Email blasts, announcements from the pulpits, and flyers on car windshields are only a few of the methods we have tried when it comes to recruiting ministers.  It can be a painful process because the idea of hearing, “NO” breaks our heart and leaves us hopeless.

If you want to successfully recruit volunteers for your youth ministry you need to KEEP IT SIMPLE.  That means making the process less intimidating and frustrating.  To be successful at this you need to:

Give Them A Test Drive – Ministry can be intimidating, especially with teenagers.  Many reasons people will turn you down is because they think it’s all in or nothing.  Allow them to witness and shadow a night of your ministry.  Sit down with them afterwards and invite them back for another try if they are unsure.  A non committal test run, takes away the fear of signing their life away.

Eliminate Surprises - With the growing need for paperwork and background checks getting involved in ministry can be like taking out a mortgage on a house.  This can be shocking to someone who just wants to serve teens.  Make the process simple and clear by laying out the steps they will need to take ahead of time.  This way they won’t be caught off guard when you say, “Welcome to ministry, now let’s go to orientation and training.”  Clear expectations allow them to walk in confident in your leadership.

Share The Vision – Ideally you want your volunteers to serve once a week, every week for an entire year.  If possible you want them for more than just a year.  That’s a lot to chew; therefore, give them a vision of what happens when they invest in the ministry.  Share with them testimonies, give them a window into your passion and let them know that it’s more than just chaperoning.  Help them see WHY so they can see past the HOW.

Get Their Input – Once they commit and begin serving, follow up with them.  This way they’ll know you are happy to have them on board as a team player.  Not only will they feel included in your ministry’s mission, but you’ll gain insight you’ve never heard before.  Sitting down with them to hear their thoughts will affirm their decision to serve alongside of you.

You need ministers and it will always feel like you cannot get them fast enough.  Be patient and develop a system so that when the mass communication hits the air waves you are prepared to bring them along.  While you will still hear, “NO” from time to time, you won’t make the process as painful as going to the dentist.

What steps would you add?  How do you recruit volunteers into ministry?

Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)

Summer time is a season full of dreams and big ideas.  Despite programming we tell ourselves, “This will be the summer I…”  And we feel good about this, because going into the summer we feel like we have more time and energy.  In reality nothing could be further from the truth.  Your calendar changes, and in some cases becomes busier.

Summer is supposed to be a time when we follow through on our ideas and set goals to achieving them.  However, as your time disappears before your eyes you wonder, “How are any of my ideas going to happen?”  It’s a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness; however, to make ideas happen you need to:

Create Steps: If a dream is too big, it will always seem daunting.  Look at creating mini mile markers to achieving it.  When you reach each step, celebrate because you are one step closer.

Write Them Down EVERYWHERE: When you write it down you are more than likely to remember.  The idea is no longer a wishful thought; but a tangible initiative.  Write it down in places where you will frequently see it, so that you don’t lose site.

Make Them Public:  There is nothing better than accountability to help you towards your ideas.  By making it public you are giving permission for people to ask you, “What happened to that Facebook page you said you were going to create?” or “I thought you said we would have new t-shirts this fall.” It might be humbling; however, it’ll keep you from falling away.

Delegate: You might come up with many ideas; however, have a hard time executing them, that’s okay.  If you find creating goals is easier than following through on them, find people who are workers and doers.  Build a team around you that’s going to carry your ideas through the mundane paperwork, charts and spreadsheets.

Creating goals and building dreams is an organic process that needs to be continuously moving.  Sometimes we come up with 75% of a great idea and the tendency is to kill it.  Write it down and don’t be afraid to look at it later.  Ideas are organisms, just like you and me they need to grow.

How do you help your ideas grow?

Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more great youth ministry articles and thoughts on his exceptional blog Marathon Youth Ministry.