An Invitation– Jim Wideman says, “The greatest thing that all recruiting is, is an invitation to help people.” Wideman says that smart recruiters never apologize for giving people the opportunity to serve, because you’re presenting them with the greatest opportunity they’ll ever have aside from following Christ. By giving them the opportunity to serve, you’re presenting them with an opportunity to move forward and grow closer to God. If you were inviting people to a party, you wouldn’t just put out an ad in the paper. You’d personally invite the people you wanted to come. The best way to recruit people is to ask them personally. “People want to be asked,” says Wideman. “Sometimes people who thought they weren’t qualified to serve in children’s ministry and would never have responded to an ad in the bulletin jump in with both feet-when you personally invite them.” (Volunteers That Stick)
Focus On The Big Picture– Be able to accurately communicate your church’s vision and the part a thriving children’s ministry will play in that. Be able to summarize your ministry’s vision in 30 seconds or less. If you can do that, you can portray the energy of your ministry to someone as you walk down a hallway. If you can cast vision well, you won’t be recruiting by guilt or obligation. You want your people to be invested in the ministry and not doing it out of a feeling of duty. Never stop casting the vision. Constantly help your volunteers to see in various ways how their service has an eternal impact and is part of the vision.
Plan Ahead– Recruiting isn’t something you do once a year. It’s an ongoing process of regularly assessing how you can help people use their gifts and continue on their journey with God. Focus more on where you want to go than on fixing the boat you’re in. “I don’t work on the church that I have,” says Wideman. “I work on the church that I want to have.” (Volunteers that Stick)
Recruit all the time– Take a year-round approach and consider ways you can draw new people in all the time. This will allow you to let potential volunteers try out a role before committing. And when they do commit, you’ll be able to train them as they work side-by-side with an experienced volunteer.
Retaining is Recruiting – One of the most important aspects of keeping the volunteers you have is building relationships with them. Communicating well with your volunteers helps build relationships. The more accessible you are to them, the more they’ll open up to you. If they feel like your friend rather than “just a volunteer,” they’ll want to stick around.
Right People, Right Places – If you put people in the places they want to serve in and are excited about, they’ll be happy to serve — for a longer period. And happy volunteers mean a thriving ministry — which means more volunteers! You don’t have to do it all by yourself. In fact, your currently engaged and fulfilled volunteers are going to be your best recruiters of others! They are the ones who will communicate your passion, vision, and how they’ve been blessed by serving.
PRAY– The only prayer request Jesus ever gave was to pray for workers (Matthew 9:38). Prayer should be in every step you take toward recruiting volunteers. God will reveal people that you should invite to serve in children’s ministry – often from the most unexpected places! Recruiting should be done by faith, not by need.