Book Review: Conviction To Lead
Leadership is serious and difficult business. One of the reasons leadership is difficult and serious business is that it requires conviction. Knowing the seriousness of leadership and its difficulty, Dr. Albert Mohler wrote The Conviction To Lead 25 Principles For Leadership That Matters. Dr. Mohler knows all too well the struggles of leadership because as the youngest president in the 153 year history of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary he faced them and overcame them by rebuilding and restoring one of the best seminaries in the world. Dr. Mohler began his leadership of Southern in the midst of a time when the seminary was turning liberal. Under his leadership, Dr. Mohler turned the seminary from liberalism to become a bastion for conservative evangelical theology. When Dr. Mohler writes on leadership (or on any other topic) people pay attention because he is a man of passionate conviction for the Truth of God’s Word, and for the advancement of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dr. Mohler is very upfront about his goal in this book, “Let me warn you right up front—my goal is to change the way you think about leadership. I do not aim merely to add one more voice to the conversation, I want to fundamentally change the way leadership is understood and practiced” (15).
Before (and after) seminary I spend a considerable amount of time reading leadership books and even attending several leadership conferences. One of the things that bothers me about the contemporary leadership movement is the lack of biblical teaching in books and teaching on leadership, which is why I’m thankful for this new book.
Before I even read or heard that Dr. Mohler was writing a book on convictional leadership, I believed that leadership required conviction. The New Testament makes it clear that the Apostles were driven by what they believed about Jesus death, burial and resurrection. For the Apostles, like for all Christians of all time, conviction matters because it explains what we are driven by.
Dr. Mohler’s claim that he wants to “fundamentally change the way leadership is understood” (13) may seem like a bold claim, but it may shock you even more that he accomplishes his goal. Not only may it shock you that Dr. Mohler accomplishes his goal, but when one considers the depth and range he considers in this book it becomes apparent that this is truly a groundbreaking book that will in all honesty become the standard on Christian leadership for generations to come.
By undertaking to fundamentally change the way we think about leadership the author grounds his exploration on leadership in the truthfulness of the Bible. Dr. Mohler explains that “the starting point for Christian leadership is not the leader but the eternal truths that God has revealed to us—the truths that allow the world to make sense frame our understandings, and propel us to action” (27). Convictional intelligence is the “product of learning the Christian faith, diving into biblical truth, and discovering to think like a Christian” (31).
One thing I appreciate about Dr. Mohler’s writing is that it is always grounded in the Word of God and then seeks to examine “why” the topic is important to Christian life and ministry. Not only is this treatment on leadership grounded in the Bible but it also shows how the Gospel relates to leadership. This book is written not just for the Pastor, seminarian or ministry leader in mind but for all Christian leaders. The author writes, “I want to see a generation arise that is simultaneously leading with conviction and driven by the conviction to lead. The generation that accomplishes this will set the world on fire” (20). Leaders understand that leadership is a trust not to be held onto tightly or manipulated but stewarded well and passed on. Dr. Mohler rightly understands that any truly Christian understanding of leadership begins with serving others well to the glory of God, for the purpose of depositing the Truth of God not only into the present but also into the future. This is precisely why the Apostle Paul mentored Timothy and Titus through the Pastoral Epistles, and why Dr. Mohler wrote this book, to help Christians think through leadership in a biblical-theological way that will help them to make much of Jesus in whatever field they find themselves employed in.
The Conviction to Lead accomplishes its robust goal of redefining the conversation on leadership by setting forth not only what the Bible teaches about leadership but also why Christian leadership matters in the first place. Christian leaders are needed today inside and outside the Church more than ever, which is why I’m pleased to heartily recommend Dr. Mohler’s newest book The Conviction to Lead to you, and pray that it will bless you as it has blessed me with a greater understanding of what it means to be a leader to the glory of God. Whatever your station in life this book will serve you well by instructing you about what the Bible teaches about leadership and point you to our great God and Chief Shepherd—Jesus Christ.
Author: Albert Mohler
Publisher: Bethany House (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”