I work on the staff of a multi-site church. We have three locations and will soon have a fourth. One of the big challenges in any growing organization is people development. In the non-profit and church world we often talk about recruitment and finding the right people and adding them to our ministry teams. Many of our staff have been asking for help in recruiting better. This is vital as you have more people attending the church, that means more children and teenagers and adults to lead. That takes a lot of volunteers to do it well.
I think that trying to be a better recruiter is the wrong mindset or perspective. As I think back on my last 10 years in ministry I don’t think I would call myself a good recruiter. If that is your mentality, you tend to focus on what people can do for you and help serve in your ministry. Every person you meet you are evaluating to determine if they could be a good fit in your area of ministry. People sense that pretty quickly and are often turned off by that.
The right mindset or perspective is to think about people development. In order to attract people to your ministry there needs to be several things in place:
- First it starts with your own personal development – If you are not growing, you will not be able to attract and develop other people. In order to grow, you must have a plan. I like to use a Life Plan model that I discovered in the book “Becoming A Coaching Leader” by Daniel Harkavy. This plan looks at all the important areas of your life and helps you develop a set of goals in each area and then helps you take action on those goals. Michael Hyatt has a great article and resources on his website about this Life Plan system, check it out here – Life Plan
- Second, you need to identify your inner circle – This is the group of people that get the vision and mission of your ministry and are actively involved. This could be key leader’s or people that have influence and are willing to tell you the truth. This is the group of people you should meet with regularly and invest in. Do a book study with them, ask them questions and involve them in your decision making process. These are the people that will attract and invite others to join them in the vision and ministry.
- Third, you need to regularly meet with people one-on-one – I first learned this in the business world. I worked as a banker early in my career and learned quickly that people will do business with me and even pay a little more interest or higher fees if they like me and feel that I am serving them well. I would take people to lunch, golfing etc and get to know them and their families. I would meet them at their business or home to make it more convenient for them. Now when I meet with people one-on-one I don’t go in with the mindset of getting them to volunteer, its more to get to know them and let them get to know me. I have the mindset of how can I serve this person and help them grow.
- Fourth, you need to be willing to ask – Depending on how my meetings go with people I ask them to consider serving, giving or joining. I don’t do this too early in the relationship, however I will mention things that I think they would be good at based on what they talk about. Once I have built a rapport with someone I am not afraid to make a big ask and challenge someone, but only when I have change in my pocket with them.
- Fifth, Don’t get discouraged when people are not ready – Some people are not ready to make a commitment. People have been burned before or are over committed and need to say no to some other things before they can say yes to you. Keep meeting with them and investing in them, even if they are unwilling to commit. If you think long-term you will end up with some great leader’s. The best leader’s are often reluctant to jump right in.
- Lastly, when someone joins your team know how to lead them – Some people need lots of attention and coaching. Others need little supervision and just occasional encouragement. Leader’s, though want to be able to make decisions and be a part of the process. Knowing how to lead each person is vital to their growth and level of commitment. You cannot lead everyone the same way.
More people will join your team because they like you than any other reason. Knowing this is huge, because if you are not likeable or approachable it will be difficult to attract people around you. If that is a struggle for you find some resources that can coach you on being likeable. A great book on that topic is “The Likeability Factor” by Tim Sanders. You also need to make sure that your ministry or organization is organized and well run, because people will get very frustrated if you are flying by the seat of your pants. That may feel exciting to you, but you will lose a lot of volunteers if you don’t pay attention to details and strategy or if you don’t execute well. Part of that is allowing gifted volunteers to lead you in areas you are weak. That takes humility, but it can make a huge difference in the people you attract.