Finding and Recruiting Lady Volunteers
By Katie Edwards
One of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “Where do you find volunteer leaders?” My answer is always “everywhere!” Every person I talk to is a potential volunteer for our junior high ministry. It is always on my mind and I am never afraid to “make the ask.”
One of the first things I learned about volunteer ministry is that when you are recruiting new volunteer leaders you have to be intentional. ..they are not coming to you…you have to go to them. You might put a creative announcement in your church bulletin or have a great blurb on your website, BUT you still have to go to them. One of the most effective ways to recruit volunteers is by inviting them to be on your youth ministry team through a personal conversation. Whether you are the youth pastor or a volunteer leader yourself, you are more likely to build your team through personal invites then “blanket announcements”.
I have listed some ideas below that have worked for me in my junior high ministry. They are all ideas that you can use as a tool to help you create opportunities for personal conversations � or invites to join your youth ministry team.
Where do I begin the process of looking for volunteer leaders?
– Youth ministry parents
– Local college campus/college students
– Church affinity groups: singles, college, young marrieds, etc.
– Seniors ministry
– High school seniors
– Church wide events: Women’s/Men’s retreat, Ministry Fair, Kick-off Picnic, etc.
3 Ways to Create Opportunities for Volunteer Recruitment Conversations
1. Take the time to create a great promotional piece that showcases your volunteer ministry.
We spend so much time creating great promo pieces for camps, trips, and fun events. But we can not execute any of these events without great volunteer leaders. So why not spend some time creating a volunteer leader brochure or promotion piece that highlights all of the opportunities available for volunteer leaders. Make it super visual and informative. List your need for volunteers, details about getting involved and all of your current volunteer opportunities. Add in some pictures of junior high students with their leaders.
As you begin to have personal invite conversations with people, this promo piece could be used as a tool to push them toward the next step. It can be a great way to follow-up after “the ask.”
Here are some ideas for your promo piece….
– Have the brochure handy, you never know when a conversation opportunity might arise.
– Give them to your current volunteers to give away. Train your current leaders to keep them handy so that they can have invite conversations.
– Be ready to hand them out at church wide events
o Put one on every chair at the women’s/men’s retreat
o Give them to parents at your parent meeting
o Pass them out at the church picnic
2. Let your students do the inviting…
This might sound a little crazy and you will definitely need permission from your senior pastor. Find a student that is connected to a volunteer leader. Have the leader and the student do a testimony/share their story in your adult church service. Have the leader talk about their ministry and have the student talk about their relationship and what it means. At the end, have the student tell the congregation that his friends are in need of leaders in their lives and if anyone is interested–please visit the junior high ministry table outside. Then, grab some other volunteer leaders and post yourself right outside the church service doors and be ready to invite people to check out volunteering in your ministry. Watching a someone story unfold like that is a great springboard into personal conversations
3. Colleges can be a gold mine…
There are many ways to use your local college campuses to find great volunteer leaders. If you are in the proximity of a college, a Christian college, or you have a college ministry at your church…you are sitting on a gold mine of leaders.
Using the College Campus
– Take 6 ft. SUB sandwiches or pizzas to your local Christian college dorms or the College Ministry – your church. Attach and note, “Compliments of the Jr. High Ministry @ Mariners Church!” Leave ministry brochures and contact information on the table next to the food. Free food is a great way to get the attention of a college student.
– Place ads/announcements on local college bulletin boards–be on the lookout for Young Life, Campus Crusade, FCA, Christian clubs, etc. There are a lot of college students who are excited about serving they just don’t know where to begin or who to call.
– Use current college aged volunteers to recruit for you. If you already have college students on your volunteer team–give them a short training in recruiting and send them to find volunteers for you. You already know them and trust them–so they are great choice for partnering in recruitment of new leaders.
– Take advantage of ministry type events at Christian colleges…most Christian colleges are encouraging students to be involved in ministry. Find out if they have any type of events that are set-up to showcase ministry opportunities. Go to the campus and set up a booth with information. Sit at the booth during breaks and high traffic times to talk with students and invite them to check out volunteering in your ministry.
One last note: Recruiting volunteers is an area that I am constantly challenged and growing in. No matter how hard I work at it–the job of recruiting new volunteers is never done. I am always looking for new and creative ways to attract leaders to serving in our junior high ministry. So this “help” is coming from the heart of someone who is in the trenches and trying to figure it out in a daily way.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.” Finding and Recruiting Lady Volunteers. By Katie Edwards.