I have always over all the years of being a full time children’s pastor, heard and experienced how much and how often those who work with kids need to recruit others to help volunteer. On any given Sunday, it can be heard from thousands of pulpits and read in just as many bulletins in churches of every kind and size, “We need workers! The truth is, the bigger the vision, the more people serving and helping it takes to make that vision reality.
Stop seeing recruiting as a negative chore that you have been given, but start seeing it as an opportunity to help people work out the BIG VISION that God has for His church. Start to encourage and train your team to recruit others. Jesus allowed His team to recruit two of the twelve. I’m always on the lookout for workers everywhere I go, men’s ministry, singles, seniors, ushers and greeters ministry and some places I have to be creative in getting invited to go there like the women’s ministry
Identify and share the types of giftings you are looking for and be watchful for people who display them. Look for people who vocationally manage people. Look within your church/ministry for people to promote; your answer to your need for workers isn’t always someone from the outside, instead God has already placed them within your grasp, you just need to ask. Pray team members in. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Once you’ve located them and qualified each candidate (you better be doing background checks and references etc. regardless of your church size) here are some suggestions I have picked up over time and implemented myself that you may want to do to help volunteers stay in your ministry.
1. Start them slowly. Don’t dump them in a class with a Sunday school for a quarter and say, “Tag, you’re it.” If you’re a dumper, the word is out on you! People always watch how you treat your current volunteers. Start new recruits out watching, and add responsibility slowly. This is also the time to teach them your church’s way of doing things. Train them in your policies and procedures; these should answer the questions: “What do you want me to do?” and “How do you want me to do it?” the questions every volunteer wants answered.
2. Immerse them in your vision. Use every method available to you: spoken, written—whether on blogs, websites or brochures—any visual. Let pictures and video tell your story. Vision is contagious. Over the years, I realized my vision is what keeps me going. If that vision doesn’t allow me to quit, if caught by others it wont allow others to quit either.
3. Give them a model or example. People do what they see. “Show” is a much better way to train than “tell.” When you model ministry on an ongoing basis, it keeps everyone moving forward on the same page. Hook all of your new volunteers with a current one doing ministry the way you want. There is always more training happening that what’s being done in front if you. Make sure you know what the message is even when not around you.
I will add more in the days to come. Feel free to add any of yours anytime here in the comments.