Ron Edmondson is a pastor and student of leadership. He blogs regularly on church and organizational leadership, family and God.
Posted 12/16/15 at 10:37 AM | Ron Edmondson
I have never met a church which didn’t want to reach young people. Every church sees the value in younger people becoming a an active part of the church. They know the future life of the church depends upon it.
The problem is often the church doesn’t act like what they claim to value.
If a church is more interested in protecting traditions, for example, than it is in creating a future, then it will most likely fail to attract young people.
At least that’s been my experience.
If a church is interested in attracting young people, it must think strategically about doing so. And, let’s be honest- we are all figuring out this subject. I’m totally open to learning from you. These are just some things I’ve observed.
Value them and their ideas
Young people will want to do things differently. They see things differently. We must give them a voice and an access to authority. This doesn’t mean we have to change anything we believe or teach, but it does mean we have to listen to them and not dismiss what’s on their heart and minds. I’ve found I must make time in my schedule for the younger generation. I need to engage them regularly. They want to know me personally. But, when I do, it’s huge to them – and I have more credibility to speak into their life. (And, it fuels me personally.) FULL POST
Posted 11/25/15 at 10:22 AM | Ron Edmondson
I was talking with a 25 year old pastor recently. He is frustrated with the church where he serves. He was brought to the church because they wanted him to help the church grow again — or so the search committee convinced him — but they see him as too young to make decisions on his own.
They won’t take his suggestions, voting them down at business meetings.
They consistently undermine his attempts to lead.
They expect him to speak each week and visit the sick, but they won’t let him make any changes he feels need to be made.
It has made for a very miserable situation and he feels helpless to do anything about it. He’s ready to quit and the situation is negatively impacting every other area of his life.
It isn’t the first time I have heard a story such as this. I hear it frequently from young leaders in churches and the business world. I didn’t want to be the one to tell him, but I didn’t want to mislead him either. The bottom line in this young pastor’s situation: FULL POST
Posted 10/7/15 at 3:03 PM | Ron Edmondson
As a leader, one of your primary roles is developing and maintaining the health of the team. What do you do when team members aren’t getting along with each other? How should you handle conflict on a team?
In my post 10 Tips for Handling Conflict, I primarily address team members individually working together to address conflict. The question I receive is: What happens when conflict escalates to the point where a leader’s input is needed?
First, I would say the leader being involved should be rare. Very rare. Most problems need to be handled individually. If it’s occurring frequently you may have the wrong people on the team or a bigger issue to address.
Conflict never goes away on it’s own. It usually only gets worse with time. In fact, conflict is a necessary aspect of a healthy team, so to avoid it keeps the team from discovering the best answers to issues and allows unhealthy tension to remain. I like to give conflict some time to work itself out among team members, but not long enough to disrupt the team’s progress or jeopardize the health of the team. When the team starts choosing team member’s sides of an issue and the conflict begins to be disruptive I know it’s time for me to address it as the leader. FULL POST
Posted 9/25/15 at 10:38 AM | Ron Edmondson
There are no perfect leaders — except for Jesus.
For the rest of us, we each have room for improvement. Most of us live with flaws in our leadership and the more we mature the more aware we become of them. Good leaders learn to surround themselves with people who can supplement their weaknesses.
There are, however, some leadership traits, which a leader can never delegate away. If the leader can’t work through them, in my opinion, their leadership will be crippled. With these traits, the best the leader has to offer will never fully materialize.
These leadership traits will eventually wreck a leader’s success.
If the leader’s character is flawed, the leadership will be flawed. A leader can never escape the quality of his or her heart.
Assuming everyone’s support
Leaders seldom hear the complete story unless they pursue it. Environments have to be created that produce transparency and honesty. Even in the healthiest organizations there will always be things a leader doesn’t know. FULL POST
Posted 8/19/15 at 10:21 AM | Ron Edmondson
I was coaching a group of pastors recently and asked a question I’ve encountered but never really answered. It’s a question which seems to come up frequently these days. It’s actually a great and relevant question for our times. In fact, I think it’s one many churches need to consider. It’s a common dilemma churches face today.
In church revitalization, I often encourage churches to consider whether the church can be revived. Frankly some churches cannot. Some churches have a culture which works against them. The energy, in my opinion, would be better spent elsewhere.
