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Josh Gagnon: How to Make Your Church Fit Your Community

planting a church

Josh Gagnon is the founder and lead pastor of Next Level Church. After planting a church, he has led his church to reach thousands in a very challenging ministry context and provides incredible wisdom for pastors and ministry leaders, no matter where they happen to be serving. Josh has a new book, entitled, It’s Not Over: Leaving Behind Disappointment and Learning to Dream Again. He and his wife, Jennifer, raise their two sons in New Hampshire.

Key Questions on Planting a Church for Josh Gagnon 

-After planting a church, how did your church really start to grow? Did you sense there was a turning point in your ministry?

-How do you and your team work at understanding the context when you plan to open a new campus?

-What is your advice for people thinking about going multisite?

-How can all pastors pursue “God-sized dreams,” even if their churches don’t experience significant growth?

Key Quotes from Josh Gagnon

“We started Next Level Church pretty much on accident.”

“I had never been to a church conference before, I had never read a church planting book before, I had never been mentored before, and we just started, just wanting to reach those that we did life with, and God blessed it.”

“We faced many obstacles then, and we face obstacles now.”

“One of the larger obstacles I had to face was just learning how I needed to mature…ministry leaders and all leaders, we exaggerate what God will do in the short run and we underestimate God what can do in the long run.”

“The reality is a plane needs resistance in order to take off and God-sized dreams are going to come with resistance.”

“Don’t get discouraged when you’re facing opposition. Don’t get discouraged when you’re discouraged. Get concerned when there’s nothing in your life you’re chasing that causes you to feel discouragement.”

“We’ve never sold out to a model. The reality is that models change, models will come and go, but the gospel remains the same.” 

“I think that’s a danger in the church world…I think we go to a conference and we see X working at X church, and we bring it back to our community and we try to do it, and it doesn’t work and we wonder why. It’s because we are all pastoring a different Sunday school in a different area of the country, and we have to make sure it’s relevant for where we live.”

“One of the dangers of the multisite movement—it’s a blessing and a danger—is it’s almost like church leaders feel insecure if they’re not multisite nowadays.” 

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Jason serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at PastorServe, a ministry committed to strengthening the Church by serving pastors through personal coaching and church consulting. He also hosts FrontStage BackStage, a podcast and YouTube show, that helps pastors embrace healthy, well-balanced leadership as they develop a sustainable rhythm for life and ministry. Prior to joining the PastorServe team, Jason served as Vice President of Ministry Mobilization at Outreach, Inc., and as the Executive Director of the National Back to Church Sunday movement. Additionally, Jason served for nearly two decades in pastoral leadership, primarily as a lead pastor, in several contexts, including church plant re-launch, multisite church, multiethnic urban church, and an established suburban church. His experience as a lead pastor has provided numerous opportunities to coach and mentor pastors across the country. Jason and his beautiful wife, Monica, are the proud parents of six children and live on Anastasia Island, Florida. @jasondaye