Pastor Josh Leadership

10 lessons from 10 Years


We started Overflow Church in our living room with 10 people(one in a womb) 10 years ago. We had no money and knew nobody in the city we were called to. We didn't have much. What we did have was a word from the Lord, and that gave us hope! Here are 10 things I've learned. Some of these things might appear as whining, but they are not. They are part of owning this glorious field God has called us to steward. 

1. It's been special in expectation. The question I get asked more often than any other about our church is, "Was it like you expected it to be?" The answer is "No." Not as we expected, but it has been even more special and meaningful. Not as dynamic, but rich, filled with laughs, tears, and unforgettable moments with Jesus. At the end of the day, our hope was in him, not what we wanted Overflow to look like. 

2. There is great joy in weeping with those that weep. Weeping isn't weakness. There is blessing in mourning. The promise to those who sow in tears is that they will reap with shouts of joy. (Psalms 126:5) We have shared many tears and a whole lot of laughs. They are two sides of the same coin!  

3. Just because people attend your church doesn't mean that you are their pastor. Sometimes you are their preacher, and sometimes you are their friend. Many people want you to be their friend but not their pastor. I call this friend-zoning. I want to be a friend, but when God made me their pastor, that comes first. Everyone needs a pastor. 

4. A lot of miracles take a lot of time. Believing for a miracle is exhausting but also a lot of fun. There is joy in trusting and waiting. I need to remember that. 

5. Celebrate what you want in others. Oftentimes, the things you are praying for, other people will get. Rejoice with them. It's important to remember that God has an endless supply, and heaven isn't poor!

6. You always feel like you don't know what you are doing. For ministry, and in life in general, you always feel like you are bobbing in the ocean, trying to keep your head above the water, hitting bottom, and pushing back up. I think this keeps us growing and learning. I love teaching and investing in others. Learning and growing are not optional. 

Learning and growing are not optional. 

7. It's heavy because it's spiritual. Every Sunday afternoon, even when I am not preaching, I am overwhelmed with every kind of emotion and question. "Did I love well?" "Did I say it well?" "Where was so and so?" Physically, I am tired and sometimes in literal physical pain with backaches or headaches. Sometimes folks ask, "What do I do all week?" or assume you only work one day a week as a pastor. They have no idea about the weight you carry 24/7. I've found that hours are easier than weight--and I work many hours every week. Also, it does not get easier with time. It's a spiritual weight that impacts you physically, mentally, and emotionally. There is also great joy in it because it is spiritual, which means it lasts forever! 

8. A day off is the most important day. Without a rest from the mental, emotional, and spiritual weight, you will be no good for your family or the people you lead. When I was a youth pastor, I hated a day off and sort of bragged about not really taking one; it was a foolish mindset. Now, I relentlessly protect my Fridays like I protect my family. Because in my sabbath, I am protecting them. A day off gives me the rest I need to be the best I can be. If it's not an emergency, it doesn't get my attention. 

9. Success is in your yes. Overflow today is not the church we envisioned 10 years ago. Honestly, it's way better. It's not bigger, and the metrics are not as good as we wanted them to be. We had to decide if we were going to be who God called us to be or if we were going to follow the cookie-cutter systems and gain the metrics. I love the culture that has formed organically. The best culture is grown, not created. There are conferences you can attend that will teach you to create a culture and be successful in the metrics. But only the Holy Spirit can teach you to be who He designed you to be. Stay connected to the vine. When we stand before Jesus, He is not going to measure the metrics; He is going to look at our response to His word! We must learn to respond to the whispers. When the Lord sows in whispers, we reap in shouts of fulfilled joy. 

When the Lord sows in whispers, we reap in shouts of fulfilled joy. 

10. It moves really fast. Don't get in a hurry. The days are long, but the years are short. Lean in. There are some things you only get to enjoy in that season, so go ahead and lean into where you are, and don't get distracted by the future.

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