One Way to Realize Successful Change

By | Change, Leadership | No Comments

Here is one way to help you realize successful change as a leader.

Replace something with something better.

That may sound overly simplistic or it might even sound trite. But I’ve used it dozens of times to lead change successfully.

Too many times as leaders we fail to help people through the pain of change. A major problem with change is people fear losing something they’ve grown to value. There is always a sense of loss with change, which impacts people emotionally. Something they’ve grown comfortable with in their life or something they love is going away.

One way then to realize successful change is to replace the thing your changing with something they’ll love even more.

Here’s an example. Several years ago, we wanted to do something with our antiquated, seldom-used library that stayed locked most of the time. It occupied a huge and valuable square footage in our church on a major hallway. We knew it would be controversial (libraries, choir robes and parlors often are). So, instead of doing away with it, we created what we called a “Sending Center”. It still had some books – mostly for children, but we added a small bookstore, coffee bar with tables and chairs, information about missions and discipleship. We cut a huge opening in the wall, so it was always accessible. It became a center for fellowship, meetings, and fun.

We replaced something with something better. 

Granted, you can’t do this every time. Sometimes you just have to let things go. And even with this principle it does mean change will be easy and you’ll still need good leadership. But, when possible, give them something better rather than nothing at all. You’ll help people better embrace the change long-term and help build a culture more conducive to change.

Join Nate (or Chandler) and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

Leaders Grow as the Organization Grows

By | Change, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Team Leadership | No Comments

Bad leadership is bad leadership. It’s usually easy to recognize.

It’s easier, however, to hide bad leadership in an organization, which isn’t growing. (I wrote recently that it’s easy to keep an organization small. Read that post HERE.)

The larger an organization becomes and the more growth, which occurs, the more bad leadership becomes apparent.

As an organization grows:

Read More

3 Ways Change has Changed

By | Change, Church, Leadership | One Comment

Change has changed. Have you noticed?

Of course, you have. It’s all around us. You might not have thought about it, but you’ve certainly experienced the result of the way change has changed. I first wrote these thoughts 9 years ago, and they are truer today.

Change is constant. Always has been. But, in my opinion, it appears change is unique these days.

Change has changed.

Here are 3 ways change has changed:

Change is faster. 

The speed of change has accelerated. A word that came to my attention in the last few years is profusion. I had it defined for me in the book “In Search of Balance”  as The generalized phenomenon of more.”  From technology, to clothing styles to the way we communicate, the pace of change is faster than ever before. Enough that I’ve done sermon series on how we should live in such a fast-changing world.

Less thought put into change. 

“Getting to market” seems more important than thinking through what you take to market these days. Social media has helped with that.

It’s bound to have an impact on quality. For example, I read articles in leading online magazines and newspapers with errors in them. That’s apparently acceptable now. The important thing is that new is introduced. At the current pace, it seems to me it would be impossible to put the research, design, and quality control into all the changes being introduced.

People are more accepting of change. 

Change appears to be more expected today than ever before in my lifetime. It’s almost anticipated. Again, I first penned these ideas 9 years ago, but a pandemic only solidified this one.

I’m not pretending it’s easier to lead once change is introduced. People still naturally resist change, but it’s almost an understood now that change is part of culture.

These are purely my observations. My question 9 years ago remains today –  as a church, since we have a message which can never be changed, how do we adapt to the way change has changed? We can’t change our message, yet we must reach a fast-changing society.

I have continued questions:

  • How should we adjust to the way change has changed?
  • Do we even try to keep up with the velocity and volume of change?
  • Are there ways the church should be changing as fast as the world?
  • Does it make our core mission – the simple truths – even more relevant today?

Nine years of thinking and I’ve not fully answered any of these questions.

Join Nate (or Chandler) and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

7 High Costs of Attempting to Eliminate Risk

By | Change, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Innovation, Leadership | 2 Comments

Every leader attempts to limit risk as much as possible when making decisions. We don’t want to jeopardize the organization – ultimately the people – we are trying to lead, so we attempt to have good systems and procedures, boundaries in place, adequate resources, and even contingency or emergency plans. But there are some high costs when we attempt to eliminate all organizational risk.

