The “Dos” of Recruiting – Part 1

In our last blog, we identified some of the “DON’Ts” of recruiting people for ministry assignments. When we get desperate or in a hurry to find some help, we tend to make common mistakes. So, if we’re going to have a better plan, what should we do? Over the next few weeks, we’ll walk through a number of key steps in the healthy recruiting process.

1. Choose the right PROSPECTS.

Pay attention to the passion and abilities of the people in your church. Good recruiting starts with our prospect list. Are we observing our people? Do we see their hearts in action?

Too often, we start thinking about “prospects” when the need arises to fill a position. Instead, pay attention to possible team members every day. Be watching for the values you see in an individual’s life.

You see, the best form of recruiting isn’t a volunteer search. Yes, we can get a few wins when people come forward, but you’ll have a much better chance of getting the right person if you see ability in some one and step forward to help him or her develop it.

2. Recruit ahead of NEED.

Don’t ask people to fill jobs, invite them to the team. Most churches are looking for tasks, not people. They want a teacher or a greeter or an usher, and from day one, those who help are seen through the eyes of what they do.

Instead, recruit people to be a part of the ministry team of your church. Find the right heart and you can equip people for the jobs needed. But recruit for the job and you may never develop the right heart.

In most churches, there’s a waiting period before getting involved in ministry. We want people to capture the heart of our church before they start doing what they did in a previous church. There’s an “our way” we want them to learn or maybe the delay is so we can get to know them. But most churches don’t make an effort to teach “their way.” And after six months on the sidelines, sideline habits are developed. If I can attend without helping, well…

Recruiting people to be on the team may mean you recruit even when there are no empty spots in your program. You don’t need a teacher or a helper, but you can always add team members. Then they can be trained and equipped for whatever need arises.

Imagine having someone ready to step into ministry BEFORE you need them! That’s what can happen when you recruit to the team. Don’t wait for an empty slot to add people to your ministry team!

3. Recruit people according to CHARACTER, not just abilities.

Again (and again and again), pay attention to the heart. Abilities can often be developed, but the right heart isn’t as easily manufactured. People will be patient with the developing talents of those with the right heart, but even the most talented isn’t useful if their hearts don’t carry our mission.

Years ago, I took a large group of American teenagers to Mexico for ministry. One day, we unwisely challenged a local soccer team to an impromptu game (with a plan to minister to them afterward). Only two of us had played much soccer and we were all wearing jeans and hiking boots, but what we lacked in skill was more than made up in passion. Somehow we tied these far more talented players 1-1. How? Passion always trumps ability.

So recruit people who have shown signs that their hearts can beat with yours. Look for those who are trustworthy and let talent play second fiddle. Select people to do a job and that’s all their ministry experience will ever be to them. But choosing people to express their heart can make their effort everything God has designed our service to be.


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