I think it’s safe to say, that across the board in ministry there always seems to be a shortage of volunteers. Is that true of your church? I don’t think that is always a problem. At times of growth in your church, you will probably be in need of more leaders to step up and volunteer. But, there are times when a shortage of volunteers turns in to a necessity of volunteers, which in turn can lead to a desperate plea for help. In these times, how do you recruit effectively? And how can you avoid recruiting the wrong people?

The first thing you need to understand is that it’s better to put someone in a role than it is to just plug a hole.

Plugging a Hole looks like this:

Many times, the first response is to say, “We’ve got so many needs for volunteers to fill, let’s just have a cattle call and get as many bodies as we can.” This leads to taking in any person without regard to their skills, talents, and passions. This type of recruiting may solve the problem for a few weeks, but the solution will only last temporarily. Recruiting to plug a hole is like trying to stop the water flow from a fire hydrant with duct tape (I’m a redneck, we rednecks know that duct tape works can fix a multitude of problems…but not this problem). When you recruit just to fill a hole, you will constantly be in the vicious cycle of the revolving door in your ministry. The people will come in to volunteer but will quickly revolve out.

Filling a role looks like this:

1. Relationships – Invest relationally into the people who attend your church every Sunday. When you take the time to care enough to have a meaningful conversation, get to know the people who come to your church, and look to equip them and place them into a volunteer role, you can better put them into a role that will give them an outlet to serve in an area where they are passionate and talented.
2. Accountability – When you personally know the people you are recruiting, there is a deeper level of buy in. They know your expectations and your heart for the church you lead, and you are quick to send an email, a text, or make a phone call when you know that the person wasn’t there.
3. Leadership – When you recruit to fill a role, you are looking for a very specific person who can lead and influence others. You don’t recruit to just plug the leak, instead, you search for just the right person for just the right role that you have available.

You should know that you aren’t the only church or ministry in the world who has a need for volunteers. But, you can be the church who recruits volunteers to fill a role that they are talented and passionate about. Don’t just desperately try to plug a hole to stop the leak. A band-aid doesn’t work on an amputation…it’s not smart to try to plug holes in ministry. Find the leader who will carry the vision and lead well.

How do you find great volunteers?

How does your church place volunteers based on their passions and talents?

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