Leading and influencing teachers toward change

by Ross Ramsey

I once heard David Francis tell a group of educators that you basically have two currencies you can use to lead and influence your teachers toward change:

  • The relational currency
  • The competency currency

You neglect either of these two and over time you will sever the tap root of your ability to influence.

As educators, we are in the business of influence and if you are not making deposits in those two areas it is just a matter of time before you will begin to see your influence erode.

Put simply, as an educator in a church you are in the business of influence. Everything that you do on some level is tethered back to this reality. In this article, I want to reflect on the four lessons that I have learned in regards to building equity with your teachers with the expressed purpose of influencing them toward change:

1. The power of true encouragement. I pray all the time that God will give me real opportunities to encourage my teachers in things that they are doing well and in areas that they need help. Recently, I was doing a study through the book of Acts and I was taken aback by the critical role that Barnabas played in the early church with key leaders. It was almost like God placed him at the right place at the right time just to encourage key leaders and churches at critical moments in their mission for God. Encouragement is such a simple yet profound way to tangibly love your teachers.

2. I'm seeing the decreasing effectiveness of large group teacher's meeting at influencing people toward change. Over the last few years, I have slowly moved away from a once a month large group teacher's meeting to more of a coaching model. This approach is where I meet with one or two teachers at a time for instruction, accountability and prayer. Since employing this approach I have seen a drastic difference in my relationship to my teachers and in their internalization and implementation of change.

3. I have taken my budgeted money for personal conferences and instead of using it on myself I have decided to find a conference that is close by and take some key teachers and their apprentices to a training opportunity. The windshield time and the instruction from a third party are invaluable. I reserve this money and time for those teachers that are catalytic and I believe are making an impact. This used to be the way they did it years ago; however, we have lost the art of taking people to training. John Maxwell once said, "When you equip followers you add to the church, when you equip leaders you multiply the church." It is the best investment you will make with God's money.

4. Call two teachers a week on the phone and ask them how you can specifically pray for them and then actually allow them to hear you pray for them. If you get their answering machine, leave the prayer on the machine. In the process of doing this I have discovered all kinds of things about my teachers. One teacher opened up to my about his struggle with pornography. This practice afforded me the opportunity to come along side him and walk with him through this situation. This simple yet profound discipline will do two things: it will engender the hearts of your teachers toward you and your heart towards them. I have found in our work there are so many opportunities for relational toxins to fill in the gaps of our interactions that this discipline can go along ways to reducing those moments of offense and misunderstandings.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas at garnering favor with your teachers/leaders with the expressed purpose of loving them and leading them toward healthy kingdom impacting groups.

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