I’ve seen leaders confuse an attempt to limit risk with attempting to eliminate ALL risk. There is a big difference. I’m not sure we can ever fail-proof anything , so it’s a futile attempt at best to try to get rid of risk completely.

When we are more rule-centric or risk-adverse than we are willing to “take a chance” or “try something new”, our opportunity costs exceed our potential savings from attempting to eliminate all risks. Every successful organization embraces a certain amount of risk. And there are some high costs involved when a leader who is overly cautious.

Here are 7 high costs of attempting to eliminate risk:

Limited growth.

Personally and corporately, without a certain amount of risk there is no potential for growth. Growth happens in environments where the potential to fail is prevalent, accepted, and not scorned. People are not afraid to take chances.

Unfulfilled dreams.

Dreams are made of the seemingly impossible. The bigger the dream the greater the risk. Healthy teams and organizations have big, lofty dreams pulling them forward.

False reality.

Life is a constant risk. If a leader has as a goal an attempt to eliminate it they are essentially playing tricks with mirrors and fancy lights. They’ve created an unachievable expectation for people who follow.

Underutilized resources.

“Playing it safe” may make more sense on paper. It may even feel comfortable, but often when resources are stretched is when the greatest growth potential occurs. Ask the question – “What would we do if we were forced to change and there was no money available?” It’s amazing how creative people can become.

Wasted time.

The time you invest trying to eliminate risk could be used to leverage risk for a greater gain. All of us only have so much time, so leaders must be diligent stewards of it.

Expensive opportunity loss.

Whenever you choose not to do something because of the risk involved, there is always a loss associated. The organization will miss out somewhere on something by not moving forward soon enough. The greatest discoveries often involve people who are willing to assume the greatest risks.

Diminished momentum.

The fact is risk fuels momentum. There is something inside of most of us – especially the entrepreneurial leader types – who thrive on achieving those things which seem impossible. When the chance of failure is high so are the components which fuels momentum.

Leader, you can never fully eliminate risk and this is one of the hard parts of leading. The time you spend attempting to do so will take precious time from doing other things, which probably can reap higher reward. Risk is a reality to be managed not a problem to be avoided.

(This is true, of course, when leading in the church. Perhaps more so, because we are to always be faith-driven. Faith always, by definition, deals with a level of the unknown.)

Join Nate (or Chandler) and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

7 Indicators You’re Not Leading Anymore

By | Change, Church, Church Revitalization, Innovation, Leadership, Team Leadership | 2 Comments

Being in a leadership position is no guarantee we are leading. Holding the title of leader isn’t an indication one actually leads. I have a whole chapter on this topic in my book The Mythical Leader. There are times, for a variety of reasons, when even the best leaders stop leading, but I think we have indicators when we are not leading intentionally.

Leading by definition is an active term. It means we are taking people somewhere.

Even the best leaders have periods when they aren’t necessarily leading anything. Obviously, those periods shouldn’t be long or progress and momentum eventually stalls, but leadership is an exhaustive process. It can be draining. Sometimes we need a break. And I encourage that.

For an obvious example, I try to shut down at the end of every day and most Saturdays. Plus, I periodically stop leading for a more extended period. During those times, I’m intentionally not leading anything. There are other times, such as after we’ve accomplished a major project, where I may intentionally “rest” from leading to catch my breath and rely on our current systems and structures to maintain us.

Again, those times should be intentional and they shouldn’t be too extended. In my experience, leaders get frustrated when they aren’t leading for too long a period.

How do you evaluate if you are leading or simply maintaining? What are the indicators you’re not leading? One way is to look for the results of leading. What happens when you do lead? Then ask yourself if those are occurring.

For example,

Here are 7 indicators you’re not leading anymore:

Nothing is being changed.

Leadership is about something new. It’s taking people somewhere they haven’t been. That always involves change. If nothing is changing you can do without a leader.

You’re not asking questions.

