Recruiting Volunteers: Who and How to Recruit

The question I get asked most via email and at conferences is always about recruiting volunteers. How do we get more volunteers? How do we keep volunteers? In kids ministry, you need more volunteers than any ministry in the church to know how to recruit volunteers and retain volunteers is essential you will not last without learning this crucial skill.

Ask Don’t Beg.

There is a massive difference between asking for help from the stage of from the bulletin and asking people for help face to face. When I was starting in Kids Ministry, I lost a lot of volunteers, so I started getting desperate and was going to go on the stage to ask for help. I didn’t have anyone I knew who was doing kids ministry, so the only thing I could think to do was get in front of everyone and ask for help. I was all set to do just that, and I felt like I shouldn’t do the bulletin stage ask. I felt like I should ask people personally and ask God personally in prayer. So that’s what I did.

I learned two things. 1. People you ask will serve longer and more faithfully than people you beg. Begging gets immediate results, but in my experience, those people don’t last more than a few months. I have many volunteers that are still serving twenty-one years later that I had initially asked personally. 2. Prayer is your greatest recruitment tool. We try and fix things on our own, but they rarely end up where we hope they would. This is God’s grace guiding us back to his heart. To total dependence on him. Ask people to serve but never forget to ask God to send them.

Who Should I Ask?

The more you ask people, the better you get at knowing who to invite and who we shouldn’t ask. Here are some of the practical things I learned about who you should ask to help in kids ministry.

  1. Dads typically don’t drop their kids off if they do make sure you talk with them. Dads involved in their kids lives to that level are generally great volunteers.
  2. Watch how parents interact with their kids. That will tell you a lot about how they would interact with other kids.
  3. Ask people what they do for work. I have found nurses, stay at home moms, social workers, and teachers all make excellent volunteers in Kids Ministry.
  4. Watch people in settings where there are lots of kids present are they aware of what the kids around them are doing or are they so engrossed in conversation they have no idea what is going on. Those who notice the kids running around are typically good volunteers.

Lead with Vision, not with Need

I remember having a difficult time getting preschool teachers. I had a waiting list in elementary but preschool was so hard to get help. I remember praying and asking God what was wrong with people not wanting to help in preschool. I felt God say as he often does the problem isn’t them it’s me.

I was asking people and essentially saying “I know you are busy, and preschool kids can be a lot but really could use help could you help out.” Not the best way to ask. I felt like in my times of prayer for leaders to lead preschool God says that teaching preschool is a privilege because it is the first time these kids will hear about God ever. If they are in families where they understand about God it will be the first time they hear the Gospel from someone who isn’t a relative. Teaching preschool kids isn’t a favor to be fulfilled but a responsibility and an honor. Lead with vision, not with need.

How to recruit well?

  1. Ask personally don’t beg publicly.

  2. Learn to spot who to ask.

  3. Lead with vision, not with need.

Free Gospel at Center Webinar

In the past several years the word Gospel has become a common term used in church names, book titles, and curriculums. We use the term Gospel but if we don’t understand what we mean by that term the word Gospel alone can become a catchphrase or a catch-all. One of the reasons a few friends of mine started the blog GospelAtCenter.com is because we have a strong belief that the gospel is not something we add to our programming but it is the heart of what we do. It not peripheral but central. The Gospel is the good news of what God has done for us in Christ but that message must not be limited to an Easter altar call. The message of the Bible of God’s redeeming love for mankind should inform shape and transform what we teach how we teach and ultimately why we teach.

Thursday, September 20th we will be hosting a free webinar. We want to invite you to join us in discussing the practical and theological implications of centering your ministry on the gospel. What it means to look at everything we do from volunteer recruitment and leadership development to Bible story delivery through the lens of the Gospel.

Danielle, Jenny, and I will be sharing some of the most important steps we have taken to help lead Gospel-centered ministries, but we also want to answer some of your questions about Gospel-centered kids ministry. The links are provided below and it is all free. Gather your team, share this information with your ministry friends, and let’s focus on what matter most in ministry as we begin this new church year.

Signup for the link to our free Webinar.

Submit a question for the webinar here.

7 sure-fire way to make kids feel welcome in kids church.

Here are 7 things I often tell our uptown volunteers to do to make kids feel welcome in Uptown. If we are not consistently thinking about what we can proactively do to help kids feel welcome, we won’t do it.

7 sure-fire ways to make kids feel welcome in church.

1. Talk to them how they talk to you – If they are shy, you need to be shy if they are outgoing be outgoing.
2. Make fun of yourself -If you can make funny faces or do funny voices that’s always a plus
3. Come down physically to their level to look into their eyes as you talk.
4. Stay up on kid culture – Don’t ask them about “Rugrats” ask them about Phineas and Ferb
5. Give them things – stickers, candy, Bible bucks
6. Learn their names and their parents names
7. ALWAYS greet the kids before the parents

3 things I learned from Infuse: Staff Level Volunteers

volunteer

One of the traps the enemy uses to marginalize leaders is envy. If I only had a bigger building. If I only had more staff. If I only had a bigger budget. The reality is that no matter how we don’t like to admit it none of us are immune from these thoughts. I know that I have struggled with each of these at different points in ministry. I remember having a conversation with a kids pastor who had less kids than we had and had 3 staff members to help. I left the call with this overwhelming feeling of frustration and discouragement. I remember actually breaking out a calculator adding up how many kids we had and what my staff to kids ratio should be.

It was on an Infuse call I asked Jim Wideman at what point is it reasonable to get help. Our church had grown and our kids ministry nearly tripled in a few months. Jim said I could use some help that having at least an assistant seemed reasonable but help never came like I expected it.

Why you need volunteers, why they need you. CPC 2013 Breakout #2

Many of you may have come with questions 

What do I need to do to get more volunteers?

What are some sure fire tried and true methods for keeping volunteers for the long term

How do I get volunteers to come to my training meetings

 

We all start in the wrong place sunday comes every week so we need to get things done so we are consumed by what and how that we neglect the most important question that is found deep within the minds of our volunteers. Why?

“People don’t by what you do they buy why you do it” Simon Sinek”

Most people start with what how then why amazing companies start with why then how than what.

 

Why are you doing what you are doing? 

If you can’t answer that for yourself you won’t be able to communicate that to your team.

Why do you need Volunteers?

  • To release gifts
  • To grow the church
  • To Trust Christ more than yourself.

Why they need you?

– We need to not just grow our volunteers wide we must grow them deep. 

  • To grow them spiritually
  • To pour into them relationally
  • To thank them incessantly

When you go home this week – 

How to focus on the why.

1. Be a better story finder and story teller –

2. Repeat the good – fix the bad (bad stories are funnier and travel faster but they KILL the why)

3. Say it, write it, chant it mime it

4. Pray and seek God for your why moment – don’t make up a why

5. Talk to your pastor find out his why.

6. The why should evoke emotions, in you and in them –  we avoid emotionalism but we need emotions because emotions are the containers that hold truth in a way that it can accessed in the future.

*VIDEO – “The best Job is the hardest job” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NScs_qX2Okk

Whatever your why is. It MUST be found in the WHO and the who is Christ. Whatever you do never forget to bring what you do back to Jesus because if you leave this conference thinking you are going to try harder to be a better leader you will fail. Whatever your why is it will not be accomplished by you trying harder but by you trusting deeper.