Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Conviction To Lead - By Albert Mohler

 Today, so many good ministries of conviction try to get you to support the teaching ministry of so-and-so in such a way as if the truth of God's Word will die unless the particular personality of that ministry/leadership of so-and- so survives.  Mohler's work is a 'breath of fresh air', so to speak, in the seemingly ever present Déjà vu era of "I am of Paul, I am of Apollos…Calvin, Arminius,…etc." Mohler's premise is that,  "There are no indispensable people, only indispensable convictions."  Truth will not die in the death of its teacher.   Even if so-and-so's particular ministry does not survive, eternal truths that they spread, even if only in the hearts of a few, will survive, regardless of the ministries demise.  God chooses by what means His truth will be spread and He may choose to end particular ministries and simply spread the truth by individuals transformed by the truths that they taught.  As the author states, "A legacy is what is left in the wake of a great leader…. The plans and visions of the leader will be outdated soon after his burial…what matters is that convictions survive…The wise leader does not try to perpetuate matters of style or taste, or even plans and programs.  The leader who aims at legacy aims to perpetuate conviction….In truth, there are no indispensable people, only indispensable convictions.  The convictions came before us and will last when we are gone.  Truth endures when nothing else can…."

Mohler delves into the many essentials of leading, all with the basis of conviction:  Leading  through communication,  teaching, repetition, thinking, teaching your followers how to think, setting the example, writing, managing well...etc.  Keeping in mind that time is short; remembering that your leadership position is God-given and that you are actually a steward accountable to Him.  He notes that "The Christian leader must have mental reflexes that correspond to biblical truth.  When something happens or an issue arises, the leader's mind must engage the right intellectual reflex.  Once the reflex is engaged, the process of the thought is already far down the road.  If the reflex is wrong, the leader is in danger - and so are all those he leads."
One of the things Mohler points out  is that leadership is not merely having 'knowledge'.   "Knowledge is fundamental, but convictional intelligence is not merely knowledge.  If this were the case, all the leader would need is a comprehensive and biblical encyclopedia close at hand.  This raises the issue of how leaders actual lead:  They make decisions and chart a direction….He [God] gave us the ability to process that knowledge and exercise reason.  He even gave us the ability to think about thinking.  But as the leader exercises the role of leadership, that thinking must be translated into something more automatic, something that does not require a constant process of thinking and rethinking everything the leader knows.  IF that sounds complicated, just consider how you awoke, got dressed and started your morning.  By now most of the actions you took have been forgotten….  You did not have to look for the kitchen because you did not have to think about how to get there…..Why?  Your intelligence was at work in all of those actions, but you were primarily operating out of habit, reflex, and intuition - three realities that point to the need for convictional intelligence....  If we had to rethink how to tie our shoes every morning, we would never get anything else done.  Much of our lives is lived out of habits of action, and most of these habits never rise to our active consciousness….We all know that we have habits of action, but we also operate out of habits of mind.  We did intellectual ruts that our minds grow accustomed to following."

One of the ways he brings up to help exercise and build mental reflexes is reading books and reading them critically.  The most important book for us to read is the Bible, and of course, critical reading reverses when you come to the Scriptures, the critical eye and thought must be applied to oneself and ones thoughts and not the word of God. The Word of God is the critique of us.   As Mohler writes, "Think of reading like you think of eating.  In other words, pay attention to your diet.  For the Christian, the highest reading priority is the Word of God.  Our spiritual maturity will never exceed our knowledge of the Bible." We Christians get our convictions from God's Word.  And "Until conviction is transformed into action it makes no difference in the world."

I thought this book was very 'gripping', perhaps more so because my dad(a pastor/leader)has already been talking about a lot of these things, and its neat to get a repeat of them in this book. This book is a good shove in the right direction.  I'll end my review, as I usually do, with one last quote from the book(though I could put in several more):  "Every leader needs to know the reality that we will die one day and that others will take our place.  Hopefully, these new leaders will bring talents and abilities and vision greater than our own.  Our greatest concern, however, is that they come with a wealth of convictions. Otherwise, all that we build can be turned against the very truths we have championed."

Thanks To Bethany House Publishers for sending me a free copy of this book to review! (My review did not have to be favorable)

One of the places where this book may be purchased is at Amazon.com

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