A leader only knows what he or she knows – and nothing more. And, many times, in my experience, the leader is the last to know. A great part of leadership is about discovery. And, you only get answers to questions you ask.

There are competing visions.

Leaders point people to a vision. A VISION. Not many visions. One of the surest ways to derail progress is to have multiple visions. It divides energy and people. It confuses instead of bringing clarity. Competing visions arise and confusion elevates when we fail to lead.

No one is complaining.

This is a hard one, but you can’t lead anything involving worthwhile change where everyone agrees. If no one is complaining someone is almost always settling for less than best.

People aren’t being stretched.

Please understand – a leader should strive for clarity. They certainly shouldn’t aim for chaos. But when things are changing and work becomes challenging there will always be times of confusion. Don’t equate calmness with good leadership. That’s when good leaders get even better at communicating, listening, vision casting, etc.

No paradigms are being challenged.

Many times the best change is a change of mindset – a way we think. Leaders are constantly learning so they can challenge the thinking “inside the box”.

People being “happy” has become a goal.

Everyone likes to be liked. Might we even say “popular”. In fact, some get into leadership for the notoriety. But, the end goal of leadership should be accomplishing a vision – not making sure everyone loves the leader. Progress hopefully makes most people happy, but when the goal begins with happiness, in my experience, no one is ever really made happy.

Leader, have you been sitting idle for too long? Is it time to lead something again?

Join Nate (or Chandler) and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

5 Harsh Realities of Leading Change

By | Change, Church, Church Revitalization, Leadership | One Comment

Leading change is a part of leadership. You can’t lead without change, but it can be hard. Along the way of leading change – or attempting to – I’ve discovered some harsh realities.

If you are amid some “heavy-lifting” change leadership, see if some of these apply to you. And you may not know some of them are happening, but likely they are at some level. Knowing them can help you face the harsh reality and hopefully lead better.

5 harsh realities of leading change:

There will be more conversations about you than with you.

When you’re in the thick of leading change, you will likely be upsetting people’s comfort level. And they will talk. Mostly they will talk to other people – about you.

That’s hard. Most of us want to be liked and we’d rather know what people are saying about us. This is not to control conversation, but to steer momentum into a positive direction for the change. Many times, people are sharing reasons for change that simply aren’t true. In the absence of knowledge, people often make up their own version of the story.

Knowing this reality, I try to ask lots of questions during times of change. I make sure I have trusted people around me who will keep me informed of what I need to know. Most importantly, I try to cast vision repeatedly as to why we are making the change and the potential future rewards and realities for doing so.

You will likely be misunderstood more than appreciated.

(Or at least it might feel that way at the time. I’m convinced naysayers have louder vocal cords.) Change can be confusing to people. Many times, people won’t fully understand the rationale behind the change until they are enjoying the new reality. If you’re the leader, you’ve likely, often from collaboration, seen a vision of what’s to come that others simply can’t yet see. Because of this they will not always appreciate the change leader along during the process of change.

This is where trust as a leader comes into play. Leadership is a stewardship of trust. Of course, trust is developed over time and experience of doing what you said you would do as a leader. That makes changing too quickly or too early in your tenure especially difficult. Regardless, the leader must be keenly aware of the need to build and maintain trust along the way of leading change.

You’ll explain it as clearly as you know how – and some will still not understand.

It’s change. It’s personal to them. Change will impact people in an emotional way. Emotions are not always explainable or understandable. Also, people often hear what they want to hear. They translate your explanation for the change through their individual context. This is perfectly natural, but it often leads to confusion during the change process.

Again, this highlights the importance of constant communication as to the why (and the where) of change throughout the change process. You’ll have to share it in different ways, illustrate the change with stories of which people can relate, and make sure some key influencers understand, support and can articulate the need for change.

You might not get to enjoy the results of change.

This is certainly a harsh reality – and one I’ve experienced several times personally. It could be you are the change agent, the one used to bring about change, but someone else will get to experience the benefits of the change. (I think we have a few biblical examples of this principle.)

