Church Recruiting… A Different Way

Posted: October 6, 2011 in Leadership Development
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Today we have an array of choices and opportunities to get involved with good projects galore from girl scouts to cancer walks. How do people choose? Could it be possible that the strategy your grandma employed to recruit for the church bake sale may not fly in your church today? Let’s take a closer look at some of our popular church volunteer recruiting methods.

First consider the differences in smaller churches versus larger ones. Smaller churches have an advantage of getting to know each person intimately in order to find out where each individual fits into serving opportunities. Larger churches, which often provide greater levels of opportunity, also have the challenge of getting to know the newest members on a personal level. The newest members have the challenge of getting a feel for the ministries and leaders which most compel them and figuring out the best method for getting involved.

Small church or large, the earlier a churchgoer can get involved, the better chance that this person will be changed in a positive way and affect those around him or her with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is essential that church leaders guide newcomers in the right direction when it comes to their limitless ministry options.

Here are some different methods churches tend to employ to recruit people to serve in various ministries:

1. The Free For All: Each ministry leader recruits regardless of the other ministries that may also be recruiting.

– Advantages: Leaders make a personal connection with people they recruit. Leaders feel the appropriate level of responsibility to recruit and retain people.

– Disadvantages: Ministries can feel in competition, those recruited can feel pulled in different directions and faced with tough choices. This method can minimize a sense of unity and put pressure on each leader to out-perform other leaders in recruiting skills. People may enter an assignment simply out of obligation and not from a sense of calling. They may feel as though they are valued only for what they can do and not for who they are.

2. The Funnel Method: Gather information about people and then funnel them to the ministries that they initially take interest in.

– Advantages: Minimizes the sense of competition that can occur between ministries and maximizes a sense of unity.

– Disadvantages: Disregards the important factor of personal connection to a leader and gives the leader a possible sense of entitlement to the service of any individual. Also, individuals may feel powerless to make their own choices with this method.

3. The Coaching Approach: Knowledgable ministry leaders meet with people first to help them discover their God-given desires, talents, and abilities. They then help the individual create goals for themselves and practical ways to pursue these goals. Members then pray and pursue the leaders of the ministries themselves. The person who makes the connection can also follow up with the new member.

– Advantages: Less pressure on leaders to recruit, less competition, higher retainment. It builds initiative and confidence in newcomers. New members do not expect to be pulled in various directions, rather pulled by the Spirit of God from a place of passion and purpose.

– Disadvantages: Initially more time consuming. Leaders must be trained and equipped for some level of coaching. Ministry leaders may need to be reminded that sometimes they need to ask for help. Risk is also involved with encouraging people to pursue their own dreams and goals. Therefore, ministry leaders must be envisioned to embrace such risks and consider it a worthy investment.

Now, it may be obvious that I am promoting the third method is the “right answer.” I am not trying to come down too hard on these other methods, which will always be alive and well to some degree. They have their merits. However, as we move through these changing times, I believe that it is imperative to consider that even the process of “finding a ministry” needs its own ministry. In my church’s Activate ministry, we are attempting to do just that. We have gone through the process of each of these types of recruiting and are attempting to enter the third successfully.

The world is not looking for more people who are doing what they do from drudgery or obligation. This type of boring existence is what they often expect from Christians. The world will be attracted to passionate people who love who they are and what they do. We may have difficulties, but our passion drives us onward. This kind of lifestyle inspires anyone. If we can do our part to helping people to find their passion and purpose in Christ, we will be well on our way to a sending a more powerful and compelling gospel message. This is the message of a Savior who, for the passion and joy set before him, gave his all so we could truly live life to the full.


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