Have More Volunteers Than You Need – It Starts with Proper Recruiting

We’ve all been there…too many openings in Sunday School leader positions, no one is responding to announcements or mass emails that encourage them to sign up and become leaders.  What’s wrong?

In my experience, it’s the way in which we recruit people to serve as Sunday School teachers and leaders.  There’s no doubt that if you want to enlarge the size of your Sunday School “pyramid,” you need to have a bigger, broader base.  In this case, it’s a bigger, broader base of leaders.  That’s why it’s so important to recruit people the right way.  Years ago I learned the right way to enlist a new leader, and it changed my recruiting practices; I shared this with my age-graded staff members and challenged them to change the way they recruited people.  If I could share one of the biggest, most effective tips I’ve ever learned about recruiting people, it would be:

Recruit People To A Vision, Not to a Job

People are motivated by a great cause.  If you go to a person and ask them to “teach the 9th grade boy’s class,” that’s the wrong way to present the opportunity.  Instead of recruiting a person to the job of “teaching the 9th grade boy’s class,” recruit them to your vision for what that leadership role is REALLY about.  If you want to recruit the same person to a vision, put it in terms like this:  “You have an opportunity to shape the minds of the next generation of fathers and leaders.”  That’s very different from “teach the 9th grade boys.”  What about the role of class secretary in an adult class?  Important role, right?  Typically we’d recruit someone by asking them to “take the role.”  They would be a “record keeper.”  But if you’re the teacher and approach them with a vision for that role, it would make a world of difference in how they view the role and how they respond to the offer to serve.  If I was recruiting a class secretary, I’d present my vision for the role by saying, “I have an opportunity for you to help make certain that no one is overlooked and that all members and guests of our class don’t fall through the cracks; that will also help us keep their children and teenagers from falling through the cracks, too.”  No one likes being the person who falls through the cracks; it’s either happened to us or it’s happened to someone we care about.  Everyone appreciates being ministered to in times of need.  A class secretary keeps vital information about people’s attendance each week and can help the teacher and other class leaders stay on top of absentees before they turn into chronic absentees.

The next time you need to recruit someone to a vacant leadership position, don’t make mass announcements.  Don’t put an ad in the church bulletin.  Schedule an appointment, go to the person, and don’t recruit them to a job…recruit them to a vision, and watch how many will say “yes” to an offer to serve in your Sunday School!

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