Others may not even celebrate the role you played – and that’s okay. This is where you’ll have to remind yourself of your calling. You’ll need to seek your affirmation in the purpose behind the change and enjoy the pleasure of knowing you did what you were supposed to do.

The change you lead, as good as it might be, will eventually need to be changed again.

Here’s another harsh reality of leading change. You have blood, sweat and tears attached to the change. But no matter how well as you lead change, it won’t last forever. It too will one day be obsolete. And likely, the harder it was to lead the change, the more difficult it will be for you to let go and see it change.

Again, here’s where you realize you’ve been called to lead. In my experience, God tends to use those most willing to living in the tensions of change – and with the harsh realities of leading change. So, get back up and do it again.

LEADERSHIP PODCAST: Catch up on our leadership podcast. We are recording new episodes this week.

The Primary Reason People Resist Change

By | Change, Innovation, Leadership | No Comments

After years of leading change, I’ve discovered every change will face resistance. All change. And there is a primary reason people resist change. I believe it is the number one reason.

No one who has ever led change would disagree with my discovery. Regardless of the change someone will not agree with it – at least initially. It’s almost human nature at work. There is something in all of us, which initially resists change we didn’t initiate.

If there is one primary reason people resist change, would it be helpful to know?

Understanding this can help a leader navigate through change. Ignoring it makes the process of change miserable for everyone – and often keeps the change process from being effective.

What’s the most common reason change is resisted?

It’s an emotion people feel. An emotional response is the primary reason people resist change.

They may not even be able to describe what they are feeling, but the emotion is more powerful at the time than the excitement the change may bring.

It may not even be the emotions we naturally think. We may assume people feel anger, confusion, or fear. And while those are often true emotions of change, in my observation those aren’t the most common or at least initial emotions.

There is one emotion which comes first and impacts all the others. 

What is the most common emotion which causes resistance to change?

People resist change because of a sense of loss.

There you have it – and must understand it. People emotionally feel a sense of loss in the process of change.

Have you ever felt like you were losing or had lost something?

How did you react? Didn’t you try to hold on to whatever you were losing? Did your blood pressure rise a bit? Did you “feel” something?

That’s what people feel in the initial days of change. It’s not usually a good feeling emotion.

And translate that sense of loss into the organizational context. 

Here’s a list (not exhaustive) of what people feel they might be losing when you first introduce change:

  • Power
  • Comfort
  • Control
  • Information
  • Familiarity
  • Tradition
  • Stability

Add your own, but people resist change because those emotions are very real to them.

Rational or not, true or not, and it doesn’t even matter if people know the change is needed. As you know, emotions are not dictated by reality.

Things are changing. So, they feel they are losing something in the change and it causes them to resist the change.

Therefore, as a leader, if I understand what people are struggling with I’m better prepared to lead them through it. Some people are never going to get on board with the change, but many times people just need someone to at least acknowledge their sense of loss. It doesn’t eliminate the emotion, but genuine empathy allows me to keep leading.

The great news from my pastor/leader friends is you already know how to assist people deal with a sense of loss.

Consequently, when a leader discounts or ignores a person’s emotions the resistance becomes more intense, because the emotions become more intense. This is actually when some of those other emotions – like anger – are often added. The process of change is then stalled and sometimes even derailed.

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

5 Ways to Make New Year’s Resolutions You Will Actually Keep

By | Change, Christians, Culture, Encouragement, Innovation, Leadership, Life Plan | No Comments

Sometimes I call them challenges, because people resist the phrase resolutions, but I believe you can make resolutions and actually keep them.

Here’s the thing. I love a fresh start.

Perhaps it’s because grace is the doctrine I’ve needed so much, but there’s something about a clean slate, which motivates me towards achievement.

I’m like this with my desk at the office. I create stacks. Magazines to be read. Notes to be written. Lists to be completed. Bulletins from other churches. (I am always looking for better ideas.) Stacks, stacks, and more stacks. When the stacks are at capacity – I call it organized chaos.

Then one day I’ve had enough of the stacks and I go on a cleaning spree. I sort, file and trash until the top of my desk shows far more wood than paper. And I’m inspired to work again.

