Recruiting volunteers is nothing less than offering a personal invitation to join God in what He is doing in the lives of children.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen – 1 Peter 4:10-11
When we personally invite someone to join God in what He is doing in kids’ ministry, we are not merely “filling a spot.” Rather, we are helping people engage their spiritual gift and make an eternal impact in the lives of children.
What you want in a Volunteer
Engaged, Called, Equipped, Passionate, Flexible, Relational
Cast the vision, or share the goal, and tell them how you have seen that they seem to have a heart for this mission. Let them know what their role would be. Also, communicate timelines (the beginning and the end) for the commitment.
What you do NOT want in a Volunteer
Just a “warm body” or “crowd control”, Needy, Emotionally Unhealthy, Self-centered
Don’t feel obligated to just take anyone! Pray and search diligently for the right people. A bad hire costs a company thousands of dollars. A bad recruit costs us the spiritual nurturing of a child! Avoid high-maintenance people or people that you have to compensate for over and over (they are always late, don’t call when they’re out, aren’t prepared, aren’t team players). These folks are completely welcome at church, but they should not be mentoring our kids.
Use the bless / need / bless approach to talk to potential Volunteers:
The most important step is PRAYER. Acknowledge that it is GOD who calls people to serve!
He (Jesus) told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field. - Luke 10:2
Ask God to show you who He is calling. Ask Him to open your eyes to the natural gifts He has given to those around you that would be a beautiful fit in your ministry (Romans 12:4-8). What are you lacking that He has gifted someone else with? Who is He drawing? Ask some of your best volunteers who they think would be great in a similar role. Pray over the names they suggest.
After God reveals someone to you, contact them personally. Face to face is best.
Consider the invitation sandwich: Bless/need/bless “Cindy, I am blown away when I hear you talk about the difficult circumstances you grew up in and how God was always there for you. I have a few girls who are coming from the exact same background and I’m having a hard time connecting with them. I can really envision them relating to you. Will you pray about whether God would like you in that role?” Or, “Jack, every time I see you, there are guys around you laughing and having a great time. We would love more godly male role models for our 5th grade boys. I believe that hanging out with you might be the best part of some of our boys’ week. Would you pray about whether God would like you to join our team?”
Who doesn’t want to hear something wonderful that you see in them? The best part is, it will be something that God called to your attention! It’s not manipulation. It is truth.
If someone you've invited is on the fence, or needs more information, send them a copy of this Children's Ministry Volunteers Guidebook we've assembled for them... sometimes a volunteer just needs a picture of what he or she will be doing when they partner with you.
Mass communication is necessary, but it is not the same as recruiting...
Information about volunteering in your email newsletter, church bulletin, or even announcements at church, get the word out. They lay the groundwork by making people aware that there are opportunities to serve. Never beg or plead when you announce open positions; it’s a privilege to serve with kids. In fact, your announcements are best after a great story of the fruit you are seeing. But mass communication is not very effective in getting a response. Sending an email is not recruiting. Personal contact is by far the MOST effective! People take time, but they are worth the investment.