With fall right around the corner a new season of student ministry is quickly approaching. Many of us have an endless checklist of what needs to get done from writing messages to planning all events. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and I know we constantly think to ourselves, “If I only had a few more ministers this wouldn’t be so overwhelming.” But, where do we get them? How do we recruit? And even if we get ten new ones we feel as if we need a few more. What we need to do is create a culture of personal invites, a culture where we invite people to see more than an hour of volunteering. We get it by painting a picture of vision, but before we paint the picture we need to pray.
It all starts with a prayer. And I know most of us are like, “Well, duh.” But I’m serious pray, but be specific in how many and who you need. If you don’t know the answer to those questions then you need to figure that out. But pray specific and persistent and ask God for those opportunities.
Next comes the ask. There are many of us who have asked people before and we’ve done that through mass emails, or a letter campaign. In a letter or email you can usually paint a picture through the words of your vision, but sometimes the invite needs to be more personal. That’s when we turn to our ministers to recommend someone. They’ll have the capacity to reach out to people you may not know. And while all those methods are important and necessary to do, the most effective way is one that deals with patience.
Doing the Invite. I’ve begun spending my Sundays meeting people in the church, getting to know them, sharing a little bit about myself and then sharing with them a little of what I do. As you get to know them invite them to check out what it is you do in student ministry, then follow up with some time where you can gather their feedback. Do it over a cup of coffee or lunch, but ask them to share with you what they learned about what you do. When you show someone how they are needed they’ll be more willing to invest themselves into the vision you share with them.
So even though we feel like we need ministers now or we can never have enough, it’s important to have patience, to trust that God is working through you and with you. When you take time to paint the picture whether in writing or in person you create a culture where people are invited into the vision.
Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more about his blog Marathon Youth Ministry.