I love a fresh start.

I think this may be why I’m one of the people who appreciates New Year’s resolutions. It’s like a line on the calendar, which screams to me: FRESH START!

But, as much as I appreciate the value in them – beginning new things, stretching myself, making my life better – I’m like everyone else. I find it easier to make resolutions than to keep them.

How do we make resolutions we will actually keep?

Because resolutions – even the strongest ones – aren’t going to improve anything if you don’t follow through with them. In fact, they probably just make you more frustrated than before you made them. Who needs more frustration?

So, what can you do? Let me try to help. 

First, write them down. This is huge. I’ve heard people say you are twice as likely to keep a written resolution than one you simply state in your mind.

Second, try not to have too many. You will be overwhelmed and give up before you start.

And, then, here are some ways to make the type of resolutions which you can keep. This help me.

5 ways to make resolutions you can actually keep:

Reasonable

Another word might be attainable. The resolution must make sense for you to actually be able to do this year. Saying you want to read 50 books in a year – because you heard someone else does it – and, yet you didn’t read any this past year is probably going to be a stretch. You might be able to do it, but it likely isn’t a reasonable goal.

Don’t be afraid of small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10). The key is you’re trying to achieve something, which makes your life better. If you’re successful this year you can set a higher goal next year.

Measurable

To be successful in keeping a resolution you need some way to monitor success towards it – certainly a way to know when you’ve achieved it. If your resolution is simply to lose weight you won’t be as motivated as if you say you want to lose a pound a week. You can track that goal and see your progress.

Obviously it will still require discipline, but there is something about a measurable goal which – for most of us – drives us to meet it.

Sustainable

This one doesn’t apply for every resolution, but does in many. Ultimately I have found I’m more motivated to reach goals, which change my life for the better over a longer period of time. It’s great to meet those milestone, once in a lifetime type of achievements – such as running a marathon, or writing a book.

And we should have those type goals in our life – and maybe a milestone resolution is reasonable for you this year. The problem I have seen is if we get off track on reaching them it’s easy to simply give up – maybe even write it off as an unreasonable goal. We feel defeated and so we quit making any resolutions.

In making New Year’s resolutions, I find I’m more successful if it’s something which I possibly adopt as a new lifestyle. Some examples would be changing my eating habits, beginning to exercise more often, Bible-reading, journaling, etc – again reasonable and measurable – but something I will sustain beyond the New Year.

Accountable

This is key. Weight Watchers is a great example here of this principle. There is something about their system, which works, and part of it is the reporting portion – where you have to be accountable to others for your progress.

If you don’t build in a system of accountability – whether it’s with other people or some visible reminder of your resolution and progress – it’s easy to give up when the New Year euphoria begins to fade.

Reward-able

This may be the most important and the least practiced. One secret to actually achieving your resolution may be to find the “carrot”, which will continually motivate you to stretch for the finish line.

If losing weight is a goal it could be a new suit or dress when you reach a pre-determined number. Running a marathon is your goal? If this is a reasonable resolution for you this year it could be you run the marathon in some destination city you can’t wait to visit. If it’s reading your Bible through in a year – promise yourself a new Bible at the end of the year.

The reward should fit the degree of stretching and effort it took to accomplish the resolution. This often serves as a good incentive to helping you reach your goals – especially during the times you are tempting to quit trying.

I hope this will help. It does for me.

I have some daily disciplines in my life now, which started as New Year’s resolutions. It doesn’t work for everyone, but I’ve found resolutions can help me start the year with fresh goals, and the discipline towards achieving them helps me have more discipline in other areas of my life.

Here’s to a great New Year! God bless!

12 Suggestions to Challenge the New Year And Make Your Life Better

By | Change, Christians, Encouragement, Family, Life Plan | One Comment

The verdict appears mixed among the people I know of whether of not they make resolutions for a new year. And I understand. Many have tried before – it didn’t work – and so now they are like “why bother?”. But I believe we should all think of ways we can challenge ourselves to improve in each new year.

