I typically do not use mass appeals to recruit people for the children’s ministry. I prefer to network with people and seek referrals based on relationships. While my church does give attention to opportunities for large events in our power point announcements before service and in our church bulletin, we always strive to make it a positive, riding the wave of excitement generated by the kids and promotional decorations.
Years ago I requested my pastor never to allow anyone get up on the platform and make whiny appeals about a lack of volunteers. It sends the wrong message. It communicates that something must be wrong if the church is needing to beg. Instead, I prefer to create a stir of excitement by casting vision for an event and then allowing it to spread through the church through networks of people, friend to friend, small group to small group.
Each Spring, we hold annual information meetings for our summer ministries. During these meetings people are given the opportunity to sign on for specific responsibilities. It has become a great recruiting launch pad which yields numerous new volunteers. Some of them stay on past the summer because they had so much fun. The recruiting experience is relational, positive and fun. People tend to stay on longer because they came on the basis of their positive relationships with other adults and they appreciate the support they feel throughout the original commitment. Plus, they realize that children’s ministry is one of the most fulfilling privileges they have ever experienced, especially when they know they are not locked into it and they have all the support they need.
For all of the books on recruiting volunteers that are on the market today, I think it is wise to figure out what works best in our individual churches. Networking and referral works best in mine at this point in our journey.
Some questions to consider:
What works in your church? Why?
What are the long term outcomes of your prevalent mode of recruitment?
How hard is it to retain volunteers as a result?
What is the church’s attitude toward the recruiting methods most recently used?
Are volunteers clearly told the responsibilityexpectations, parameters of authority and expected term of service?
Are volunteers treated as graciously when they choose to resign or cut back as they are when they choose to serve? (Hint: The word gets out on this.)
I invite your thoughts. :)