Ron Edmondson is a nationally recognized consultant, speaker, and author on church leadership and revitalization. Joe Park, CEO and Managing Partner of Horizons Stewardship, hosted him for a local church pastor spotlight. Today, Ron and Joe discuss what ministry looks like moving forward into what many believe will be a new season of ministry. Watch the video interview now. Below is a summary of the most salient ideas Ron shares during the interview: Leading Through COVID-19.

In what ways has your life and ministry changed during this time?

  • Making the decision to close the building. We were the first in our city.
  • We are on information overload. That has stressed internal decision-making processes.
  • I found myself with a wide range of emotions. This is tough personally and professionally.
  • There seems to be a sense of urgency within churches that I haven't seen previously. Desperation causes innovation. But also, a sense of unity among churches which is very encouraging.
  • Jesus is cool again. It's OK—in broader culture—to be holding onto your faith during this time.

What does pastoring an online community look like in comparison to a traditional congregational setting?

  • Understand your audience. When you can see and talk to them, it's easier to know the needs of your people. When you can't, it's more complex.
  • Your audience is broader. More people are listening and watching your church who have never done so before.
  • The more you can localize your message, the more effective you'll be. Even though you're speaking to a broader audience, stay focused on who you are talking to.
  • I'm producing more content than I ever have. There is an internal need to connect with people in meaningful ways more often than I ever have before.

How have you contextualized your message for your church?

  • Tell more stories. Keep the focus on human-centric content.
  • Identify where you are making an impact. Amplify this as often as you can.
  • Engage with people who are local even though you are speaking to a potentially international audience. Enroll volunteers in this process.

How are you communicating with your church—and your staff—during this time?

  • Use video conferencing services. Make sure everyone knows how to do this.
  • Divide your staff into teams. Let them meet separately. Then coordinate teams across the senior leadership team.
  • Do your best to make sure they are not alone. Engage your teams and volunteers intentionally.
  • Trust your team. Empower people you can't see.
  • Set goals. Measure for progress.
  • Tell your leaders not to be afraid to lead. Do what you think is right as you serve your church. Sometimes people just need permission to take action with specific direction.

What do your next 4-8 weeks look like strategically?

  • Stay connected with your community leaders. Balance the needs of the church with the leadership of government and community leaders.
  • Break your planning into phases. This will help you identify what you need today.
  • Evaluate and prioritize all commitments. Ask yourself: What are you going to keep, tweak, and throw away?
  • Make plans with an open hand. But don't wait until you have all the information to take action.
  • Learn and grow from all the resources available to you. This is your time as a leader to get ready for your next season of leadership.

How are you practicing self-care during this season of intense leadership?

  • You have to take care of your soul. No one else will do that for you.
  • Spend time with your spouse and family. They are experiencing this differently than you are.
  • Don't work all the time. The temptation will be there, but you need to disconnect.

The way you lead through this crisis will determine your credibility on the other side. If you sit back and wait for the details to be worked out, you'll lose significant leadership opportunities. We won't be in this situation forever, so lead where you are and get ready for what's next as it unfolds. This is an amazing opportunity for pastors to help their staff leaders, volunteer leaders, churches, and community in new and exciting ways. No one has experienced this before. So, be true to who you are as a leader, who your church is in your community and the people who live in your area.


To access more information on effectively leading through COVID-19, sign up for Giving365 (Horizons' free on-demand resource library) to begin receiving our “The Generosity Advantage” series. To access our carefully curated list of ministry resources to guide your decision-making and strategy during the Coronavirus outbreak and social distancing, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center. It is updated regularly.

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