Have you ever felt like you were
trapped in a revolving door when it comes to recruiting?
Just when you begin to feel you finally have enough volunteers,
someone quits, and you're back to recruiting again. That's been the
snapshot of my life for more than 20 years as I've served as the
children's pastor of a multi-site church in Fort Collins,
Here are a few other snapshots: On average
I oversee 150 volunteers and I'm typically recruiting for about 75
positions at a time. By my best estimate, I've recruited around
2,000 volunteers during my tenure.
Now I have to be honest; there have been several month-long
stretches when we had all the help we needed and I got to catch my
breath. But I've learned that those moments of surplus never last
long. And there's an upside to my perpetual recruiting: Having to
spend so much time and energy enlisting new volunteers has
fast-tracked my learning curve on the most effective ways to
FOCUS ON THE PERSONAL-NOT
In my early days of leading children's ministry, I used to think
that having a catchy message--maybe a cute take-off of some current
TV commercial--would result in lots of people wanting to be
involved in our ministry to kids. What I found, though, was that
often our most creative efforts yielded the most disappointing
I've come to realize that what makes all the difference in
recruiting isn't some flashy idea or message, but simply my ability
to communicate with people. And just as important as how I
grab someone's attention is who I'm speaking to and
what I'm saying.
People want to be personally asked to be involved.
So it's no surprise that a blurb in the church bulletin bears
negligible results. And if I don't have a clear message about what
I'm asking from the person, if I don't know who the right person
for the job is, or if I can't clearly explain the various ways that
person can be involved in the ministry, I've missed my window of
opportunity to add that person to my team.
SPEAK THE PASSION IN YOUR
The second key to effective recruiting also relates to
communication: It's communicating the passion you have for your
ministry to others.
Think of it this way. Before I attempt to recruit someone else to
serve in our ministry, first and foremost I must be convinced that
our ministry to kids is the most important thing our church does.
After all, if you don't feel this, no one else will. If you don't
feel completely passionate about kids, your ministry, your team,
and your church, then recharge your batteries.
Remind yourself why you do what you do. Spend
time investigating what the Bible has to say about kids. Ask God to
open your eyes to see what he's said in the Bible about kids. The
Old Testament Bible prompts us in Psalm 89:1-2 to teach the next generations
about God. That's a good place to begin. Next, explore the passion
and importance that Jesus showed to children. Wess Stafford,
president of Compassion International, does a great job sharing a
glimpse into God's heart for kids in his book Too Small to
Ignore. Reach for that book right after exploring the
It's enlightening, refreshing, and invigorating to grasp the
importance God places on kids. To effectively excite others about
your ministry, you've got to fully grasp it, too. Your voice
speaking out for kids can influence your entire church community,
in turn creating a culture that values kids. When you're working
within a culture that loves kids, it's a whole lot easier to find
volunteers who want to serve.
Share what God has shown you about children with
anyone who'll listen. Your pastor, your friends, people in your
small group, the parents in your church-wherever and with whomever
you find an opportunity, speak up on behalf of children. Proverbs 31:8 tells us to speak up for those
who can't do so for themselves. That's your cue to become an
advocate for kids. Develop a few key thoughts and examples of why
kids are so precious to God. Memorize those Bible passages about
God's love for kids and become familiar enough to paraphrase what
Jesus said about them.
Ask God to place his passion inside your heart. That's where God
captured my heart. I want to love what God loves. And when the
moment presents itself, you'll be ready to share some pretty
valuable insights to key people who'll see your passion--and take
it as their own.