The Top 5 Podcast Episodes of 2014 (And What You Might Not Know About Them)

If you’re not yet into podcasts, changing that could make you a better leader almost instantly.

I don’t know about you, but my passion for uninterrupted, quality conversations continues to grow. And that’s what podcasting delivers better than any other medium today.

Podcasting made a huge surge forward in 2014…and I’m with those who think podcasting will supplant traditional radio in the same way that Netflix and other on-demand services are beginning to rival traditional television. (Click here for insights on what Netflix is teaching the church about the future.)

Within a few years, pretty much any car you buy will have a built in podcast app. But even right now, it’s so easy to listen to podcasts right off your smart phone will driving, working out, cooking dinner or working around the house.

I was a big fan of podcasts long before I launched my own podcast in September 2014, but needless to say, it was extremely exciting to finally launch a podcast personally in the third quarter of 2014.

To get free access to every interview I’ve done with top leaders, just subscribe to my leadership podcast for free on iTunesStitcher or TuneIn Radio.

So, as new as my podcast is (15 episodes and counting), here are the top 5 podcast episodes of 2014. I’ll also include some random facts or insights you might not know about each episode.

top 5 podcast of 2014

The Top 5

So what’s the methodology for cataloguing the top 5? It’s a combination based on downloads, show note links, comments and social media reaction.

The reason straight math doesn’t work is because podcast listens increase with time….the longer an episode is live, the more it gets listened to.

So combining the math and a few other factors, here are the top 5.

# 1. Episode 1: Andy Stanley — How Andy Stanley Keeps Growing As a Leader, Why North Point Became So Big & More.

Andy’s episode is the most downloaded episode to date, and it’s chalk full of amazing insights and suggest.

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Show Notes

So what surprising thing can I share about Andy’s episode? This:

Andy came hyper-prepared.

I always send guests the questions in advance. Andy had not only read them…he made notes.  It blew me away that one of the busiest and most sought-after leaders in ministry today took the time to prepare for a start-up podcast which at the time had zero listeners (he was Episode 1 after all).

In all likelihood, this explains why he is one of the most sought after leaders in the church today.

# 2.  Episode 2: Perry Noble — How Perry Noble Hit Rock Bottom While Pastoring One of America’s Biggest Churches, and How He Battled Back.

This is the second most downloaded episode so far, but Perry’s episode has the distinction of having the most-read show notes to date.

No wonder the show notes have been so popular; Perry and his team paired up with me to provide an incredible list of resources to help leaders who are struggling with feeling overwhelmed, depressed or even suicidal.

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Show Notes

Two things stood out to me while doing this episode.

1. How utterly transparent Perry was. I think it’s impossible to listen to this episode without being blown away by how honest, transparent and vulnerable Perry was.

2. How helpful Perry and his team were. When we wrapped up the interview, we talked about developing some resources for listeners. He had a massive list to me within the hour. He’s just first class that way!

# 3. Episode 4: Kara Powell — Why Young Adults Are Walking Away From the Church—And What You Can Do About It.

Kara’s episode not only generated a good amount of downloads, it set off a ton of social media response, and generated a lot of movement toward the show notes, earning it the #3 spot.

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Show Notes

So what might you not know about Kara Powell?

I think her effectiveness as a leader comes as much from her commitment as a mom and volunteer as it does her academic research.

Listen to the interview again if you can. Kara’s PhD and impeccable research skills are impressive. But it’s her commitment to kids as a mom and volunteer that I think connects so deeply with people and makes her research so easy to digest.

Think about that in your own leadership. As smart as you might be, people connect with your heart and passion. And it’s your heart and passion that God uses over and over again.


#4. Episode 8: Rich Birch — Are Contemporary Churches Losing Their Edge in a Changing Culture?

Response to the show notes and downloads pushed Rich’s interview into the Top 5.

Plus, I think you’ll agree Rich’s analysis of the contemporary church will leave a lot of heads spinning from the number of insights he shares in 40 minutes.

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Show Notes

What stands out about Rich?

Rich has never been a lead pastor, but he’s always been a leader. Rich worked on our staff for a couple years, and whether he worked with us or with The Meeting House in Toronto or where he is currently at Liquid Church in New Jersey, Rich has always been a standout leader.

His influence rests less on position or title, and far more on what he brings to the table. Which is why I think so many read his blog and listen to his podcast.

You don’t need to be the #1 leader to lead, or to even be a leading influence.

#5. Episode 10: Ron Edmondson — How to Rapidly Navigate Change in a In A Traditional Church Context

Adding the show note response and downloads together moves Ron into the Top 5 for 2014.

I think what connected with so many listeners is Ron’s context: he’s simply trying to do what most church leaders are doing—transitioning a traditional church.

While we love to go to conferences put on by  church planters and read books by people whose churches grew from zero to 1000 in 60 days, the reality is most leaders are trying to turn around churches stuck somewhere in the past.

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Show Notes

What stood out about Ron? The fact that God is using him to actually turn around a church that was in decline.

And the fact that he has met with success almost everywhere he has been in leadership: in politics, church plants, and now transitioning churches. As a good friend of mine says, success leaves clues. I think I’ll have Ron back in 2015 to see what his top leadership insights are over the years.

You can read his blog here. He’s definitely worth the follow.

Thank You!

My podcast debuted at #1 in iTunes in September and still regularly makes its way into the Top 50 Christian podcasts thanks to you! Just over three months in, the podcast has already pushed past 80,000 downloads.

If it’s helped you, could you take a minute to rate it on iTunesStitcher or TuneIn Radio? Your rating not only gives me feedback, but it gets the podcast in front of other leaders.

I’m blown away by how generous you’ve been and so grateful for all the positive feedback so far.

Hopefully it’s helping you lead like never before!

What About You?

So that’s the list!

The only thing I dislike about Top 5 or Top 10 lists is that quite honestly, every single interview I’ve done has helped me become a better leader personally. I can’t believe I get to talk to leaders of the caliber I get to feature on the show. I feel like I should list them all.

I’m seriously proud of every leader that’s been on the podcast, and stoked about the dozens of interviews already in cue for 2015.

Before we go….I’m curious, which episode helped you the most and why?

Scroll down and leave a comment!

The Top 5 Podcast Episodes of 2014 (And What You Might Not Know About Them)


  1. […] that spirit, I’ve already shared my Top 10 Posts of 2014 and the Top 5 Podcasts from my new leadership podcast. Here are a few other lists worth checking out from Brian Dodd, Thom […]

  2. Chuck on December 30, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    These things are like M&Ms… can’t stop at just one. But seriously, #s 4,7 and 13 all reduced me to tears and gave me lots of things to consider about how I minister through community both at church and at work.

    Forced to choose one, it’s Kara Powell by a nose. That “unexpressed doubt” discussion has probably changed how i teach, forever.

    My specific comments on each of the specific podcast pages tell the stories of why.

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