Book Notes: “The Conviction to Lead” by Al Mohler

Albert Mohler. Conviction to Lead, The: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters, Bethany House, 2012

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Mohler aims high: “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 practiced.” In this work, Mohler describes how firm, unflinching conviction in the truth is the one non-negotiable in leadership. Each chapter details how it manifests itself in a variety of ways.

Here’s a few ways I benefited from the book:

A different foundation. There’s a fundamental difference between Mohler’s “convictional” leadership and normal leadership as popularly understood, and it has to do with the foundation of leadership. Modern leadership is built around technique;  convictional leadership is built upon truth. According the Mohler, leadership doesn’t exist until someone is absolutely convinced of truth and draws in others around and toward his cause.

A clear definition. I like his definition of leadership: “Remember that leadership is conviction transformed into united action” (201). What you believe drives what you do, and how you bring people along with you, and what you call them to.

Hope for everyone. At several points in the book he tells his readers not to assume that leadership is something only the lucky few are born with. Conviction is something that can be developed. And it’s simple. Disappointingly simple, to those who are looking for a quicker way to do it. The ordinary means of grace build conviction. “Convictional intelligence comes by what we rightly call the ordinary means of grace” (36).

The concept of convictional intelligence. Convictional intelligence comes from developing habits that are aligned with the truth. They are established when one  girds himself in God’s truth and is trained to function accordingly. There are no short cuts to develop this; they grow in the soil of committed study and everyday faithfulness.

Realistic about social media. Has an entire chapter devoting to the digital world, which, he contends, is very much a part of our real world. Leaders are encouraged to blog, tweet, and be on Facebook.

Insight into an interesting man. In the middle of this book I told my brother-in-law that Al Mohler is the real deal. And that was before I got to the section where he describes his fascination with cemeteries (not seminaries!), his love for the ticking of clocks, and how his writing desk has nothing on it except a life-like replica of a human skull.

It’s the best leadership book I’ve ever read, and from the reviews it’s getting, many others feel the same. I recommend it for any Christian who is compelled to lead in any kind of organization or ministry.

 

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