Recruiting Volunteers Priniciple #8 – No Cold Calling

Principle #8 – No Cold Calling   We do not act like telemarketers trying to fill roles in the church.  The more you cold call, the less trust you have with those you recruit. I think my first year or two of ministry I tried recruiting for people by phoning through the whole directory.  I talked to a lot of nice people.  A lot of nice people wondered why I thought they would be useful in the infant nursery.  I was left with a lot of holes in my nursery schedule.  Epic. Failure.    The conversations were valuable, but as a recruiting technique very inefficient. Whether emails, bulletin inserts, phone calls, or even standing up front in the sanctuary before the congregation – […]

Recruiting Volunteers Principle #7 – Pass on the praise, own the criticism

Principle #7 – Pass on the praise, own the criticism.  Those executing ministry deserve to receive all the praise and so it must be passed on by the leader, but criticism is to be first examined by the leader to see how it reflects their leadership. One of the joys of ministry is hearing people share stories of how their life is impacted by the ministries we help lead.  We hear stories first hand of what God is doing and see His hand at work.  What an incredible privilege. As a leader working with people serving in your ministry you need to realize something.  The praise you get is a direct result of the work each person in that ministry is […]

Recruiting Volunteers Principle #6 – Staff serve volunteers

Principle #6 –  Staff serve volunteers, volunteers are not there to serve the staff.  Volunteers are not there for the benefit of the staff, but the staff exist to equip and enable the body of Christ to carry out her ministry. Do you remember the song “Onward Christian Soldiers”? It’s a militaristic song calling Christians to battle all that opposes God.  I think churches have moved on from that song, but perhaps still see themselves as having an army of volunteers.  The pastor or ministry leader is the general and the volunteers are the infantry  – the fodder to be sacrificed – in the battle.  I know churches still that do not care about volunteer burn out, gifting, passions or interests.  They […]

Recruiting Volunteers Principle #5 – Your commitment gets their commitment

Principle #5 – Your commitment gets their commitment. We can only expect a person to be as committed as we we are.  We commit to them by providing clear leadership and expectations. In Grade 9  I was in a class called Recreation 30.  It was a special class offered to deal with too many students in the Home Economics and Industrial Arts class that year.  Think field trips and that was essentially the class.  Part way through the year though our class went and volunteered at Robin Hood. A school and community that works with and empowers individuals with different developmental challenges and special needs.  Great program and great people. After our class visit there I was asked if I would volunteer […]

Recruiting Volunteers Principle #4 – Thank you for the No’s

Principle #4 – Thank you for the No’s  While We may love the yes answers we seek, but no answers are just as valuable. When someone prayerfully answers with a no, they are one step closer to discovering where they should be serving. I love the look when I ask someone to be involved in a ministry, and after careful thought they respond with the word ‘no’ and I then respond ‘thank you’.  Some people have actually made sure they said no instead of yes.  Actually I don’t often just say thank you, I will usually say, “Thank you so much for considering this.  It meant a lot ot me that you would do that.”   The catch?  I actually mean […]

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. Take 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 […]

Recruiting Volunteers Principle #2 – Ministry is Not a Task

Principle #2. Ministry is not a task. We recruit people to a vision of a ministry, not to a task.  The task is not the vision, the task is just their role needed to accomplish the goal which is the purpose we recruit too. I remember year after year watching September draw closer and closer.  Plans were put in place, photocopying was happening, phone calls made, and emails sent.  Deadlines were looming for fall kickoff.   I remember the first few years stressing over filling the roles that were still empty for all the fall programs. One of the first tips I was given when I started doing children’s ministry was to create job descriptions for each volunteer on what task they […]

Recruiting Volunteers Principle #1 – People Before Programs

I’ve written a number of blog posts under the heading “Building a Body that Serves” aimed at working with people in churches.  Part of the first post had a list of 10 principles.  I want to expand on those principles further, and I believe they have value in the church, but also outside the church, in how we manage and work with volunteers. Principle #1: People Before Programs.  The goal of recruiting is first and foremost to help people find their place to use their gifts and skills in ministry to God.  The goal of volunteer recruiting is not to fill slots in programs, but to allow people to use their gifts and skills to serve in the body of Christ. Whether […]

Building a Body that Serves Part 4: the Pyramid Scheme

I never quite got pyramid schemes.  It’s always apparent to me that the person at the bottom is doing all the work to make the person at the top richer.  It’s also apparent that the failure will always fall on the person on the bottom.  So I’ve always steered clear of them. That is, until I started working with volunteers in the church. As I worked with volunteers I started noticing a pattern in people and what worked at getting them engaged in ministry, and how they grew in ministry.  I also noticed a pattern of how people would hit their limit at times and then step out of ministry altogether.  I worked with these observations and started creating a […]

Building a Body that Serves Part 3: The Home Trumps Church

 My wife and I like playing games. I used to love specifically card games, and some of them have a trump card which outplays any other card.    That was what you wanted in your hand no matter what.  For me, the home is the trump card when it comes to recruiting and church programs.   One of my goals in ministry is to enable, encourage, and support healthy faith in the home.  If your homes are healthy in their faith, the church will be healthy in faith.   Faith in the Home is the trump card of the church… it’s one of those things which makes following God so much easier as a church, and to me is of the utmost […]