I believe there are probably some principles in place as to whether or not a resolution succeeds. For example, is it reasonable? Is it measurable and sustainable? Do you have accountability in place?

Plus, I wonder if the term itself is a problem for some people. RESOLUTION. I hereby resolve! Sounds kind of formal, almost intimidating, doesn’t it? I hate to say I’m resolving to do something where chances are good I won’t.

However, I strongly believe we should work towards continual improvement in our life, whether this begins at the first of the year or in the middle doesn’t matter as much. But, the new year does provide a nice, clear place to start.

So, I like to offer a spin on the old resolution tradition and offer a new word.

Challenge.

How does that word resonate? Do you ever challenge yourself to do better? It’s easier than saying I resolve to do this. You’re not saying you will – you may not even be able to – it will be a challenge, but you’re willing to give it a try.

Let me give you some examples, some which may be challenges for you want to consider. I guarantee if you meet just a few of these challenges your world will be better. You won’t need to meet all of them, just the ones most “challenging” to you. But you’ll have to trust me in this – meeting them or even improving upon them – will brighten your life.

12 ways to challenge the new year:

Quit trying to be someone else

God made you to be you and He didn’t make a mistake. The more you live the you He intended the more you’ll enjoy the benefits and blessing. There’s something you can offer this world no one else can. Comparison only leads to disappointment.

Quit trying to carry all your burdens

And the challenge here for you may be to quit trying to carry everyone else’s burden. God designed you (and me) to be insufficient without Him and to have a relational need for others. Sometimes the best thing you can do is admit you can do it anymore – and ask for help. In your weakness He is strong, but you’ll have to admit your weakness before He usually allows His strength to kick into full gear.

Start embracing today

You can keep hoping your life improves – that this would happen or that would happen. The Apostle Paul said he had learned “the secret of being content”. I’ve personally defined contentment in my life as “being satisfied with where God has allowed me to be in life – right now.” When you begin to find contentment TODAY becomes a great day – in spite of the challenges it holds. Perhaps your greatest challenge in the new year will be embracing where God has you now and waiting more patiently for what He will bring in the fullness of time.

Let the past go

As much as we can learn from history, we shouldn’t be bound by it. One of my favorite verses is Ecclesiastes 11:3, “Wherever the tree falls, there it lies.”. So simple, yet so profound! It speaks volumes to me. If the tree fell there it lays. You can’t do anything about it now. It’s done. Finished. On the ground. All you can control now is your response to the tree which fell.

If grief is holding you back by all means grieve. It is healthy to mourn a loss. (Get help if needed.) But at some point you will need to move forward. If it’s regret then reconcile the loss. When guilt, or disappointment, or anger – whatever “it” is from your past deal with it now. Admit the tree fell. It hurt. It stinks. You probably wish it hadn’t happened, but, I challenge you to move forward in the new year.

Accept God’s grace

It’s always more than we deserve. You can’t earn it. It’s amazing grace. But denying or refusing it ignores the beauty of it. Is the guilt of your past keeping you from enjoying all the blessings of being a child of God? Has there never been a time you received the gift of salvation?

Have you been living more like a prodigal in exile than a child of the King? If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. If the Son has set you free you are free indeed! I challenge you to embrace grace in the new year.

Live free of grudges and bitterness

The lack of forgiveness is a hidden destroyer of joy, peace and happiness. Someone reading this is holding on to a grudge, some bitterness, maybe anger – and it’s keeping you from fully enjoying life. Every time you hear a person’s name or see them you are reminded of the injury they caused. The reality is it is hurting you more than it is them. Chances are they’ve moved on and you’re still struggling. Isn’t it time to let it go? (Let it go could be a “Frozen” song you need to sing to yourself.)

Remember other people exist

Don’t be selfish or always command your way. People, even the best people, will never perform to all of your standards. Honestly, is it even fair to expect it from them? They may not even agree with you as to what is important. You cannot hold people to unrealistic expectations and not be disappointed often.

