14550 Lee Rd, Chantilly, VA 20151

CNLP 280: Ron Edmondson on The Essentials For Helping a Stagnant Church Grow Again, How to Handle Your Critics, and the Changing Landscape of Leadership


by Carey Nieuwhof: It’s easy to write off a stuck or plateaued church as irrelevant or bound to close, but that’s not what happened when Ron Edmondson became senior pastor of a church of 1000 in Lexington Kentucky. Under Ron’s leadership, Immanuel Baptist grew from 1000 attenders to over 3000 in six years and is firmly positioned for the future.

Ron explains the keys to turning a church around, how to handle critics, and we talk about his new job as CEO of Leadership Network and how the leadership landscape is changing.

Welcome to Episode 280 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

Ron Edmondson | Leadership Network | The Mythical Leader

Facebook | LinkedInTwitter | Vimeo

Episode Links

Empower and equip your leaders with church management software from Church Community Builder. Podcast listeners receive 20% off now.

Find training for every ministry area and every leadership level at Ministry Grid. Take advantage of their August special to lock in your annual rate with unlimited training, plus receive my book Didn’t See It Coming as a bonus gift.

Follow Carey on Instagram.

CNLP 159: Ron Edmondson on Busting the 7 Myths that Break too Many Young Leaders

CNLP 010: How to Rapidly Navigate Change in a Traditional Church Context – An Interview with Ron Edmondson

The Second Tier Principle by Ron Edmondson


The Porch

CNLP 236: Jonathan Pokluda on the Keys to Reaching and Influencing Tens of Thousands of Millennials Every Week

Come and See by Todd Wagner

CNLP 265: Les McKeown on the Keys to Scaling Your Church or Business, Why Growth Doesn’t Necessarily Mean You’re Ready to Scale, and How Scaling Actually Reduces Stress on You and Your Team

CNLP 206: Les McKeown on Visionaries, Operators and Processors and How Each is Necessary in Thriving Organizations

CNLP 112: Les McKeown on Getting Your Church or Organization into a Place of Predictable Success

CNLP 140: Tony Morgan on Discovering What Stage Your Church is at in Its Lifecycle

CNLP 108: Tony Morgan on Why Churches Get Stuck and How to Get Your Church Moving Again

Leading a Church in a Time of Sexual Questioning by Bruce Miller

CNLP 253: Kadi Cole on the New Rules for Men and Women in the Workplace and Creating a Culture that Leverages Female Leaders Regardless of Your Theology

Managing Leadership Anxiety by Steve Cuss

Bob Buford Tribute

CNLP 155: Matt Engel on the Rise of Big Data and How to Use it to Pastor Your Church and Reach Your Community

Pat Gelsinger

Ask NT Wright Anything

3 Insights from Ron

1. When revitalizing a church, look at the last good thing that has happened in the church and start from there

Ron has helped with a lot of church revitalizations. One of the biggest lessons he has learned is that when you begin to bring big changes to a church (or any organization) you have to look back at the last good thing the church did and was excited about, point to it, and say, “We need to do more of that.”

If you can point people to the good things in the past, and say “remember when,” you will get lots of early adopters. They will hop on board with the new vision because they can easily visualize what the new normal can become. This is a huge part of starting a revitalization out on the right foot.

2. How should we think about online attendance?

Online church attendance has begun to take place of regular Sunday morning attendance. A big debate in the church world nowadays is: “Does online church attendance count?” Carey and Ron have both been diving into this conversation and asking hard questions of some of the top leaders in North America.

Ron has begun to see that many people are just as evangelistic and outreach focused if they are attending online. They are sharing the messages with their co-workers, and they truly feel like a member of the church. This is a good sign, but the goal of online attendance should always be to bring people into true discipleship and community in person. That is possible with online church, but it is much more probable if we can get people to begin to come in person.

3. When transitioning an organization, the right fix trumps a quick fix every time

When you step into a new organization, it is really common to want to make quick fixes right away. Ron has had to learn that this is not always the best approach. The quick fix never solves the problem. He has learned that it is best to come in and lead by learning. The longer he can wait, the closer to the right fix he will get.

There are some decisions you have to make quickly. Sometimes everybody knows that there are certain employees that just have to go. You can make those decisions fast, but the bigger strategy decisions, like company values and product releases, take time to nail down. If you wait to gain more context you will be better equipped to create a successful long-term solution.

Quotes from Episode 280

The new challenge that the church is facing is the decline of regular attendance on Sunday. @RonEdmondsonClick To Tweet

3% of the Bay area will be at church on Sunday morning, but 76% will be at work on Monday morning. What you do on Monday is as important as what you do on Sunday. @RonEdmondsonClick To Tweet

Quick is the enemy of right. @cnieuwhofClick To Tweet

Every zip code has a different struggle. @RonEdmondsonClick To Tweet

If you don’t know who you’re trying to minister to, you’ll give them the wrong remedy. @RonEdmondsonClick To Tweet

I’ve never seen decreasing attendance lead to increasing devotion. @cnieuwhofClick To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 280

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Watch the Podcast on YouTube

Select episodes of this podcast are now on YouTube. Our new YouTube Channel gives you a chance to watch some episodes, not just listen. We’ll add select episodes to YouTube as time goes on.

Need a great speaker for your next event?

Introducing the Nieuwhof Speaking Team comprised of top leaders to bring dynamic insight, clarity and wisdom to your next gathering.

For years, Carey has spoken to leaders around the world about leadership, change and personal growth.  Today, we’re introducing a team of communicators who can bring just what you need to help your next event or conference be a complete success.

The Nieuwhof Speaking Team line up is:

Jenni Catron

Jeff Henderson

Rich Birch

Brad Lomenick

Toni Nieuwhof

Dillon Smith

To learn more or book a speaking team member for your event, click here.

Subscribed Yet? 

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Nancy Duarte, Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Erwin McManus and many others.

Subscribe using your favorite podcast app via

Apple Podcasts


Google Play



Spread the Word. Leave a Rating and Review

Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn as well.

Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Heather Zempel

Heather Zempel is a biological engineer who started working as a policy advisor to a US Senator on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. She now works with Mark Batterson doing ministry on Capitol Hill. In a wide ranging interview, Heather describes the culture in DC during the 90s and early 2000s and compares it to how it is today. She talks about reaching young adults in the city, developing young leaders, and why she’s rethinking her groups and teaching strategy as DC becomes more and more post-Christian.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 281.

The post CNLP 280: Ron Edmondson on The Essentials For Helping a Stagnant Church Grow Again, How to Handle Your Critics, and the Changing Landscape of Leadership appeared first on CareyNieuwhof.com.

Source: CNLP 280: Ron Edmondson on The Essentials For Helping a Stagnant Church Grow Again, How to Handle Your Critics, and the Changing Landscape of Leadership