One of the most frequent questions in small group world is, “How do I recruit more leaders?” Whether your church is just launching groups or you’re many years into the journey, the recruitment of leaders is more often than not a front burner issue. And it’s easy to get discouraged when the leadership gap widens.
While there’s not a one-size-fits-all strategy for recruiting leaders, I’ve found four practices particularly helpful to get the ball rolling and gain momentum.
Practice #1: Informational Systems – I’ll readily admit that the first practice sounds rather boring. There’s nothing flashy about those two words but I’ve found they are essential to recruitment. Practice #1 is all about putting the right systems in place to aid and enhance the recruitment process. These informational systems might include a web-based application or sign-up form, bulletin response cards, an email blast system, web announcements, social media tools, blogging, video messages via tokbox.com, or online surveys. I’ve used all of these approaches to aid the recruitment process. Informational systems do two things: They provide a broad communication system to get the word out and they simplify the process for potential leaders to express interest.
Practice #2: Inspirational Opportunities – The second practice is completely focused on vision casting. Several years ago I heard a pastor say, “There’s a big difference between need-casting and vision-casting. People will always respond to vision quicker than they respond to need.” Think about it. How would you respond if somebody announced Sunday morning, “We need some youth workers really bad. We’ve got all these kids and we need help. It’s only for a couple of hours each week and if nobody volunteers, I don’t know what we’re going to do.” Would you volunteer? My guess is you’d sink down in your seat and pretend you didn’t hear a word. But if somebody stood up and shared testimony of a student’s life that was transformed last week at youth camp, your attention would be glued to the stage. And if they followed up the testimony with a passionate challenge to invest in the next generation, you just might give serious thought to volunteering.
The same principle holds true when you’re recruiting small group leaders. Your job (and more importantly your senior pastor’s job) is to leverage inspirational opportunities to recruit leaders. Whether it’s a church-wide campaign, a leader recruitment Sunday with an inspiring message, a vision night, or helping potential leaders see that small groups come in all shapes and size (lifestage, topical studies, workplace groups, married, single, etc.), identifying the best platforms to cast vision is crucial. Your congregation must hear, see, and feel inspiring vision…not be made to feel guilty by a pressing need.