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My wife and I bought a car earlier this year, and as you are aware buying a car can be a huge pain. You have sketchy salesman, shady practices, and confusing contracts to deal with. For us though, the whole experience was fantastic because of one employee. The girl who handled the finances treated us with excellence. She was an outstanding employee. She answered all of our questions, worked quickly, and did it with a smile on her face. It was obvious she was one of their best employees.

Every good organization needs better employees like her, and every good church could use better volunteers because better volunteers make better ministries. Unlike a business employee though, volunteers aren’t paid. So how do you recruit the best volunteers? Below you will find six tips to help you do just that.

1. Better Volunteers Want Personal Invitations

Recently, our church had a big project getting ready for our summer Vacation Bible School (VBS). We needed tons of volunteers to build stage designs. A few Sundays in a row someone stood up during announcements and tried to get workers from the stage. After a few weeks of recruiting, nobody signed up. In staff meeting we discussed this problem, and I tried to communicate the importance of giving personal invitations to recruit for help. By the end of the day, I recruited 10 people by texting them and asking if they could help. Almost every single person responded to my request with a yes.

Better volunteers want a personal invitation when you recruit them. This is true for VBS helpers, youth leaders, children’s workers, band members, and every other volunteer position in your church. Rarely will they respond to a mass invitation, but they will respond to a personal invitation.

2. Better Volunteers Require a Vision Not a Job

If you want to recruit better volunteers your starting point should not be a job. Don’t recruit to work in the nursery or help with the tech booth or be a youth leader. That’s recruiting for a job. Recruit great leaders to a vision. A job might get them to come for short while, but a vision will keep them for years. Cast a compelling vision when you recruit them, and keep on casting vision as long as they are on your team.  You do this, and you will never struggle to recruit the very best volunteers.

3. Better Volunteers Work Best in Their Strengths

Recruiting better volunteers requires you to understand how people are wired. One of the best volunteers I ever recruited worked with me in youth ministry for years.  She loved to plan, organize, and lived for the details. Our youth group needed her and her leadership and planning skills. Every year she would organize our golf tournament fundraiser, which raised $1,000s for our students.

A few months before the tournament, we talked through the plans, and I set her free to organize it. If she needed help, I would give it, but her strength was planning.  She used her strength to make our ministry better. What was true for her is true for all better volunteers. They work best in their strengths because God has uniquely wired them. Use their wiring to their fullest potential to make your church and ministry the best it can be.

4. Better Volunteers Need Better Organization

If you are a disorganized mess, you might be able to recruit better volunteers, but you will never be able to keep them. They run away from disorganization. Because the best leaders view disorganization as a sign of dysfunction, and most of them don’t have time to waste with dysfunction.

Band members need time to practice. Small group leaders need to know what they are studying. Children’s workers need to know the procedure if a kid gets hurt. All of these are organization questions you must answer, and if you want to recruit better volunteers, these questions must be answered before you ever recruit them.

5. Better Volunteers Come to Better Cultures

Have you ever worked for a boss that you just loved? You worked harder. It was easy to give a little extra because you always knew your boss took great care of you. Her leadership motivated you even more. Working for her created a great culture in your company or department. The same is true for great leaders. Recruit better volunteers to a great culture and they won’t want to go anywhere and they will work even harder.

Have fun with your volunteers. Pray with them. Build relationships with your team. Doing all this helps your volunteers know they are not just servants filling a position, but they are a part of a team seeking to accomplish a movement of God. Creating better cultures takes time and energy, but it is worth it if you want to recruit better volunteers.

6. Better Volunteers Recruit Better Volunteers

Once you have applied the first five tips on this list, then you will find your better volunteers start to recruit even better volunteers. Your ministry becomes a factory that just keeps recruiting and producing the best leaders. People will want to serve on your teams because they know God is working, and it’s a fun place to serve.

We all know better volunteers make better ministries, but applying the 6 tips in this article doesn’t happen instantly. Recruiting better volunteers takes time, but if you will commit to work hard at recruiting better volunteers, you will reap the benefits of an effective ministry. Don’t give up if great leaders don’t flood to your ministry instantly. Keep on recruiting, and keep on making your ministry a great place to serve.

Pastor Chris Weatherly is an author, speaker, and current associate Pastor at Christ Community Church in central Florida. He currently has one book Built to Last Youth Ministry, and is writing his second book called “What’s Next? Becoming a fully devoted follower of Jesus.” You can find him on Facebook or his website where he writes a weekly blog helping people take their next steps in the faith.

 

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