Five Simple Steps to Recruit More Volunteers

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I have heard many ideas on how to recruit volunteers, and tried everything from catchy inserts to booths at ministry fairs to pleading from the pulpit, and all have had marginal results. Why? They are impersonal. When Jesus wanted to recruit, what did he do? He walked up to people and asked them to follow him.

If you ask people in your church why they do not volunteer, many of them will say that it is because they have not been asked. So here is the method I have found to be the most productive at finding volunteers:

The Five Steps

1. Have a place to put them.
It sounds obvious, but many times we ask people to show up to something and then have nothing for them to do. Develop several types of roles that volunteers can fill that vary in amount of interaction with students and amount of time required.

2. Start with parents
The people most willing to help with your students are their parents because they have a vested interest in seeing the youth ministry succeed. Ask them first. Then, get leads from you volunteers.

3. Make a specific request
People get frustrated when you offer too much.  Start each volunteer request by asking them to volunteer for a specific task or job (see #1). Wait until they cannot do what you are asking to bring out the whole volunteer menu.

4. Meet and coach
Meet with new volunteers before they begin to let them ask questions, give them an overview of your ministry and tell them your expectations.

5. Trust your instincts!
There are some people you will meet and know instantly that they will click with your youth ministry, and there are others that you know won’t click or worse. It is far harder to let difficult volunteers go than to not ask them in the first place.

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When he is not playing with his four children with his wonderful wife, Jeremy oversees children, youth, and college ministries in addition to leading the evening worship service at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, Al. He is passionate about reaching people with the message of Jesus in a way that engages them with the movement of God. Jeremy is the Senior Editor of the Seedbed Youth Ministry Collective and the author of Reclaiming the Lost Soul of Youth Ministry. You can find a list of all his books, articles and resources for churches at his website: JeremyWords.com

3 COMMENTS

  1. I love your articles. I have a question. I am actually new to the Methodist church and have been given the awesome roll of youth director. We have a very small group of mostly girls.our church has some internal issues, as these are life long members. I find myself optimistic but getting discouraged. A huge issue I have is…none of the patents are involved with youth group nor do they attend church. What do I do to involve people who obviously don’t want to be there? I’m concerned about the example being set by these parents for their children becoming disciples of God. Thank you.

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