Albert Mohler. The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2012. 224 pp. $22.99.
Church and Ministry
A book on leadership requires a credible author, one who adeptly leads and weathers tumultuous times. Albert Mohler is one such leader. He entered the presidency at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in tumultuous times and navigated a course to calmer waters. Mohler possesses the character and credibility — two leadership principles you will discover — necessary to write on this subject.
Altogether readers will learn 25 essential leadership principles from his book, The Conviction to Lead. These principles cover topics such as narrative, thinking, teaching, character, communication, use of power, and many more.
But you will get more than 25 principles in The Conviction to Lead. You will hear the narrative of SBTS, an autobiography of a leader, and precious insights into how that leader thinks and operates. Benefits of this book are as anecdotal as the atmosphere and time Mohler writes or as penetrating as his views on what cripples leadership and the essential characteristics of leaders. These insights from Al Mohler are rich and sweeping.
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
There are a lot of leadership books. So what sets this one apart? Well, if you’re a pastor, reading Drucker and Lencioni will be valuable for your sharpening, and you should read from them or at minimum listen to the audio. But gleaning leadership principles from a distinctly Christian worldview by a distinctly Christian leader has incalculable value, especially for us pastors. We want wisdom from one of our own, who understands our unique obstacles.
I’ve read Maxwell, Hybels, Stanley and other Christian leaders during the last dozen years of leadership aspiration. These leaders have done excellent exploration in Christian leadership. Yet, I think it is fair to say that these leaders wrote with organizational success in mind and so orient leaders in this cosmological (cause/effect) and teleological (completion/result/perfection) direction.
The Conviction to Lead obviously addresses these ends but its foundation is ontological. With purpose in mind, Mohler sagaciously builds his principles around two critical aspects of leadership, which serve as the rudder and bow: conviction and legacy. He then consecutively orders his principles from what flows out of conviction and what leads towards legacy.
Conviction is the rudder steering every decision. Your leadership journey shipwrecks apart from conviction. It appears to be a small component but has big implications. Leadership begins with conviction and is indelibly linked to it. Mohler makes this apparent.
He distinguishes his view of leadership as convictional; leadership that is gripped by beliefs of which we are convinced. This is the fundamental driver of leadership. Convictional leaders possess high levels of what Mohler describes as convictional intelligence. “Convictional intelligence is the product of learning the Christ faith, diving deeply into biblical truth, and discovering how to think like a Christian.” Thus, the convictions that steer your leadership are built on who God is and what God has revealed; they are built on your Christian worldview.
The bow of leadership is your legacy. It is that prominent first thing people remember about leaders. They see it develop, and they anticipate what it will look like based on convictional decisions the leader makes now. The wake it cuts will be left behind for others.
These to landmark components of leadership book-end all the principles found within The Conviction to Lead. This is what makes Mohler’s book so beneficial: the right purpose leading to the best end.
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By
Hopefully, your legacy will last longer than a wake. Pray it will blaze a trail for others to faithfully follow. So pastor, take the first step toward developing a lasting legacy by reading The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler.