As with most things, 2020 was a very strange year for podcasting.
When the pandemic hit North America in March, almost every podcast saw a downward spike in downloads as people stayed home (nobody was driving as much).
While the market for some content disappeared, the desire to relevant content spiked. Almost as soon as the crisis hit, we pushed all of our Q2 episodes back later into the year and recorded a fresh batch of interviews with top leaders about how to respond the crisis.
The result led us (and the leaders we serve) in to the best year of our podcast.
While many of the top interviews were in response to certain time-stamped events, there are tons of interviews that you probably want to return to again and again for personal study or study with your team.
Enter this list.
Here are the conversations that helped you thrive the most in 2020, as measured by the total number of times you downloaded them.
In leadership, having the right conversations can be the difference between success and failure. That’s why podcasting continues to grow, even in a world of uncertainty.
At over 380 episodes now, it can be hard to wade through the crowd. So here’s a short cut to the best episodes of the last few years (note: there is no list for 2015):
THE TOP TEN OF 2020
And now, onto the podcasts you listened to most in 2020.
Each snippet below is just a brief introduction to the overall interview. Click on the links to read the full piece, and maybe bookmark or Evernote this post as a short guide to this year’s best episodes.
You can share it with your team for team discussion to see how you’re handling the top challenges church leaders are facing, or just keep it for personal reflection.
Subscribe to the podcast for free on your favorite platform. A new episode drops every Tuesday and twice at other random times during the month. Subscribers never miss one.
Ready for this year’s top ten?
Here we go….
1. CNLP 339: Tim Keller on How to Bring the Gospel to Post-Christian America, How He’d Preach Today if He was Starting Over Again, Why Founders Get Addicted to Their Churches and Why He Left Redeemer
Tim Keller is one of America’s most renowned preachers, authors and thought leaders. Tim talks about what NYC was like when he planted Redeemer Church in 1989, how the city’s changed, how the culture has changed and how his preaching has evolved.
He shares the approach he would take if he was preaching regularly today, why founders get addicted to their church, why he left Redeemer when he did, and offers profound insights into post-Christian America, how to reach it, and even talks through how he works through personal discouragement and disappointment.
2. CNLP 316: John Mark Comer on Secular Salvation, Post-Christian America and How to Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry from Your Life
John Mark Comer has become one of America’s foremost voices on post-Christian culture. In this interview, we talk about how the culture is changing, what salvation looks like when you remove religion and faith, and how leading a large church caused John Mark to embark on a radical re-orientation of his life, centered on the ruthless elimination of hurry.
3. CNLP 313: Francis Chan Clarifies What’s Next For Him, Talks About the Impact of Social Media on Real People, Apologizes for the Confusion, and Talks About the Future of the US Church
Francis Chan caused quite a stir when, in late 2019, he announced he was going back to Asia. Francis clarifies what he’s actually doing, talks about the impact social media controversy has on real people, apologizes for the confusion and talks transparently about the tension of living a public life where your words get misconstrued again and again.
Plus, Francis gives advice on how to use social media, what young leaders should think about, and talks about his hope for the US church.
4. CNLP 366: Gordon MacDonald on The View from 80, 15 Life and Leadership Lessons After Eight Decades on the Planet
To mark his 80th birthday, Gordon MacDonald took some time to write down the top leadership and life lessons he’s learned so far.
In this in-depth interview, Gordon unpacks all 15 lessons including avoiding the evils associated with institutional life, how to make sure you don’t cheat your family and close friends, overcoming doubt, obscurity and discouragement, reinventing your interior life every 7-10 years and learning how to ask penetrating questions that open people’s hearts.
5. CNLP 319: Craig Groeschel on What He’s Learning from His Performance Coach, How to Handle High Demand Leadership, and How to Avoid Entitlement in Leadership
In May 2019, Craig Groeschel started to experience anxiety. He hired a performance coach to help drill down on what was going on and shares his insights into what he’s learned so far and how he’s handling the growing demands of leadership.
Plus, Craig talks about how to avoid the pull of entitlement in leadership, how to stay approachable as you become more successful, and why your prayers should be more dangerous.
6. CNLP 322: James Emery White on Why He Shut Down Multisite, the Future of Digital Outreach and How to Grow Your Church Younger As the Leader Grows Older
In an age where many churches and businesses are opening locations, James Emery White decided to close all of his…and experienced the biggest growth they’ve had in years.
Jim explains why they did it, how it happened, why he’s investing so much in digital outreach and how to grow your church younger when you grow older as a leader.
7. CNLP 334: Mark Sayers on Leading Through the COVID Crisis, the Deconstruction of Consumer Christianity and Secular Salvation, and What the New World Might Look Like
Mark Sayers is one of the most profound thinkers and cultural commentators today.
In this interview, Mark explains how the current pandemic almost instantly deconstructed and threatened both consumer Christianity and secular salvation, he shares principles on how to lead through the COVID crisis, and offers some insight into what the new post-pandemic church and world might look like.
8. CNLP Bonus 21: Crisis Leadership. Special Panel on Best Practices for Crisis Leadership and Finding Hope with Jud Wilhite, Kevin Queen and Tricia Sciortino
What do you do when you’re leading in the biggest crisis in our lifetime? In this special episode of the podcast, Carey talks to Jud Wilhite, Kevin Queen and Tricia Sciortino about the best practices in crisis management, virtual teams and how to make decisions when things are changing constantly.
Together, the panel has led through deep recessions, tornadoes, career transitions and virtual teams. The team talks about no matter how uncertain and negative as things are, how to find both answers and hope.
9. CNLP 328: Mark Driscoll on the Challenges at Mars Hill, His Move to Phoenix, Launching a New Church, and Why Spiritual Warfare Matters
Mark Driscoll has been in ministry over half his life. In this interview, he talks about how he became a Christian, his call to ministry, what the last five years of his life have been like, and the impact of the opposition he faced leading Mars Hill.
Plus, we talk about spiritual warfare and why it matters.
10. CNLP 321: Chris Hodges and Brad Lomenick on the Incredible Rise of Church of the Highlands, Trends in Next Generation Leadership, and How Systems and Creativity Should Work Together
Chris Hodges was an unlikely church planter. After burning out at age 38, Chris found a renewed call and planted the Church Of the Highlands, which has become one of the largest and fastest growing churches in America.
Chris and Brad Lomenick talk about mentoring the next generation of leaders, what’s changing, and how systems and creativity can work together rather than compete with one another.
DON’T MISS OUT ON THE GOODBYE 2020 GIVEAWAY
Because of how difficult 2020 has been, I’m giving away a
- $500 Amazon Gift Card
- $100 Starbucks Gift Card
- Custom branded Yeti mug and
- 5 of my all-time favorite leadership books.
But the giveaway ENDS on New Year’s Eve at midnight, so move fast!
To enter the giveaway, just go to EverybodyHates2020.com and fill out the form.
Also, please be sure to share this giveaway with as many of your friends and coworkers as you can.
You can enter the giveaway here:
Is Your Favorite Missing?
Thanks again for all the support and encouragement. My listeners are the most amazing people.
And thank you for over 1,300+ reviews on Apple Podcasts today, and for sharing the message with fellow leaders and friends.
In the meantime, any 2020 personal faves that didn’t make it into this list?
Scroll down and leave a comment.