Most church leaders will claim they have a conviction to develop leaders and a conviction for biblical community—to help people grow together in community. But it is one thing to say you have certain convictions and quite another to display those convictions in your everyday leadership. If something is a conviction in ministry, you cannot imagine ministry without it.
So how can you tell what your convictions really are? Here are three ways:
Where you spend your time
You invest time in what matters to you. For example, if a husband claims to have a conviction for pursing his wife but never takes her on a date, the husband doesn’t really hold that conviction. Not really. In church ministry, there are many expressed convictions that time reveals are not really convictions:
- In the research behind Transformational Groups, we discovered that while most leaders claim to value groups, they spend very little time thinking strategically about biblical community, communicating its necessity with passion, and inviting people to participate. The “time test” reveals that most church leaders care exponentially and disproportionately more about the weekend worship services.
- LifeWay Research conducted a study about leadership development and found that only 25% of church leaders claim to spend time designing a plan to develop leaders. Yet most say they value equipping leaders.
If leadership development and biblical community are true convictions you hold, you invest time in those areas of ministry. Look at your calendar and learn the truth.
Where you invest your money
Many preachers accurately preach and declare, “If you want to know what is important to you, look where you spend your money.” Some should look at their budgets and listen to their own sermons. For example, if you preach that “buildings don’t reach people, people do,” does your budget reflect this? If you preach that community is essential, how does your budget match your sermons? If something is really a conviction, you fund it. Evaluate your funding in light of your expressed convictions. How do they compare?
What you talk about
We talk about what we are passionate about—the candidate we believe is the best for this season, the team we are convinced will win the championship, the new idea we believe will change the world. A conviction will come out of your mouth. You will grow weary of holding it in; indeed you cannot. If you want to know if something really is a conviction, audit your message, your staff meeting notes, your leadership training talks. What have you been talking about over and over again? Those are your true convictions.