You have likely heard that you can’t do effective ministry as a lone ranger. I feel that it is a given that we should do our best to recruit Godly adults who love God and love students. But, getting leaders is not always easy no matter how long you have been in ministry. However, over the years I have adopted some strategies that work for me and make the process much easier in the long run.
Here’s what I do:
1) Pray – I know, I know, too simple, but let’s be honest, do we ask God to send them or do we try to search for them? There’s a difference.
2) Recruit Now: It’s March and I am recruiting now for the Fall. Why? People tend to have a ministry ‘mindset’ now rather than in the late spring or summer. Also, I find that many need to make way for ministry in their schedules. Planting seeds or asking now, helps them to clear time and also have plenty of time to consider and sit on the idea.
3) Ask Existing Leaders: Every leader that commits to a year of youth ministry with me agrees to be proactive in recruiting others for ministry. The great advantage for leaders who have been in the trenches is that they can identify good leaders who will fit our chemistry better too. Currently, approximately half of my leaders I have come from other leaders who helped me recruit. Howard was a guy I personally recruited since he came on a retreat once with me and I saw great potential in him. His first response was: Are you sure I am the guy you are looking for? Since then, Howard has been a faithful and great youth leader… However, here’s how he’s impacting recruiting leaders: In the last two months there are three guys who Howard has personally talked to who have come to me.
4) Ask Students: Have you seen the movie ‘Mr Deeds’? Have you seen the clip where ‘Emilio’, his trusty valet, exclaims, I am very crafty sir… This is what you become when you ask students to help you recruit leaders. I have found that some of my best leaders did not even consider being a youth leader unless a students asked them. Even if I, you paid youth guy was to ask them, they would likely still say no. However, I often give my students a healthy framework to work within, and ask them, so, who do you think would make an awesome leader? Next is the really crafty, but of course, ‘affirming’ part: I have students ask the leader. Most times, it is a question of potential volunteers needing to students to believe in them…
5) Vision Casting: People come for a vision not a need. Telling people how God is amazing in bringing so many new students into the ministry is a good start. People want to be a part of a winning team, not part of a team that regularly makes announcements in the bulletin. I try to use as many conversational and ‘up front’ opportunities to talk about the great things God is doing in the life of students. My common line is: If God keeps doing what He is doing, I am going to have to ask Him to send me more youth leaders… do you know any?
6) Ask Personally: Again, this might not sound like rocket science, but I have to ensure that this is on my radar constantly. As I pray for God to send people, am I looking out for them? I am asking them personally? Do they know that I have noticed their potential? As mentioned, Howard was one of those guys. He loves to share the story with other potential volunteers and let them know that they might be sure about it all, but once they get plugged in, they will love doing youth ministry…
What do you do? How are you doing getting leaders? What is one idea you could try to recruit youth leaders?