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Becoming a Person of Influence: Introduction

by John Maxwell and Jim Dornan

A Pastor-to-Teacher Study

Good Questions by Josh Hunt


This course is based on a few assumptions you might want to be aware of. First, I am assuming that the class is made up primarily of teachers, though not exclusively so. I could never make weekly workers meetings work. What I did make work was a series of classes, one after another designed to improve the skill of teachers. We meet in the same room at the same time every week, but from the view point of the teacher, these were a series of classes. This is one such course. Everyone who wants to could come, but teachers would be specifically invited. You might try a similar approach. I hope to write 3 - 5 courses a year for you to choose from. Some of these would be specifically on "how to teach" while others, like this one, would have a more general appeal.

If you take this approach, I don't recommend you do all the teaching. For one thing you are busy and don't need something else to do. Further, there should be a room full of teachers who would almost always rather teach than listen. Thus is the wiring of a teacher. There are some other benefits to this approach. The teachers will stretch to a higher level knowing they are teaching their pastor and fellow teachers. The group will learn from the variation of styles of the various teachers. Your presence as pastor is important. You multiply your influence by sitting in the room and participating. It communicates volumes about what you think is important.

I will assume that most of the group will purchase and read the book week by week. I will assume they will have the book in hand and can turn to a particular page. I assume that this week will start with introductions and no one will have read, but the following week many will have reach chapter one.

I assume that you and your group feel congruent with the goals of 2020 Vision. My goal is to help my denomination and others to grow. I want to help my denomination (Southern Baptists) reach 20 million in Sunday School attendance by the year 2020. I want to see other denominations grow as well so that the overall church in America doubles over the next 20 years. I want to help people to enjoy God. I want to start 20,000 churches that meet on Saturday night and never own a building. I want to help existing churches with the burden of building costs. I don't think we can achieve the goals above unless we learn to use our buildings more than once. I believe everything rises and falls on leadership. We need to be better leaders. That is why I write Virtual.Seminary lessons. We need to train better leaders. That is why I write these lessons.




  1. Look at the list on page one. What do these people have in common?
  2. The authors begin the chapter by saying, "Everyone has influence." If everyone has influence, why bother to take a semester studying how we can become people of influence?
  3. The authors teach that our influence is not the same with everyone. Who is an example of someone you have great influence with right now?
  4. Who is someone you might like to influence by don't have much influence with right now?
  5. The foundational level of influence is modeling. One or two of you share some people who have influenced you by the sheer power of their model. You may not have known them at all, but their example moved you. Anyone have a story to tell along these lines?
  6. In the New Testament, Paul said, "Follow me as I follow Christ." Would you feel comfortable saying that?
  7. Some say people will follow us whether we want them to or not. Do you agree? Can we say to people, "Don't follow me; follow Christ"?(1)
  8. The second level is motivating. Who is an example of this in your life? Who has motivated you to serve Christ?
  9. Who have you motivated to serve Christ? Who is serving Christ today because of your influence?
  10. The third level is mentoring. What is mentoring? What is involved in mentoring? How is it different from motivating?
  11. The last level is multiplication. Does anyone know a verse in the Bible that speaks to this?(2)
  12. Let's talk about influence. Why is this study important?
  13. Why have you come to this study? How do you want to benefit from this study?
  14. Why is it important to God that we be people of influence?
  15. What would you think of a Sunday School teacher who said, "I don't care about influencing others; I just want to teach"?
  16. What are some verses in the Bible that speak to the fact that we should be people of influence?
  17. What does it take to become a person of influence?
  18. What do the people who have influenced you have in common?
  19. Talk to me about the process of becoming a person of influence. How do we become a person of influence?
  20. Think about this: "influence is always personal. We influence people in direct relation to how well they know us and how well we know them. Influence has everything to do with being close to people." Respond to that. Do you agree? Why? Why not?
  21. There are roughly the same number of Christians in America today as there were 40 years ago. Would you say the influence that Christianity has on society is roughly the same? Why not?(3)
  22. I hope we have seen more clearly the value and importance of being people of influence. Would you join me in prayer committing ourselves to being students of influence and how we can be used by God to "let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven." Let's pray together.(4)

1. People will rarely rise above the level of their leadership.

2. 2 Tim. 2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. [NIV]

Cast a vision for the idea that the ultimate goal is to become a multiplier. If we are to reach the goals of 2020 Vision, we will do it through multiplication. We will do it through classes doubling every two years or less. We will do it through churches doubling every five years or less.

3. One set of answers has to do with the nature of the Christians. Another set of answers has to do with the tools of influence. The leveraging effect of the media to influence society has been much more ably used by the world than by the church. We must work on two things. We must work on our personal influence ability AND we must work on leveraging our positive influence through the media. John Maxwell and Jim Dornan have an opportunity to influence us not only because they are great guys, but also because they wrote a book. I influence many Sunday School teachers and their students through this ministry on the Internet. I know a D.A. who has cut the crime in his district in half through a tough "no tolerance for drugs" policy. In half. What one man who understands influence can do. We must become as wise as serpents in our use of the media to influence lives.

4. It is a moving thing to have the group pray conversationally about their desire to become people of influence.



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