Friday, June 08, 2012

Recruiting Church Volunteers Effectively

Every church I know seems to have a need for more volunteers.  How do you do that?  If you are leading a particular ministry and need more volunteers to serve, how do you recruit them?  Let me offer a few insights from 25 years of full-time church ministry.

The first and perhaps most important step in recruiting more volunteers for your area of ministry in the church is to know what does not work effectively today.  If you are depending primarily on bulletin inserts, having a sign-up table in the church lobby and having an announcement made from the stage during the worship service, chances are that you will not find much success in recruiting volunteers.  These avenues may have worked in days gone by but they simply do not work effectively in the church today.

The second thing you need to know in order to successfully recruit workers and volunteers is that appeals based on guilt and manipulation are a bad idea.  When you use guilt and manipulation to recruit volunteers, you recruit the wrong people.  They aren't responding because they have a passion for your area or because they feel the leading of the Spirit.  They are responding because they were made to feel guilty or because they had their proverbial arm twisted.  That volunteer will not be very effective nor will they last long in your ministry.

Along with that, using any kind of threats to recruit volunteers will not only be unsuccessful in recruiting workers, it will hurt your ministry overall by painting a very poor picture of the validity of your ministry.  When you communicate that "unless you get more volunteers you will have to cancel your ministry" you are actually discouraging people from helping.  When people in your church hear that threat they immediately surmise that your area of ministry must not be very exciting or worthwhile if nobody wants to help.

So what do you do to successfully recruit workers?  You need to have all of the following as a package.  You cant just have one or two of the following.  When you do all of the following, you will find far more success than anything listed previously.

You need an exciting PROGRAM.  This deals with the CONTENT of your ministry.  The more exciting your program is the easier it is to recruit workers.  People are drawn to excitement.  If your ministry is stale and lacks excitement it will be much more difficult yo recruit workers.

You need PASSIONATE attitudes.  This deals with being CONTAGIOUS.  Passion produces passion.  When you as the leader are passionate about your area of ministry and that shows outwardly, people will be drawn to your area.  Your passion will become contagious.  If you are lacking passion about your area or only have negative things to say about your area, chances are that very few people will respond by saying, "WOW! I really want to be part of that!"

You need captivating PROMOTION.  This deals with CREATIVITY.  Bulletin inserts, sign-up tables and announcements from the stage do no in any way draw people to your area.  In order to recruit workers you must come up with creative ideas to promote your area of ministry and your need for more workers.  It is creativity that will draw people to you and your area.

You need PERSONAL communication.  This deals with CONTACT.  The only effective what to recruit more volunteers and workers is for their to be one-on-one conversations with people about it.  That is what people respond to.  And some of your best recruiters are your current workers.  If they are currently serving in your area chances are real good that they have a passion for your area.  The more they talk directly to people the more volunteers you will get.

So if you are in need of recruiting more workers for your area of ministry, think through these questions:

How exciting is your area of ministry?

How passionate are you as the leader about your area of ministry?

What creative way have you promoted your area of ministry and your need for more workers?

How many personal one-on-one contacts have been made talking to people about working in your area of ministry?

Remember, doing just one or two of these concepts won't have much effect.  But when you put an exciting program with passionate attitudes with captivating promotion with personal communication, you have a formula for a lot more success.

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