The Equipper Newsletter -- September 10, 2007

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The main article, "How to Recruit," is below. Also available: a "How to Recruit" handout on the 'Recruiting' page of

Listen in: Through the world of blogging, I came across a fascinating conversation among volunteers who do websites for their churches. They're discussing whether or not it's better to do such work as a volunteer or for pay. Though the conversation is two years old, the initial posting to which they're responding is no longer available, and the name of the website is one I wouldn't endorse (though the site's purpose is worthwhile), I feel their comments might reflect those of a good many volunteers, though they're unlikely to express them so freely to church leaders. See what you think. Here's the link.

Speaking of blogs: I decided to try blogging as another way of starting conversation about how we work together in the church. The blog is on my website. I'm just learning how it works, so suggestions are welcome. I understand it's possible to sign up to be notified when something is added to the blog. If you have questions, email me -- and I'll ask someone who knows more about it than I do!

Good reading:

FYI: The Resource page of has been reorganized by topic. Topics include Why Equipping, Job Descriptions, Supporting Volunteers, Problem Volunteers, etc.

How to Recruit

It doesn’t take much reflection to conclude that using guilt or desperation, pleading or pushing to recruit church volunteers is less than effective. Most church members ignore it and go about their business. And even when it works, it’s both unbiblical and unhelpful. It works like a pack of wolves encircling a herd of buffalo--the weak become the prey.

To recruit well, think of recruitment as extending an invitation. When you want to recruit Sunday School teachers, you are inviting people to serve in that position.

An invitation

The invitations we value are personal ones. A friend phoning to invite me to lunch is welcomed. The gold-embossed letter from an unknown financial services company inviting me to a free dinner goes right in the trash.

The church bulletin announcement serves as a general invitation, but its usefulness is limited. The larger the church, the more likely people will either skip right over such an announcement, or, if they read and consider it, will conclude, “There’s plenty of people here who are more qualified than me or who have more time than I do.” A personal invitation via phone or individual email or, best of all, face to face, creates a more thoughtful response. It certainly involves more time and effort, but is much more effective.

Who to invite?

I’m more likely to accept an invitation to a book discussion than to a pool party. Those who know me could tell you I love to read but am not a fan of swimming.

Each person in our church has their own likes and dislikes, skills and abilities, spiritual gifts, schedule, work and family commitments and favorite desserts. Invite people based on what you know about them and tell them why you’re inviting them. “Your spiritual gifts would be a blessing in this position.” “Mary says you’re great with kids.” “I saw your organizational skills when you helped with the rummage sale.”

To find individuals for your invitation list, ask key leaders (staff, small group leaders) and people who know people in segments of the congregation with which you’re not as familiar—seniors, full-time homemakers, high schoolers or businessmen, for example—to prayerfully consider who they know with the gifts to be a blessing in the position for which you’re recruiting. When one of these contacts recommends someone, mention who and why when you contact the person. Invitations from someone we know are better received and more thoughtfully considered.

Click here to finish the article, which includes these sections:

Do you have recruiting stories or resources to share? What has worked for you, either as recruiter or recruitee? If your experience might be helpful to other leaders of volunteers, email God can work through our experiences to help others.

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