Category CSE Magazine
Title How to Motivate School Staff
Author/s Cheryl J. Washington
Preview Administrators and staff must experience a reckless abondonment of self to love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

Motivating school staff to embrace the Great Commandment and the Great Commission is essential to the role of the Christian school administrator. Mark 12:30 speaks of the Great Commandment: "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment" (KJV). Matthew 28:19-20 gives the Great Commission: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations ... teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."

After meditating on this topic, I concluded that it was not primarily what I do in the school that inspires my staff to see and implement this distinctive, but what I do in my life that motivates them to love the Lord with all their being. Nothing is more effective than teachers who live such lives. Administrators cannot effectively motivate their staff members to love God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength through meetings or in-services. There is no written curriculum to teach this vital lesson effectively. Nonetheless, administrators can teach it through personal abandonment and personal integration of the truths of Mark 12:30-31 and Matthew 28:19-20 (Lockerbie 2005). This personal lesson is the living curriculum for the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.

Personal Abandonment

Administrators and staff must experience a reckless abandonment of self to love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength. It is at this point that fulfillment of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission can take place. I began this personal journey 20 years ago.

I became discontented with my career as an Air Force nurse. Consequently, in 1988 I was released from my 10-year commission. In 1989, my life dramatically changed. I planned to continue my graduate studies and teach nursing at the university. However, the call of God captured my heart and mind. I was challenged to truly demonstrate my love for God and live a life wholly devoted to serving Him. My husband and I were asked to stay in Little Rock and teach in our church-sponsored Christian school. Since that day I have not looked back, and next year we will celebrate our 20th anniversary of "training champions for Christ."

Personal Integration

This abandonment of my own desires in exchange for the desires of the Lord led to a personal integration of the reality of Christ in my daily walk. As a Christian school administrator, I believe my love for the Lord Jesus Christ through personal integration is the most important daily task I perform. My own integration allows the staff to see the Great Commission in action and motivates them to put it into action. Bruce Lockerbie explains personal integration as the act of "learning to love the Lord with all four aspects of our being-heart, soul, strength, and mind: with our heart as the seat of emotions and affection, with our soul as the seat of worship and devotion, with our strength as needed for physical endeavor, and with our mind as the place of illumination, expression, and will" (Lockerbie 2005, 53).

Maintaining this type of personal integrity, temperament, and devotion, I believe, is the most important responsibility of the head of every Christian school. This integration of Christ in the heart and soul of the administrator affects his or her actions, and it is a powerful motivating factor. I have found that neither enrollment numbers nor faculty qualifications nor accreditation standards are sufficient for explaining how a tiny urban Christian school has maintained its strong Christian witness for 19 years. It has been nothing but the grace of God enabling us to maintain personal lives committed to the Lord Jesus Christ as well as a strong commitment to and focus on Christian paideia, or the formal teaching and learning that honor Jesus Christ (Lockerbie 2005).

Personal abandonment and integration create an atmosphere in which schoolwide prayer and fasting become the norm and in which daily praise and worship become one with the curriculum. Time spent with teachers in prayer, Bible study, devotions, and spiritual discussions produces a school culture in which the mind is constantly renewed and a love for God is fostered. The administrator's devotion to these kingdom activities maintains a spiritual school culture and climate that motivates the school staff to accomplish the Great Commission and the Great Commandment (Jackson 2005).


Lockerbie, D. Bruce. 2005. A Christian paideia: The habitual vision of greatness. Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Design Publications.

Jackson, Harry R., Jr. 2005. The kingdom agenda: Protecting America's moral compass. College Park, MD: Hope Connection.

Cheryl J. Washington, MSEd, serves as the school administrator of Word of Outreach Christian Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas. She is a doctoral candidate at Oral Roberts University. She is also the ACSI Arkansas and South-Central Region representative and an ACSI Executive Board member. 

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