And, some churches have had their community leave them. The community has changed and they no longer look like their community demographically.
Now, to avoid confusion, I’m not talking spiritually. The church never reflects the community there. The church usually is counter-cultural in terms of how we reflect God’s standards In our communities. I’m strictly talking demographically. FULL POST
Posted 7/21/15 at 8:43 AM | Ron Edmondson
Leaders need to remain motivated so they can help motivate their team. Leaders also need to be keenly aware of how motivated their team is at any given time.
I have found over the years that regardless of how motivated I am if the people around me are unmotivated, we aren’t going to be very successful as a team.
Which is why it may be even more important a leader learns recognize when a team is decreasing in motivation.
But, here’s the greater reason.
When a team loses motivation, momentum is certain to suffer loss. It’s far easier to motivate a team — in my opinion — than it is to build momentum in an organization.
So, as leaders, we must learn what destroys motivation.
Routine – When people have to repeat the same activity over and over again, in time they lose interest in it. This is especially true in a day where rapid change is all around them. Change needs to be a built-in part of the organization to keep people motivated and momentum moving forward. FULL POST
Posted 7/8/15 at 9:01 AM | Ron Edmondson
The following question is an actual question I received from a blog reader, but it’s representative of one I frequently receive:
Could you share or possibly write a post about your relationship with your wife and how you incorporate or make her feel a part of your ministry and relationships?
Great question. I think it is one everyone in ministry should be asking.
My wife, Cheryl, is a partner in my ministry. No doubt about it. Everyone in our church knows it. They see her as an equal part of my role within the church. In every church we’ve been she’s been widely loved and popular.
Cheryl was my partner before I was in vocational ministry. We taught Sunday school together. She has certainly been as a pastor’s wife. She’s very visible and always ready to join with me in anything we do at the church. I have joked that when I’ve left one ministry for another, they’ve usually told me I’m free to go, but I need to leave Cheryl behind. FULL POST
Posted 7/7/15 at 8:53 AM | Ron Edmondson
One critical part of leadership is what I like to call the “backside of leadership.”
It’s the part that is unseen. Or unknown at the time. It’s the unspoken, unclear, has-to-be-tested side of leadership.
Years ago I had a leader I could never predict. One day everything was wonderful and the next day nothing was right. It was frustrating. I could never read this leader and whether or not he was happy.
Some have probably accused me of this at times. Probably all of us.
Leading well means sometimes what a leader does when the team’s back is turned is more important than what they do in the team’s presence. When they don’t know what the leader is thinking or how he or she will respond — they can still trust the leader.
The backside of good leadership means a leader does what is best for the team and the organization — not for his or her personal gain — regardless of who gets credit. FULL POST
Posted 7/7/15 at 8:50 AM | Ron Edmondson
There is a day every leader has to face. But, no leader necessarily wants to.
I have walked through this with dozens of leaders over the year sand it’s never a fun process.
Just seeing it in print may sting a little if you know the time has come for you — but you haven’t yet said it aloud.
It could be for a variety of reasons. Still hurts.
Could be retirement. A season has ended. Or, you’re no longer the best fit to be the leader.
Either way — wrestling to this point is a difficult, sometimes grueling decision.
It’s one I’ve faced in my own career. In our last church plant, I knew God was releasing us to something new. That didn’t make it easy. I couldn’t even see what would happen next. I just knew my season there was ending.
Some handle this well. Some resist it and don’t. Some kick and scream and it has to be forced upon them. Never pretty. FULL POST
Posted 6/22/15 at 1:45 PM | Ron Edmondson
John Maxwell says leadership is influence. If that’s true, then how does a leader develop that influence with the people he or she leads?
I have had the opportunity to build my own team — that’s easier — and to inherit a team I was supposed to lead. That’s hard. But, either requires intentional effort on the part of the leader. Influence is never gained simply by holding a position.
I’ll never forget the first week in my current position. We have a large staff and it seemed everyone was on edge around me. It was awkward. I’m a pretty easy-going guy. I can appear intense at times, because I’m very driven, but I genuinely like people. My door is always open. But, it was tense. Eerily tense. The church had experienced a couple difficult years and they were obviously resistant to give immediate trust. I would have to earn it.
If John Maxwell is correct that leadership is influence — and he certainly is at some level — I knew I had to gain influence with my team. I can’t lead people if I can’t influence them. FULL POST