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)

Is your youth ministry original?  Feels like it needs to be, doesn’t it?  When your ministry is original, it’s fresh, and exciting.  In fact isn’t the reason teens leave your ministry due to the fact that you aren’t wowing them anymore?  Yes and no.  While originality is important, it isn’t the only way to shape your youth ministry’s identity.  In fact if you can REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE what you already have, you’ll create capacity to do more.  It’s not always about the activities, message or curriculum present.  It’s about the environments and relationships you set-up.  Unfortunately, if you are constantly worrying over new content and new ideas, you’ll miss out on some of the most important aspects of youth ministry.

To create more capacity, to focus on what’s important you need to make sure that originality isn’t standing in the way.  When you reduce, reuse and recycle it gives you margin.  This is how:

REDUCE: Clutter is one of the biggest obstacles to creativity.  In order to free up new ideas you need to go through your files and folders and throw away the ones that have been lingering around for too long.  Sitting in messiness is also a recipe for a cluttered mind.  If you have time clean your desk, your office and reduce the amount of distractions pulling you from your projects.  To reduce in your ministry create systems when you are storing ideas and then cleaning inboxes, file cabinets and desktop folders.  A weekly habit is best.

REUSE:  Don’t be afraid to duplicate your efforts, especially if it worked before.  It’s easy to just toss something away after you’ve spent hours and days working hard on it; however, before you toss it, archive it instead.  There might be a time when you need to use that same message, that same exercise or activity.  In fact look to pass it on and share it with a youth minister friend who could benefit from your hard work.  It will save time and energy the next go around.  To reuse without sabotaging you reducing efforts, give your reuse folder an expiration date.  It’s on that date you can determine if this idea or activity is still useful.

RECYCLE: Outsourcing is one of the best ways you can do something new.  There are so many people out there with great ideas, willing to share them with you.  In the end you don’t always have to be original.  If you can take an idea here and another there (With permission) and work them together, you’ll find something fresh.  To recycle properly just break the outsourced material into components, separate them and answer the question, “What can I adapt for my ministry?”  Maybe it’ll work well with another resource, but don’t be afraid to try.

When you can save yourself some time on creativity you can give yourself more margin.  When you have this margin you can pour into your leaders, the students and parents of your ministry.  As a leader you don’t have to spend your time sitting behind a desk trying to come up with something new.  Look to your fellow youth workers and to what you’ve done before.  Make sure you set yourself up for success by taking away the junk.

How do you reduce, reuse and recycle in your youth ministry?

Chris (Twitter)