is “There’s Something About That Name” by Bill and Gloria Gaither. She was impacted greatly by the song, “Well Talk It Over,” by Ira Stamphill after the death of little Philip. She says that a day would never end without her singing a song to Jesus.
She has had a lifetime love affair with taking moving pictures. It all began when her Daddy’s employees gave him a movie camera when she was a freshman in school. He didn’t use it very much and Joyce began taking pictures. She has a vast collection of movies and now videos made through the years.
She has an editing program on her computer and loves to make special videos for her children and grandchildren of them and their PaPa down through the years. It’s like a treasure hunt looking for each one with their PaPa. She says, "It’s almost like I feel a calling to pass this legacy down to my family in a format that they will enjoy."
She also has a penchant for writing down her thoughts. These have resulted in five books and contributions to some other books. They include Becoming a Woman of Wisdom (a combination of two original books, The Wise Woman and The Secret of a Woman’s Influence), The Bible’s Seven Secrets to Healthy Eating, Love Worth Finding (her late husband’s biography), which they worked on together, Lean Hard on Jesus, and Grace for the Widow.
Joyce has been a student of and advocate for good nutrition for over 30 years and has written a book on nutrition, entitled The Bible’s Seven Secrets to Healthy Eating.
She is the daughter of Guston and Gladys Gentry and is the youngest of four children. She is grateful that they took her to Sunday School and church, where she was saved when she was nine years old and as she likes to say, “gave all she knew of Joyce to all she knew of Jesus.” She has never regretted this decision one day in her life. She loved the way that her husband passionately pled for others to “Come to Jesus.” She says, “I can’t do it just like him, but I want to spend the rest of my life in my own way pleading for others to ‘Come to Jesus’ and lay down their sins, their sorrow and their suffering at Jesus’ feet.” Joyce had joined with Adrian in a teaching ministry to pastors and wives. He taught the men and she taught the women. It was called The Adrian Rogers Pastor Training Institute. They had planned to spend at least the next ten years of their retirement years training pastors and wives. Adrian’s sessions were professionally filmed just seven months before he died, not realizing at the time that he had cancer. These sessions are now being used all over the world.
Joyce has written down her insights to ministers’ wives and plans to share these with her sisters in the ministry.