My Recruiting Mistake

My Recruiting Mistake
Gregg Farah

Student ministry can be done alone, but it’s not necessarily effective. At least not as effective as it could be. Ministry is a body-it takes many parts to function properly. And a ministry family is something we all need. I tell our leaders regularly: I want you to join our ministry because God called you to serve students. But I want you to stay with our ministry because you feel part of a family.

It takes a lot of work to develop a ministry team and one of the skills youth leaders need to develop is delegation. There are many components to delegation and one of the most crucial is THE ASK. It’s one thing to know the value of getting others involved, but it’s quite another to reach out and extend an invitation.

I met with Chris over breakfast to talk about being part of our team. He had already shown an interest and came with high recommendations, so I was confident he would serve with us. But I hoped for more. Chris had a skill set our team desperately needed: He was a musician. We talked about life and ministry over bacon and eggs, but I chose my words carefully. I had grand plans for Chris and didn’t want to scare him away, so I offered some baby steps of how he could get involved. He said yes, and I made a mental note of when I could meet with him in the future to increase his responsibility.

Maybe it’s because I grew up watching What About Bob, but I’m into baby steps. Since my first ASK went so well, I decided to order another orange juice and turn up the heat. I leaned forward and teased him a bit with a grander vision of how he could be involved. It was still well below what I needed (hoped) he’d do, but again…not so big to scare him. He again said yes and asked if he could do more. MORE? He was asking if he could do more?

I was in unchartered territory. While sucking the pulp out of my teeth, I had to sit back and consider if he was actually toying with me. What was his master plan? Was he egging me on to ask him for more responsibility so he could crush my spirit and turn me down? Or…was he legitimately ready for more responsibility?

For whatever reason, I could not get it through my head that Chris was called by God and ready to jump in and serve in a significant way. Having been in ministry for many years as a youth pastor and church planter, I had seen far too many people commit at a nominal level and had become calloused to think any other mindset existed. In the end, as I unwrapped more and more of the opportunity I envisioned for him and how he could fill a tremendous need, Chris nearly had to beg me to allow him to take on the responsibility. I kept trying to talk him out of it-certain it was too much. I finally relented, and six months later Chris is one of my strongest leaders and a trusted friend.

Lessons learned?

1. People want to be challenged. Not everyone will accept the challenge, but we need to boldly paint a picture of our true need.
2. Don’t be afraid to ASK. The irony of my delayed ministry invitation? I was afraid to ask and he was afraid I’d never ask. I thought I learned the power of the ASK when church planting, but I quickly fell into the bad habit of expecting little and being content with less. Our ministries are important and we should not (can not!) hold back. Be excited about what you’re doing and dare to ask people to be part of your team.
3. Learn from your mistakes. I have become more aggressive in inviting others to join our team or to challenge current team members to take on new responsibilities. I may be a slow starter, but I’m a quick learner. I want to joke with Chris about how he had to twist my arm to let him serve, but I can’t. He’s too busy loving students and growing our music ministry.

This article “My Recruiting Mistake” by Gregg Farah was excerpted from: www.youthministry.com web site. November 2010. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

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.”

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