Recruiting Volunteers Principle #3 – Recruiting is About Relationships

 Principle #3 – Recruiting is about Relationships.  The foundation of effective recruiting is building relationships which needs to happen year round.  When we get to know someone we discover their gifts, abilities, knowledge, skills, and passions.

relateTake a minute and think about who are the easiest people you can recruit? My guess is the names that would come to mind are friends and family.  People who you know well and have a relationship with.  Some people have a difficult time outside of that small circle around them unsure how to recruit people they really don’t know.  We can look for all sorts of strategies, but why not stick with what works?   If recruiting people we have relationships with is the most effective, then that should give us a clue as to what we should be doing.  This leaves us with two choices – stick with the family and friends we have and use them wherever and whenever we can, or expand our circle of relationships.

You don’t know your family and friends for the sake of them helping you, so I wan’t to be clear, we don’t expand our circle of relationships for the sake of recruiting.  Recruiting though is more effective the larger the circle of relationships we have. So how do you build relationships? The easiest way is to get to know people as they come into the church on a weekly basis.  The broader the age range and diversity of backgrounds you get to know, the broader the group you build relationships with in which you can recruit.

One of my goals when I was overseeing children’s ministry was to try and connect with every new family coming through the doors of our church.  The purpose? To begin building a relationship with them so we could get to know them and help them connect and begin growing in faith as a part of our church.  My purpose wasn’t primarily recruiting, but in getting to know people I began to learn about their experience, their interests, their skills and gifts.   When it came time to recruit they knew me, and I knew them.  The conversation of what we’re looking for was much easier because it was rooted in a relationship.  My recruiting was rooted in year round relationship building.

The relationships aren’t all about recruiting – if you value the relationship, you will want the best for them.  This means you want them to serve where they’ll be best used by God for ministry – and that isn’t always where you want them to be doing what you think you need them to do.

If your ministry is an island in the midst of the sea of church it’s very hard to engage people in ministry.  If your ministry is rooted in building relationships in the diversity of your church you’re building a foundation of relationships from which you can see who God is placing in your midst for the ministry of the church.