Yesterday I published a radioactive post entitled, The Myth of Christian Leadership. In it, I present an understanding of leadership that turns the sod on the subject.
(You may want to check it out after reading this post.)
That brings me to Al Mohler’s new book, Conviction to Lead.
Mohler opens the book with this bold claim:
“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.”
So I was then expecting a radical new paradigm for leadership in the following pages.
Was Mohler going to present the idea that the quest for leadership is vanity and that the NT instead encourages followership?
What he going to pull a Len Sweet and only anoint the word “Leader” for Jesus Christ alone?
Was he going to take dead aim at the clergy-laity “caste system” and point out that all Christians are priests, ministers, and “leaders”?
Was he going to argue that leadership simply is and the NT doesn’t emphasize it much at all?
Instead, Al Mohler makes the following proposition.
He says that there are two kinds of Christians. One he calls “Believers” and the other he calls “Leaders.”
Mohler’s thesis is that Believers have tremendous convictions and they are passionate about those convictions. But they have never given much thought to the subject of leadership and/or they are not prepared to lead.
Leaders, on the other hand, know how to lead well and they are jazzed about leadership and leading. But many of them don’t know what they believe. Their great need is to have convictions.
Mohler’s goal is to “make Believers into Leaders and Leaders into Believers.”
In other words, he wants all Christians to lead and he wants all leaders to have convictions.
I was delighted to see the first part of his thesis. That all believers are called to lead. A point I’ve been hammering away for many years and which has gotten sufficient push back.
That particular idea IS radical. And it DOES redefine leadership. And now I can say that Al Mohler agrees with me on it!
The second part . . . that many leaders are weak on conviction, not knowing what they believe. . . is, well . . . interesting.
Al Mohler has lived longer than I have and he has possibly met more people than me. So I trust the fact that he’s met strong and influential leaders who didn’t know what they believed and were weak in the conviction department.
But I personally have never met one.
Every leader who has any sizeable influence – in my experience and observation, anyway – has had tremendous convictions about something. And those convictions fueled their leadership.
In some cases, their convictions were challenged by others. But all of them had convictions they were passionate about.
That said, I would actually be interested to meet a leader with considerable influence/following who has weak convictions or “doesn’t know what they believe.” Because I find the idea remarkable.
Even so, I take Mohler’s word that such people exist.
Here are my impressions and reactions to the book:
- Like other leadership works – say, Michael Hyatt, Seth Godin, John Maxwell, et. al – Mohler provides great insight into various aspects of leadership.
- Many of Mohler’s observations are practical and up-to-date. He has a whole section on leading in social media and the Internet, for example.
- Mohler is viewed as a respected leader in his circles, so he’s not writing as an arm-chair philosopher. I always respect a book when the author is writing from experience rather than from bloodless theory. So Kudos to Al Mohler on that front.
- The book is published by Bethany House, which surprised me. Bethany House isn’t one of the “big boys” – like Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, David C. Cook, Zondervan, Faith Words, Dutton – but I have many titles by them (some of which are by Arminians. Think Charles Finney). So it was nice to see someone as well-known as Mohler going with them.
- Mohler’s writing style is accessible and easy to digest.
I’d recommend this book as a nice primer on leadership for anyone who is interested in the subject. This would include people who are in the business world. The principles Mohler sketches out aren’t just for Christians, though he recontextualizes them for a Christian audience.
This post is part of the sponsored Patheos Book Club.
See also Joel J. Miller on Preparing Our Hearts for the Birth of Christ