When it comes to recruiting small group leaders—are you a one-man-band? Inviting people into ministry is an ongoing process and a constant challenge to sustain small group growth. If you’re a solo performer when it comes to enlisting more leaders, consider using an “orchestra-effort” to meet this ongoing need. This removes the pressure off you and puts the task in the hands of people who are gifted to serve as recruiters. So who should you recruit to serve as recruiters?
Look for people who are:
Enthusiastic and have a positive attitude – You want people persons who are upbeat and have high energy. Motivation is caught from those who are excited about the mission and purpose of the ministry. Look for people actively involved in a small group and passionate about how they have grown from the experience. Proverbs 15:30 says, “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones”. People who express joy and enthusiasm in their approach will create a positive impression on the ministry they represent.
Knowledgeable and informed – Many auto dealers require their staff to drive the models they sell, so they can communicate the benefits from a personal perspective. Those who invite others to serve in a ministry position need to understand what the position involves. So look among your current small group leadership team, or those who have led in the past, and allow them the opportunity to share their insights as they invite others to serve as leaders. Recruiters who do not have a realistic understanding of the ministry role may do more harm than good. Giving a false impression of the position (“It’s so easy and won’t take any extra time”.) may get someone to say “yes” initially, only to drop out later when they discover what’s really involved.
Good listeners – A good recruiter spends time listening to people to understand their passion, gifts, and experience. Listening is vital to building trust and friendship. As you move from “filling slots” to connecting people to ministry, you begin to value the time invested in building relationships. In his book, The New Breed: Understanding & Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer, Jonathan McKee says, “The effective recruiter recognizes that getting someone to volunteer is like the dating process. The goal is to get to know each other before you “pop the question” and ask the person to join your volunteer team.” According to a recruiter for the U.S. armed services, for every person who signs on the dotted line, there are typically 1,000 hours of relationship-building activities that have preceded the commitment. Listening is a critical skill to this relationship-building process.
Persistent in follow up – I’m not saying this involves nagging or arm-twisting—but effective recruitment includes follow-up. Recruiters need to contact and re-contact individuals until a decision is made. Contact notes must be recorded for future reference. For example, a no to this year’s small group leadership training, due to vacation plans, may produce a yes for next year’s class. During this process you may discover the person has a desire to serve in another ministry role. Refer this information to that leader and follow-up to make sure the connection was established.
Create a recruiting team of people who are responsible for inviting others to serve as small group leaders rather than being a one-man-band. A team of specialists who focus solely on the vital task of multiplying ministers will bring more harmony to the recruitment process.