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How to Identify Potential Volunteers for Your Ministry

How to Identify Potential Volunteers for Your Ministry

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We need more volunteers! You know there are more potential volunteers out there who have a pulse and can serve in some capacity. You see them filling the worship center every Sunday. But, no matter how hard you try, you can’t get most of those people to serve in your ministry. You are dejected and find yourself wondering how to identify potential volunteers for your ministry when it seems like no one wants to serve.

Frustrating, right?

The problem, actually, might be with us. Think about it for a moment.

It’s kind of like you are in a back room screaming “I need more people!” Except no one hears you. Not a single person. Why? Because if we’re not careful, we default into asking the same people to serve. We don’t ask for referrals. We don’t recruit through our team. We don’t talk to people in-person. Eventually, we keep repeating the need to our family and close friends, but never share the need with anyone else.

Does that sound like you? I know I’ve been guilty of this before.

It’s like we are standing in the back room, screaming “I need more people!” Except no one hears you. But, on the other side of the door, there’s a large group of people, just waiting to be asked to do something. To lead. To serve. To make an eternal difference in the lives of other people. It’s time to bust open that door and let the new volunteers in.

Are you ready to find new volunteers for your ministry? Before you go out and start recruiting, here are a few tips for how to identify potential volunteers for your ministry and how to recruit them: 

The Personal Touch

Think for a moment. What was the best invitation that you ever received? Did someone talk to you directly? Did they complement you or encourage you? What did they say?

Most of us have experienced a strong “ask.” When it comes to asking people to join your ministry team, always be thinking about how you can make your “ask” more powerful through the personal touch.

To do this effectively, we need some ground rules.

Never recruit through email. Rarely (if ever) recruit over the phone. Too many ministry leaders hide behind their computers and make big asks. If you want to effectively recruit new volunteers and motivate people to serve in a ministry, then build up the courage to talk with them in-person.

Over time, these in-person conversations will become more natural to you. Pour your heart into these conversations. Share the vision for the ministry. Personal touch will greatly increase the number of leaders who sign up to serve on your team.

The Power of the Ask

As a ministry leader, you need to gain a mastery of “the ask.” A good “ask” will be a confident invitation to serve in a ministry. It will challenge someone to use their gifts to make a difference for the kingdom.

Let’s compare a few examples:

  • Bad example 1: “Hey, we need help in our kids ministry. Can you just show up once a month and sit in a classroom?”
  • Good example 1: “Hey, we have several weekly serving opportunities in our kids ministry classroom. You connect so well with kids and are so friendly and kind towards others. I think you would be a great fit for our kids ministry team. Would you prayerfully consider serving in a kids ministry classroom as a small group leader?
  • Bad example 2: “Hey, so uh, I know you’re pretty busy and have a lot going on. But, I was wondering if you could serve on our hospitality team once a month. I know you have a lot going on, so it’s totally ok if you can’t. I can ask Joey too if you can’t.”
  • Good example 2: “Hey, we have an exciting serving opportunity on our hospitality team and I think that you would be a great fit for the team, because you are such a warm and welcoming person. Could we grab coffee this week and talk further about this serving opportunity?”

See what a difference there is between these examples? A strong “ask” is a main reason many people signed up to serve in ministry in the first place. Make a strong “ask” and let people decide by themselves if they are interested in serving on your ministry team. Don’t make excuses for them. Encourage them and cast vision for the serving opportunity. Then, let them take time to pray and consider the opportunity.

The Reach of the Team

So your family and close friends already know about all of your ministry serving opportunities (read: open holes that desperately need to be filled). Who else knows? Hopefully your team knows. The funny thing is, most people don’t become recruiters unless you ask them to. So, while your volunteer team might understand that you need more volunteers to start serving ASAP, they won’t go out and recruit unless you ask them to.

Your team is your best recruiting tool. Your team knows more people combined than you ever will. Your team also has stronger relationships than you with many people in your church. They can use those relationships to encourage others to begin serving.

The best part is, hopefully, your team already loves serving in your ministry. Assuming that’s the case, asking them to recruit more volunteers won’t be hard at all. You just need to help them learn how to encourage others and cast the vision to them.

Once you’ve mastered how to cast vision, then start passing it on to your team. You’ll find that their ability to cast the vision with excellence and inspire people to serve can potentially multiply the size of your team.

The Need for Awareness

We’ve talked about several ways so far regarding how to identify potential volunteers for your ministry. But don’t forget another important fact.

People don’t know what they don’t know. It sounds silly, right?

It’s not. One of our main responsibilities as ministry leaders is to communicate the needs of our ministry to the church. If people don’t know that there are needs, then how are they supposed to respond?

Be careful to make assumptions here. Just because you sent one recruitment email doesn’t mean that everyone read it. Or, maybe you even did a Sunday announcement during the worship service. Great job! Just don’t forget, everyone who missed going to church that Sunday still has no idea that you need more volunteers.

Let’s say that you have worked hard and communicated the needs to everyone in the church. That’s a great start, but your work is not yet done. Why?

The average person needs to hear a message seven times before they will take action.

Not once. Not twice. Not three times… but seven times.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who are now faithfully serving in ministry, but it took a lot of “asks” in order to get them on the team.

I once talked with a woman who was passionate about working with kids. She also had extensive experience working with young kiddos. She wanted to serve somewhere in the church. But, it still took three different invites to get her to join the kids ministry team.

Why did it take three times?

Because it took three times for her to be motivated to respond and step up. She wasn’t sitting around thinking about it. She needed some encouragement. After the third “ask,” she finally decided to join the team and our kids ministry team worked quickly to get her involved.

The Motivation of a Powerful Vision

Nothing encourages people to join a ministry team more than to be motivated by a powerful vision. To be a part of something bigger than themselves. To join a team and make a significant difference in the world. A powerful vision can lead people to do amazing things for God.

You have a powerful vision to share. Use it to multiply the volunteers on your team and make a significant impact in the lives of the people you lead.

Were those tips helpful for how to identify potential volunteers for your ministry? Visit the Lead412 Blog for more volunteer tips:

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