by Bob D’Ambrosio
Every fall we take our boys to a local farm to enjoy the harvest of pumpkins, corn, and apples! The bounty is evidence of the planting and hard work of the farmers during the past season.
Recruiting the right leaders is vital for the health of children’s ministry. Plant seeds now to lay a firm foundation for the future. Here’s a formula for recruiting based on Matthew 9: 37 where Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”
Reap a harvest by:
R – Recruit recruiters! You can’t do it alone. Start the recruitment process by recruiting others who are good at inviting people to serve. You need people on your team who are ‘people-friendly’ and enthusiastic. Your team should be a mixed group of men and women, young and old, so they can each reach a different segment of your church. These recruiters will help search out and meet with those who express interest in kids to see how they can plug in. Some may fit well with hospitality-as class assistants; others may want more active involvement by leading a children’s small group.
E – Energize. Fruitful recruitment comes when the people have been motivated to a mission. As you promote your vision and mission for children’s ministry, people will want to get onboard to be a part of what God is doing through this department. Promote your vision so people are aware of your purpose. Some churches develop a theme each year for their children’s ministry, complete with a logo on a t-shirt. When people get plugged in to a group they receive a t-shirt. After the recruitment campaign, the group members wear the t-shirts to church for a commissioning service!
A – Ask. I know this sounds obvious, but it’s often overlooked. According to the Independent Sector the highest percentage of volunteers surveyed said they got involved in service because someone asked them. This doesn’t mean ‘beg’. No one wants to get on board a sinking ship! But your church will need a systematic process of asking people how they want to use their gifts and abilities for ministry involvement. Person to person recruitment is far more effective than “paper-to-people” recruitment efforts.
P – Provide Opportunity. If 50 people were suddenly moved to volunteer in your ministry-would they know what opportunities were available? Do you have a booklet or posting of positions, which describes what’s involved and who to contact? If you visited an ice cream store you would first look around to see what flavors were available before you ordered. Churches need to provide clear and convenient access to ministries available so people have choices for involvement.
Jesus himself gave us another tip in the recruitment process in verse 38 when he said, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Any recruitment effort must first begin with prayer. Pray that God will provide the people He has already prepared to do this good work.
We REAP a harvest of workers when we have a plan to get them involved!
Bob D’Ambrosio has 25 years’ experience with volunteer leadership in children’s ministry, discipleship, and education. He now serves as a consultant and trainer with Church Volunteer Central, and is a frequent contributor to Children’s Ministry Magazine.