When I think about recruiting volunteers, I think of a big yellow box with the word “Potential” emblazoned across the top of it (Why yellow? Because when it comes to recruiting I try to envision as many happy things as I can!) When I open this cheerfully colored box I see inside it every person who is part of my church. As I look closely I also see that every one of these people fall into one of four distinct groups.
In The Big Box
The first group of people are wearing t-shirts and hats that say “I LOVE KIDS” . These awesome folks are jumping up and down with their hands raised yelling “Pick Me! Pick Me!” I like this group because they often come with their own “object lesson tool kits” and sometimes even provide their own snacks.
The second group of people are those who are looking up at me and casually wondering why I am looking at them. They’re somewhat interested in volunteering but definitely not as fanatical as the first group.
The third group consists of people who are totally clueless that the lid is even open and that I am standing there watching them. For these people, children’s ministry is not even a blip on the radar.
The fourth and final group are those who, the moment I took the lid off, scampered off to the dark corners of the box trying to hide. They are the ones who, for some reason, see me as a threat to their normal everyday life of bliss and happiness.
As I look at these four groups of people my natural inclination is to primarily focus on the first group. Why? Because they make my recruiting task easy and even fun, two words not usually associated with volunteer recruitment.
As for the other three groups? Well I try to get them involved. I either call them (but only when I know they won’t be home so I can just leave a message) or I type up a sincere, heartfelt letter and click the Send button. Beyond that I don’t give them a lot of effort because, quite frankly, when I reach out to them I almost always hear the word NO more than I hear the word YES! And, since I don’t like the indigestion the word NO gives me, I tend to push these three groups out of my consciousness.
Recruiting Volunteers, What Now?
But, to be honest, if I do this it presents a couple of big problems for me. The first is that there just isn’t enough of those “pick me, pick me,” people to cover all the areas I need. The second is that as a church leader (and if you work with kids you are a church leader), God has called me to not only involve those who want to volunteer, but to involve those who don’t want to volunteer as well. And you know what? God has given you that calling too! So this week, when you look for people to ask to serve, don’t just look for those ‘pick me types’, go for the ask when it comes to the other types of people as well – even those who don’t even know you have a kid’s ministry. Biblically, we are commanded not to neglect those other three groups of people.
Now I know that is a bold statement, so before you hyperventilate, in my next blog I will explain what the Bible says specifically about volunteer recruiting.