Pastor Josh Mendez grew up in a Puerto Rican family in New Jersey. After his parents divorced when he was nine years old, he moved with his mother and grandmother to Puerto Rico. His grandmother traveled to churches and hospitals preaching the gospel, anointing the sick, and praying for healing. Many times he accompanied her and sometimes even preached when given the chance. Josh recalls, “I just knew from a very young age that I was called to ministry.”
Those early encounters with God in Puerto Rico would play a pivotal role in his life. Five years later they moved back to New Jersey, and through a series of hardships in his teenage years and early twenties, Josh backslid. Though he questioned his call, he never denied the Lord. He frequently thought back to ministry with his grandmother, realizing it was “really hard to forget the presence of God.”
During one of the most spiritually dark nights of his life Josh clearly heard the voice of the Lord challenging him to “Choose now.” Those two words shook him. He couldn’t sleep and through his tears and anger he finally submitted to the call of God on his life.
Josh enrolled in classes at the University of Valley Forge, but hesitated to pursue pastoral studies. He instead opted to study as a music ministry major, but nearing graduation every music ministry opportunity closed for him. Seeking direction from trusted pastors, he switched his major to pastoral studies in his final semester and ministry doors began to open. It was as if he picked up where he left off as a 14-year-old in Puerto Rico — starting a traveling ministry speaking at conferences and churches around Philadelphia.
Soon after that he went on staff at a church in Reading, PA. He was bi-vocational, working in a local bank while youth pastoring. With fondness he remembers when he would leave the doors open at the church and students would wander in, some even giving their lives to Jesus on the spot.
Josh continued in ministry while working at the bank. Banking was a stressful vocation, and when Josh and Lisa married in 2016, they decided to take a step of faith into full-time ministry. That led them to Maryland, where for three years they youth pastored at a non-denominational church. It was a tough assignment, and when it came to a close, Josh’s brother-in-law, Pastor Ryan Quigley, brought them to Minnesota to serve on staff at Albert Lea AG.
God began to stir a desire in Josh’s heart to lead a church, so they looked at the open church list and noticed Wells AG. As Josh and Lisa discovered more they said to themselves, “God is doing something there.” One day Josh and Lisa drove to Wells with resume in hand. Unknown to them, the church had just finished a month of prayer and fasting for direction when they walked through the open doors. In recent years, the church had acquired a vacant building in downtown Wells, and in a twist that only the Lord could arrange, that building happened to be a former bank.
Josh and Lisa were voted in and their first Sunday was June 13, 2021. When asked about what the future holds for the people of Wells, Josh’s answer was reminiscent of his ministry with his grandmother years ago and his time in Reading, PA: “Give them Jesus. If you give them Jesus, people will walk into those doors.”