6 Painless Ways to Recruit This Summer

You probably need new leaders for the fall,

But recruiting may be the furthest thing from your mind right now!
Not to burst your bubble or anything… the summer is going to be over before you know it and you may be left scrambling for leaders. Last year’s leaders need to be kept on and if you hope to grow, new leaders will be vital to the health of your group!

How are you going to get new volunteers without killing yourself? Here’s a quick list of things to try:

 1. Ask

You have not because you ask not (James 4:3), the book of James states pretty bluntly. Jesus commanded pray the Lord of the harvest to send workers – You may have been praying about all kind of things. Take some time to pray about this one. Don’t be afraid to ask God. It’s his ministry and you are just taking care of it for him for a while.

Asking also means straight up going to someone and asking them to volunteer in the fall. Don’t just go after your recent grads either. Think about going after some older adults. If you don’t ask you won’t give them the opportunity to serve. Whatever you do, don’t wait until they come to you!

2. Invite

Your program may be a little different in the summer. It could be a great time to invite prospective leaders to an event. It is just one event –no life-long commitment.

I have invited godly college students to come along on youth activities in the summer and they had a blast. I had no idea that one of them was musical until he picked up a guitar on the beach and started singing all these worship songs. It was easy afterward to ask him to be part of one of our worship teams.

3. Include

I work with Denise who is a phenomenal recruiter! She has two grown up sons and is friends with other parents with grown up kids. She has found ways to include her friends with youth activities. When the moment is right she pops the question. “How would you like to host a small group in your home.” Over time these volunteers have become pillars in the youth ministry as college students have come and gone.

4. Visit

In my first summer working at a new ministry in a new city, I moved out a month before my family to allow my kids to finish school. I spent the whole month of June doing lunches, coffees, and dinners with potential volunteers. I was worried about which volunteers were going to stay on with me so I visited with them first.

My last question with them was, “Who should I talk to next?” What a valuable question! They led me to people who used to volunteer and friends of theirs who were under-challenged at the church. That month I discovered 3 key families who helped me so much in the years to follow. Those visits were gold!

5. Delegate

If you work with some capable adults you could discover someone like Denise who may be better than you at recruiting friends. In fact, what if you had a few of your volunteers who were always on the lookout for new volunteers? You will get the final call about screening them but if your volunteers use their existing friendship networks to connect with others you are miles ahead in the recruiting process. Summer may be a great time to approach your volunteers about talking to their friends.

6. Offer

On staff at one church I worked at was Dave, the world’s expert on recruiting volunteers. People just wanted to do anything for him. Before I could get to anybody, he already had them involved in his area of ministry. What was his secret?

He offered them a meaningful position. He worked with the idea that volunteering would be great for them. It would give them fulfillment, help them grow, and experience greater joy in their lives. For others he offered the fun and warmth of a close knit team of volunteers. He wasn’t worried about rejection because he believed he was offering them something great. Have you considered what you have to offer beside late nights, loud noise, and junk food? It’s more than you imagine!

 Your Ideas

Those are six quick things that you can work on this summer. We’d love to hear some of the ways that you recruit!

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Ron Powell


Ron Powell is the Adviser to the Director of the Youth Ministry Institute at Vanguard College. He has been involved in youth ministry for over 30 years. He continues to volunteer, write, teach, and speak to parents, leaders and teens. If you would like to contact him you can email ron.powell@vanguardcollege.com