The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler

Recommended Reading

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Al Mohler is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, author, blogger, and conference speaker.  He addresses his readers with the supposition that they hold to a high view of God and to the Scriptures.  The Conviction to Lead is not a verse-by-verse Bible Study on leadership but 25 principles leaders should apply in the 21st century.  He underscores the importance that for a leader to lead with conviction, he must maintain godly character, secure credibility, and exemplify moral virtues as he employs the media and the digital world.

Conviction is the driving force for an effective leader, “Convictions are not merely beliefs we hold; they are those beliefs that hold us in their grip” (21).  And for Christians, leadership must flow from “distinctively Christian conviction” (19).  A Christian leader with biblical convictions will develop “mental habits that are consistent with biblical truth” (34).  Leading by conviction and “emotional intelligence” (being able to connect with others, 31) are key facets for effective leaders.

Convictional leaders are prominent participants in a narrative story because every organization that has a leader has a story (39).  Christian leaders are part of a biblical “metanarrative” involving the glory of God and the salvation of sinners (40-41).  They are exhorted to find their “identity and meaning in this story and in no other story” (41).  Every Christian leader, whether in a secular or Christian environment, is accountable to the biblical story of grace and redemption (42).  And a biblical vision with passion draws passionate followers and builds a passionate movement (51-57).

To lead with conviction, a leader faces the facts of reality and does not deny when danger is rising on the horizon (61).  He lives in the truth, demands to be told the truth, and is a truth teller (62).

Mohler underscores that a leader must possess godly character, competence, and the “know how” in a given situation (83-89).  He earns credibility through godly character, educational preparedness/credentials, and experience (85-86).

Leaders with conviction are constant learners who are always reading worthwhile material critically and with understanding.  Mohler offers suggestions for how leaders are to read, what to read, and when to read (101-06).

Power and responsibility in leadership is kept in check by accountability (trustees, stock holders, elders, congregation) (112).  Being a God glorifying steward of power will be the moral challenge of every leader (113).   The author reminds the reader that leadership is a stewardship that is to honor God and can be taken away by God.  No leader but God is sovereign (133-35).

Leaders manage people by conviction (121) and speak with ethos (character), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic) (127).  The author supplies eight guidelines that he found to make speaking easier and productive (128-30).

A leader’s term will expire (if for no other reason than on account of death!) (207).  But a leader cannot be a quitter.  A pastor cannot be a quitter.  Neither the prophets nor Jesus nor the apostles were quitters.  Mohler calls “leadership an endurance test that will demand the best of anyone” (194).

The author recognizes that God is the author of truth (45, 63).  It is important, however, that readers understand that not all things that are called truth today are truth, but may only be the faulty conclusion of an observation.  The results of research today deemed as true may be found false later when further information is discovered.  For instance, some believed it was true that the sun rotated around the earth and that the earth was flat.  The only certainty we have is that everything the Bible says is true (John 17:17).

Having read this publication twice within two months, I highly recommend it.  Astute leaders will buy, READ, and apply the principles taught in The Conviction to Lead.  Afterward they will place it on their bookshelves for easy access next to their copy of Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders.