I love the delete key on my computer. If I make a mistake, just one click takes me back to start over. If only it could be that easy in small group ministry. A delete button would allow me to change volunteer recruitment methods I’ve used that didn’t value people or honor their gifts.
Here are some negative recruitment techniques I’d like to delete:
“Last on List” Approach: Does this sound familiar? “I’ve called ten people and they all said no. You’re the last on my list!” How special does that make someone feel?
Little White Lie: This is when you say to the person, “Oh, there’s really nothing to leading a small group … and it won’t take much time.” The message you’re sending is “Any dummy can do it”!
The Guilt Trip: This approach uses statements like “If you want to attend a small group, you have to take a turn being the leader.” The motivation is not the mission—but guilt.
It’s Your Turn: Have you ever been told “All group members take a turn at providing the dessert.” This disregards the person’s unique gifts, interest and needs.
“Buffalo Bill” Approach: This technique charges into the herd and ropes the first live one available. But when you think about it, which buffalo is usually roped with this technique? The slow one! That’s often the case with volunteers, as well.
Do any of these ineffective methods sound familiar? We’ve all used at least one of these techniques when trying to recruit small group leaders. Instead, I’d like you to think of recruitment from a different perspective.
Volunteer recruitment can be defined as a process to attract and invite people to consider serving in ministry. Recruitment is an invitation for people to come talk to you about ministry opportunities. It begins the process of finding out more about the individual (interviewing) so you can match them to a ministry that fits them best (placement).
So how do you invite people into ministry?
Identify Prospects – Make a list of people who have expressed interest and shown support for small group ministry. Start praying for these people, and then send a letter outlining some specific ways they can get involved. Follow-up with a phone call to answer questions and determine where they might best serve.
Activate New Members – New members to your church are often the most excited about involvement. Does your church have a system to identify the gifts, talents and needs of those coming into the fellowship? Make sure small group ministry opportunities are included in the selection of involvement areas. Have a “connector” for this ministry contact those who express interest—and get them involved.
First Step Service – Invite people to try short-term service opportunities to evaluate their gift mix. Instead of making a commitment to lead a small group the entire year, ask them to be a co-leader for a few sessions. Each small group role should have entry points for people to get their feet wet before they dive in. An exciting ministry will draw them to a position that best matches their potential after they’ve had a chance to try it out.
We don’t get a delete button in life—but we can learn from our mistakes. Thank God for a fresh start as you begin your recruiting efforts!