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Chase Your God-Given Dreams


Years ago, Joshua had a dream to start a church for people who didn’t enjoy or feel comfortable in a traditional church. “I wanted to be part of a community where people didn’t have to pretend all the time – where we could be real,” shares Joshua. In 2008, Joshua and his wife, Jennifer, launched Next Level Church in Dover, New Hampshire. They had no money, no congregation, and no experience as church planters. Twelve years later, Next Level Church is one of the fastest growing churches in America with nine locations spread across several different states. Yet, there were many obstacles along the way that could have prevented him from pursuing his dream.

You will face resistance when you choose to pursue your dreams. When Joshua was twenty-six he was playing golf with his pastor. He valued his pastor’s opinion and had been waiting for the right time to share his dream of launching a church. “I was nervous to share this dream with him because I feared feeling rejected if he didn’t agree with my vision for the future,” shares Joshua. Finally, he worked up the nerve and told his pastor about his God-sized dream. The pastor said, “No, Josh, I don’t think you’re called into full-time ministry.” It was devastating to Joshua, but he didn’t let it derail him from his dream. People will try to talk you out of what you see for your future into living a safe, ordinary life that is far away from God-size dreams they do not understand.

Another type of resistance you may experience when you pursue your dreams comes from circumstances. A year after starting Next Level Church Joshua was facing some major financial hurdles that were getting harder and harder to overcome. He had already sold his house and one of his cars. He sold jewelry at a pawn shop in order to pay the rent and had to borrow money for groceries so his family could eat. He could have given up, but God gave him the strength to keep going.


Joshua compares God-sized dreams to a box of LEGOS with many pieces. There are two parts to a LEGO experience. An “outside the box” experience where you see the fully assembled product. And, the “inside the box” experience which is chaos. When God gives you a dream it is an “outside of the box” experience. You see the finished form which a new career or the miracle could be you are praying for. When you start to pursue a God-sized dream that is an “inside the box” experience. God doesn’t usually lay out His entire plan for you to achieve your dreams. Instead, He usually shows you only the next step you need to take. Dreams have to be chased. They have to be earned. It requires patience and hard work to walk step-by-step with God until your dream is complete. Many people miss out on their dreams because they aren’t willing to take the incremental steps required to reach their dreams.

When Joshua started Next Level Church he received a subscription to Outreach magazine, which is written for pastors and church leaders. Each year, the magazine puts out a list of the 100 Fastest Growing Churches in America. When he started the church, he laid a copy of the magazine on his desk. He dreamed of one day seeing his church on that list. In 2014, Next Level was number five on the list. Since then Joshua’s church has grown with hard work and faithfully walking out the steps of his dream. Another dream of Joshua’s was to write a book. Several years ago, he put together a book proposal and began the process of seeking a publisher. Unfortunately, the leads dried up and he received some criticism on one of the rejection letters which said, “Josh is not a gifted writer.” He felt defeated and told God he was giving up on his dream. People continued to ask him about writing a book. A year later, a publisher contacted him and asked if he was interested in writing a book. Joshua ignored the agent because he still felt rejected. A year later, he finally wrote the agent back and said he would like to try again. Joshua’s book, It’s Not Over was published this year.


Ten years ago, Joshua’s friends had a son, Josiah, who was born with some serious health issues. Today their child has had over thirty surgeries. One night over dinner Joshua asked Josiah’s parents what the hardest part of the last ten years has been. His mom replied, “Praying.” When her son was born she use to pray for God to heal her baby. Her prayers were bold and intense as she prayed for her dream – to see her son healed come true. Although she continues to pray for her son, she says her prayers are not the same. Her honesty helped Joshua realize, “Our prayers and dreams are not two separate expressions of who you are. They are connected. When our ability to dream becomes weak, the same happens to our prayer life,” shares Joshua. The uncertainty in the world today has many feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and even depressed. Circumstances have canceled or delayed many dreams. Even though everything may seem to be falling apart Joshua says, “You need an intimate relationship with God if you are going to pursue and achieve God-sized dreams.” He offers the following prayers to help you reconnect with God and increase intimacy with Him:

  • Help me trust Your character over my circumstances – The circumstances in your life are constantly changing –moving up and down. But God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
  • Help me see possibilities when I’m surrounded by impossibilities – There are tragedies in this world, but you have to trust God’s character in the midst of pain. Sometimes you may give up on your dreams because you forget that when Jesus shows up, nothing is impossible.
  • Give me faith to say, “Even if you don’t” – You may be discouraged and uncertain of the future, but God is with you and will protect you. Follow God and keep an intimate connection with Him even if He doesn’t respond the way you hope.

You may believe your best days are behind you, but Joshua says, “As long as you have breath in your lungs, a God-sized dream in your heart, and the willingness to finish strong, it’s not over.”

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


NY Times bestselling author, It’s Not Over (W Publishing, 2020)

Founder and Lead Pastor of Next Level Church, one of the fastest growing churches in America, with 9 locations spread across several different states

Married to Jennifer

Two children


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