I believe one of the primary jobs of any ministry leader on staff at a church is “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:12). Stephen Covey, the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (among other great works) said, “I AM convinced that although training and development are important, recruitment and selection are much more important.” Recruiting church leaders is crucial.
The more leaders and volunteers you can recruit, the more people your church can reach, as I outline here. As leaders in churches, we all want to recruit the best people possible, because we have the greatest mission to carry out. But, how do you recruit church leaders that are high-capacity? Here are 4 steps I have found to be critical.
Create an attractive environment
I know this is difficult, like the whole chicken and the egg deal. How do you create an attractive environment without already having high-quality leaders? It’s a challenge for sure, and the way to start is to make sure you’re not doing too much. Cut the things you only do well so you can do the remaining things really well. Maybe you could replace live teaching with video for a season or put a hold on a specific event or program? Use that time and those resources to create the environment you want; the environment you know will be something great people will want to be part of. Recruiting church leaders to poor environments means they won’t stick long.
One of the last things a high-quality leader wants to do is use up their time doing something they are not good at doing. Separate the roles of teaching, leading a small group, editing curriculum, preparing resources and more. In a recent volunteer meeting we had, multiple small group leaders expressed gratitude for being able to show up on Sunday with resources already prepared for them. We want all their best efforts directed to kids and their parents. We want the best teachers teaching, the best worship leaders leading music, etc., and that kind of focus is attractive to a potential leader.
Cast a clear, compelling vision
I’ve heard vision described as a solution to a problem, with urgency. What problem is your ministry seeking to solve? What problem does that volunteer role help solve? Why is it urgent? Talk about all 3 components whenever you cast a vision for what should be because of your ministry. Sometimes we think of vision as a statement, or something general, but the best way to share vision with potential leaders might be to tell the real story of a child or family whose lives have been impacted by your ministry. There are thousands more families just like them, and you need more leaders on board to help reach them. You can recruit volunteers without a lot of vision, but if recruiting church leaders is your goal, your vision must be clear and compelling.
Nothing beats a personal ask when it comes to recruiting volunteers. The previous 3 steps mostly set the stage for this one. Get to know as many new people as you can on Sundays and don’t be afraid to ask them to serve. Challenge your best leaders to ask people as well. Make a competition out of it and challenge a group or room of leaders to recruit a certain number of new volunteers. With your staff or your key volunteers, hold a monthly meeting where you share the detailed numbers of your volunteer teams and hold each other accountable for the growth you want to see.