Leadership, Be Worth Following

LEADERSHIP—Be Worth Following
Recruit Now for ‘08
Cerri Baker


Leroy was an unusual pick for a Sunday school teacher. A young man of 20, he was shy and awkward around adults. He’d never been the leader of anything in his life, didn’t do well enough in high school to go to college, and was often made fun of due to a physical deformity. For some reason, though, God told me to ask Leroy to be the assistant teacher to fourth-grade boys. I considered this for a long time, and finally worked myself up to ask Leroy if he’d consider the position. I was amazed and delighted when Leroy said yes! That was more than 20 years ago, and today Leroy’s still teaching that very same class.

Leroy taught me to listen to God when it comes to recruiting . . . and that some of the most dedicated and gifted volunteers come from unexpected places. He also taught me that recruiting is a work in progress—whether it begins with God or through your efforts in the trenches. Recruiting is an ongoing process that begins months before new recruits are in place serving. That’s why it’s time to begin recruiting for a seamless transition to 2008, using your ingenuity and God’s guidance.


Intelligent Recruiting

Recruitment, simply put, is connecting with people and inviting them to be part of God’s work. To be a successful recruiter in your ministry, you need a strategic and systematic recruiting plan that integrates with a discipleship plan to develop leaders. Here are basic guidelines to design an effective recruitment plan.

• Focus your prayer support. Prayer is your best tool. Prayer focuses hearts and reminds us of our dependency on God.

• Start early. Effective recruitment begins at least six months before new volunteers start. That means it’s time to initiate your recruiting efforts now—today—for ‘08.

Why? It takes a significant amount of time to communicate the needs, vision, and heart of your ministry; safely background check each new recruit and teach new leaders security and other guidelines established for the ministry. It also takes time to match your new recruits passion and giftedness with appropriate roles.

• Develop a clear message. People need a compelling message that attracts them to children’s ministry. What’s your message? Is it in line with your ministry vision? Does it convey what you want it to? Does it attract people to your ministry?

An example of a clear message could be: ‘We link kids to Christ through innovative teaching, life-impacting relationships, and unwavering focus on God’s Word. Will you join us?”

• Plan a multilayered approach. Written advertisements, personal testimonies, unique give always, multimedia information, targeted mailings, and phone calls all get your recruitment the attention it deserves. Include interest-grabbing displays, Sunday morning ministry introduction tours, and personal invites from your star volunteers. Send informative DVDs home to new families to reach even more potential recruits. Use a variety of appeals throughout the year.

• Recognize the power of referrals. Personal referrals speak volumes about your ministry’s importance. When people already involved share their positive experiences, others catch the excitement. Ensure your volunteers have a wonderful experience serving God in your ministry, and encourage them to talk about that experience with others. For tips on helping your volunteers craft a 30-Second Commercial” for your ministry, go to www.childrensministry.com and click on Web Extras.

• Clearly define your target. Determine the type of people you want teaching kids in your ministry, and then design your marketing approach with those specific qualities in mind. The more specific you are about your target, the closer you’ll get to achieving your ultimate goal of great team development.

• Involve your senior pastor. Highlight your ministry by involving your senior pastor’s sup port. Any time your senior pastor mentions your ministry—whether it’s from the pulpit or in casual conversation—it generates interest and raises the perceived value of your ministry

• Evaluate what’s effective. Every church is different, so you must evaluate what works best with your congregation. Discerning what works and what doesn’t will give you valuable information about how to focus your time and tailor your methods.

• Generate positive publicity. People are drawn to what’s successful. Positive recruitment draws stronger and more enthusiastic leaders than guilt and needy approaches. So ditch the pleas for help and “you-have-an-obligation” speeches. Don’t apologize for asking people to volunteer. Tout the positive things your ministry’s doing all year. Share success stories. And be picky about who you bring on to your volunteer team. Set standards high and expect the best from your volunteers.

• Create an orientation plan. To truly optimize your recruitment efforts, develop an implementation plan that casts vision, equips, trains, and supports new leaders and volunteers. Plan well in advance of when new volunteers begin serving. Successful orientation plans must include a session that communicates the ministry’s vision, mission, and core values. Also provide training for specific ministry areas, responsibilities, and expectations; develops leadership skills; and pro vides ongoing ministry support and encouragement. Your plan is primary to effective recruitment, performance, and retention.

Excerpted from Children’s Ministry Professional Edition, Leadership Insights for Your Ministry May 2007 Vol. 1, No.9

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.”