And here’s a note to those of us disappointed with the things of this world. As followers of Christ, we can’t expect that everyone sees the world as we do. Of course, there are biblical principles through which we view the world and live, but can we really expect people who aren’t believers to embrace them?

Admit mistakes readily

Sincere humility is an attractive quality and it helps to free you from future regrets or guilt. We all can have “perfectionist” tendencies, yet none of us is perfect. If you want to live with less self-induced stress this year, admit you don’t have all the answers and sometimes you have none.

Give generously

Giving opens the heart to joy and contentment. Something happens when we give to others which causes us, though we have less, to feel like we have more. And, there are many needs around us. I challenge you to give more in the new year and see how it makes your life better!

Protect your heart

“Above all else” the Bible says. Where your heart is there your treasure will be also. Most likely there are activities, or people, or places where your heart is most easily injured. You may not be able to avoid them, but you can be aware so you can “guard your heart”. And when you are aware you may be injured you will build guardrails to lessen the damage.

Take a new risk

The adrenaline of attempting something you’ve never done before fuels you for future success. It could be something you’ve always wanted to try or something you know God wants you to do, but, for whatever reason, you’ve resisted. Especially if it’s God-honoring, not sinful, will make your life or other’s life better, then what are you waiting for? Don’t let fear or thoughts of your inadequacies be your chief motivators in the new year. I challenge you – GO FOR IT!

Think and act eternally

There is more to this life than the world we know today. Thankfully, I might add. Jesus said to “store up treasures in heaven”. Whenever possible, I challenge you to consider the eternal consequences of the decisions, investments, and actions of your life.

Jesus said to live in this world, but not be of this world. How are you making a difference in the world to come by your world today? The more intentional you are the more treasures you build for a future reward.

Which challenge for the new year are you willing to accept?

7 Things 2020 Has NOT Changed About Leadership

By | Change, Church, Innovation, Leadership | One Comment

This has been a frustrating year in leadership. 2020 has been challenging for all of us. It has been especially challenging for leaders trying to navigate their organizations through it. That includes pastors and the church. Yet, as I reflect on some of the decisions I have personally had to make this year, I realize some things 2020 didn’t change about leadership.

Some things have always been a part of leadership.

7 things 2020 didn’t change about leadership:

Uncertainty. This isn’t the first time leaders have faced uncertain times. Sure, this year has caused us to make decisions we’ve never made before, but that is not a new leadership phenomenon. In fact, leadership by definition is leading into uncertain futures.

Necessity of risk. Honestly, I feel like some of us may have gotten too comfortable prior to COVID-19. It became easy to work our systems and programs, and even if growth had plateaued, budgets were being met and people were satisfied. But status quo will never realize new growth. Risk is always a part of the getting to the next level of progress.

Need for innovation. One of the funniest quotes I ever read is something Andy Andrews has written. “Think about this: we put men on the moon before we thought to put wheels on luggage.” Leadership by definition has always required that we be innovating as we discover what’s around the corner for our teams.

Diverse reactions to decisions made. Every decision ever made by a leader has made some people really happy and some people not. Again, that’s Leadership 101.

New opportunities for growth. Growth seldom comes without an intentional effort. It requires strategy planning, goal-setting, and diligent efforts on behalf of a team working together. 2020 has given us plenty of chances for that.

Greater success comes from collaboration. “With many advisors plans succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22) The pandemic forced many of us leaders to reach out for help, form teams, and work together – things great leaders have always done.

Need for healthier rhythms. Whew. Are you as tired as I am at the end of 2020? If anything resonates with leaders today it is that they are challenged more than any other year in leadership. I am not sure this will ever completely disappear – or that it’s ever not been the case. One thing is certain, however, even when things return to whatever normal looks like in the future we will need healthy rhythms to keep leading well.

What else has NOT changed about leadership in 2020?

I am not pretending this hasn’t been an unusual year. It is (at least one of) the most difficult I’ve experienced in leadership. But one thing it has done is expose to us what we’ve always known. We need good leaders – and good leadership.

Nate and I have finished our fall semester at the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. New episodes will begin in early 2021. Subscribe now so you don’t miss the next one.