Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Convictional Leadership

We live in a society that is essentially non-confrontational. Their motto appears to be “Live and let live—your beliefs are true for you, and my beliefs are true for me.” In application, opposite or conflicting beliefs cannot be all true, and as a result, the claim is that there is no absolute truth. Consequently, having no firm beliefs leads to little or no conviction in the heart.
  • Conviction produces passion in life.
  • Conviction produces clarity in life.
  • Conviction produces purpose in life.

    For example, without the conviction that the United States is vital to the world, few would be passionate about defending it. If you do not believe that good parenting is vital to your children, why care?

    However, heart conviction also leads to confrontation and conflict. Christian author and evangelist, Josh McDowell states, “When truth becomes real and relevant, it becomes a deep conviction.” Beliefs are what we live by; convictions are what we die for. Do you want to live life with passion, deep belief, clarity, and purpose? If so, your conviction can conflict with the beliefs of others. You will want to help your friends see the truth, and this often leads to confrontation.

    A dad I know was talking to his son about his faith. The son had adopted a different view on several important issues. Their conversations tended to end in conflict. The son asked, “Why can’t you just embrace what I believe?” The dad replied, “If I did, I would either have to disregard my convictions or stop caring about you. I will never stop loving you, so what do I do with my convictions?”

    Tough question. Some feel the answer is simply to embrace everyone’s beliefs. But, how can we when it comes to those we love? If your daughter joined a cult, would you not do whatever you could to rescue her? If your son believed that he did not want to face life without drugs, would you not try to intervene or at least pray diligently?

    I find the more deeply I love someone, the less tolerant I am of their harmful beliefs and lifestyle. Perhaps when we do not confront someone with truth it is a statement of our degree of love for them, more than a declaration of our open mindedness.

    This is also true in leadership. As a pastor and leader, I am often faced with this dilemma. With my convictions based on the Word, I am in constant struggle with conflict and confrontation. When beliefs collide, I want to help the person to see the harmfulness of their beliefs. Then, there is the feeling of many that if you stand firm on your convictions, you insult the beliefs of others. Therefore, you are a bigot or guilty of hatred. What can we do? Where do we find conviction? How can we confront without the conflict?

    Let me give you four insights.

     1. Where you get your deepest convictions reveal who is first in your life. If Jesus is your Lord, you must receive your convictions from the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16)

     2. Apply your convictions to everyday life. That does not merely mean politics, but must also apply to your personality, disposition, emotions, and ministry to others. When others see Jesus making a difference in your life, they will be more open to listening.

     3. When confronting, always do so with grace. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus came with grace and truth. Never sacrifice the truth. However, always be gracious. Seek to understand others. Share the truth in humility and love. Seek not just to get your point across, but to change the heart of the listener.

     4. Never compromise a biblical conviction.

    Having strong convictions is not popular today. While they ignite clarity, purpose, and passion, they can also be a source of great conflict. We must be certain our convictions are biblical and our confrontation is motivated by love.

    “Convictions fuel the passions that change the world.”

    Your thoughts?



  1. Great blog Pastor Mercer. It's a good topic for the church in our society today. I completely agree with all your points made. Continue to be a Pastor/leader who stands firm by his convictions and preaches sound doctrine. :)

  2. Thank you, Christell. It's a prevelege to be your and Joseph's pastor.