to persuade (someone) to do or assist in doing something
Finding enough people to serve is the most challenging aspect of leading a Children’s Ministry. It can be downright difficult! Often times, however, it’s difficult because we are doing it all wrong.
Here are 5 reasons we need to stop “recruiting” for our Children’s & Family Ministry:
Because “recruiting” is based on need, not vision.
Recruiting to “need” is one of the worst approaches we can take. Yes, sometimes (especially as you get started) you have to just make sure everything is covered. However, people who respond to need will typically have little commitment or, in many case, understanding of the true vision for Children’s Ministry. And it’s vision that you want people to buy in and respond to.
Because “recruiting” rarely has a foundation in relationship.
We say it over and over here at CML: Ministry always happens best in the context of relationship!
It’s no different with “recruiting”. The deeper the relationship, the greater the understanding will be of your heart and vision for reaching & teaching children for Christ. The greater the understanding, the greater the buy in and commitment in response.
Because “recruiting” usually leads to short term commitment.
We already mentioned this, but it’s worth repeating. Short term commitment will sink your ministry. Instead, do the work to cast vision, creating long-term commitment, and then take care of the leaders you have (your best “recruiting” strategy).
Because “recruiting” is based on your own ability to persuade, not on God’s ability to move.
Did you see the definition of recruiting above? That’s not what we want to do.
Matthew 9:37-38 says:
Then he [Jesus] said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Ultimately, staffing our ministry is a God-thing. But we so often forget to start with prayer, and we so often simply trust that, if we need more leaders, it’s through Him that we must seek them.
We also tend to skip to part where He says that “laborers are few”. In other words, what you are facing in your ministry is nothing new…and it’s probably not going to change completely.
Because “recruiting” casts too broad of a net when we need to be more selective.
Have you identified exactly what characteristics you are looking for in your volunteer leaders? If not, I would pull out a piece of paper and do that.
Now, how intentionally do you pursue those characteristics when you are sharing your vision for Children’s Ministry. When we post a note in the bulletin, or do a cattle call from the podium, or send out a desperate email on Saturday night – are we being intentional about the people we are placing in our ministry? Or are we just filling slots? Are we ensuring the safety of our kids (physically, emotionally and, yes, spiritually)? Or are we taking a chance that good people will respond?
You see, when we cast a broad, open net, we aren’t really sure who’s going to respond. I understand that there should be a screening process in place which “catches” the bad ones. My experience, however, as I’ve worked with hundreds of churches, is that we cast a broad net in order to fill slots, and often (very often) either don’t have that screening process in place, or bypass some of the important steps in order to accelerate assimilation.
Either way, we are putting our children at risk.
So what are we to do?
1. Know your vision backwards and forward (aligning it with the overall vision of the church).
2. Know how to articulate that vision backwards and forward.
3. Identify key leaders and equip them to share that vision backwards and forward (are you getting that it’s really all about the vision…and you can’t do this by yourself?).
4. Clearly identify the opportunities of your ministry based on the vision, not based on “open slots”.
5. As you and your team share the vision and people get excited about and respond to the vision, invite them to consider the available opportunities.
6. Have a non-negotiable assimilation process (which includes high-level screening, ministry orientation and basic equipping) through which you take them.
7. Have a systematic follow up process (you and your key leaders) and take care of your volunteer leaders (encourage, equip and engage) in order to help them keep the vision before them and maintain their commitment.
Here’s the bottom line: Don’t recruit people to a desperate need…invite them to a God-size vision.