10 Imperatives When Teaching to Change Lives

I recently read the book, Teaching to Change Lives: Seven Proven Ways to Make Your Teaching Come Alive by Dr. Howard Hendricks.

 10 Imperatives When Teaching to Change Lives

Photo Credit: Thomas Galvez

In today’s post I share 10 of the most important principles Dr. Hendricks shares in his book as they relate to teaching to change lives.

  1. “If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow” (p. 17).
    A teacher cannot communicate from a vacuum; he teaches from the overflow of his life. Because of this I realize that I need to keep growing and keep learning. I need to always be reading, listening to others, and reflecting on my thoughts as a way to keep growing today so that I can teach tomorrow.
  2. “The way people learn determines how you teach” (p. 37).
    There should be a focus on the student and how he learns. Because teaching is about the student and the change in his life, I think Dr. Hendricks has sold me on the fact that I need to focus on the person I teach and teach in a way that matches his learning style.
  3. “Maximum learning is always the result of maximum involvement” (p. 53).
    This principle is very important for a teacher as long as the activity is meaningful to the student. This principle is important because there are a lot of people who learn through touch, common sense, and real world experiences. They need to be able to do something in order to learn.
  4. “To truly impart information requires the building of bridges” (p. 68).
    Learning this is important for me because it is vital that I understand how people feel. When communicating and teaching I need to know which emotions people have now and how they might react based on what I say.
  5. “Teaching that impacts is not head to head, but heart to heart” (p. 81).
    This is because people have seen plenty of teachers who have had poor integrity. The student wants to know how much I care as a teacher and if I am really doing what I say I am doing.
  6. “Teaching tends to be the most effective when the learner is properly motivated” (p. 94).
    Creating motivation in a student is always a part of my introduction when teaching. I try to share what I am going to talk about and then explain how it will relate to and be important in the life of the student.
  7. “The teaching-learning process will be most effective when both student and teacher are adequately prepared” (p. 109).
    This can be as simple as providing homework of a passage of Scripture to read or answering some self-reflection questions sometime during the week before Sunday school class.
  8. In his book Dr. Hendricks provides a list of three things to do in order to improve someone’s intellectual dimension.
    Those are: 1) Maintain a consistent study and reading program; 2) Enroll in continuing education courses; and 3) Get to know your students (pp.25-27). The first two of these steps I am already doing while in seminary, but the final is something I will need to implement with my students. For that step I plan to arrive to my Sunday school class early every day to class and will not leave until all of them have had a chance to talk with me after class.
  9. “What you are is far more than what you say or do. God’s method is always incarnational. He loves to take his truth and wrap it in a person” (pp. 71-72).
    Because of this I know that I must continually work to be sanctified and represent God as a loving, kind, encouraging person to others.
  10. “God wants to communicate with us, and he has written his message in a book that contains everything we need to know now and for eternity. This is our given, this is our message” (pp. 87-88).
    This statement greatly encourages me to teach the Bible. Even though it is easy to get busy with work, family, and life, this statement encourages me to teach God’s Word.

Question: How do you teach to change lives in your work?

By Christopher L. Scott

Christopher L. Scott serves as senior pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington. Through his writing ministry more than 250,000 copies of his articles, devotions, and tracts are distributed each month through Christian publishers. Learn more at