What’s the trick to recruiting volunteers?

I often get asked to share my “secret” to successful recruiting. Although I love recruiting and have been doing it for 25 years, that’s a difficult question to answer. I’ve pondered what my simple, profound answer ought to be.

See, there really isn’t a “secret” if the leader is looking for a “trick” or a fix-it tool that will make recruiting easy. It’s simply more complex than most workshops or books try to make it, and far beyond what most are looking for in way of a technique.

Let’s start with two foundational principles that are a MUST for every ministry leader who is attempting to ask others to help in the ministry:

#1 Be enthusiastic about recruiting!

At any children’s ministry or youth ministry conference, the discussion will eventually focus on recruiting. Lunch discussions and “jokes” reveal how much most ministry leaders dread this part of our jobs. But that’s a terrible position to be in when trying to encourage other people to join us in the trenches!

Jesus told us to “ask the Lord of the harvest for workers.” If God is the Lord of our ministry, we shouldn’t dread asking people to help. We need to be filled up with God, i.e. God+in+us = “enthusiasm,” so that the God-given enthusiasm for His work is contagious and attracts people to the ministry.

#2 Believe that you are offering something wonderful.

We also know from Scripture that God has equipped and called each of us to a place in the body of Christ. Over the years in our ministry, one of my greatest joys has been in helping people find the “right” fit in ministry and then standing back to watch them blossom in their relationship with God and in their God-given equipping.

When you ask someone to serve the Lord (in any capacity), you are really inviting them to a deeper and more joy-filled walk with God. Know that your “product” is a good thing!

There’s much more to discuss on this topic! Next I’ll write about creating a ministry that KEEPS your workers for the long-term! I’d love to have you share your thoughts or questions, too.

Need more help? Our fulltime ministry, KidZ At Heart International, includes an in-depth training (“Recruiting Lots of Workers for Children’s Ministry”) as part of KidZtitute! Institute for KidMin Leaders, Trainers and Mission Team Members. We have four sessions scheduled for fall 2011: Corvallis, OR (Sept 22-24), Phoenix (Sept 29-Oct 1), Minneapolis (Oct 20-22) and Cleveland (Nov 3-5). Find details at www.kidZatheart.org/training or by emailing KidZ Leadership Training Director, Janna Firestone, at jfirestone@kidZatheart.org.

(Most of this post originally appeared on September 17, 2010. I wanted to share a favorite with you while I’m traveling and unable to access the internet.)

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