Seven Crucial Questions Before You Recruit a Volunteer

When you are considering recruiting someone for a role in your ministry, the process doesn’t begin with you asking someone to jump in to what God is doing in your ministry.  There are a few things you need to do, alone, before you ever approach someone and ask them to sign up.  Getting these things right first goes a LONG way in making sure you recruit the right people for the right spots!

The first thing you need to do is Identify the Right Roles for people.  You’ve got to pray, think, and plan before you can ask, build, and train.  Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Why does your ministry matter?  No, really, why does it matter if the ministry you oversee happens or not?  This is true if you’re a senior pastor, a teacher in the 3’s / 4’s class, or a worship team leader.  Why does it matter that the ministry exists?  What is God wanting to do that requires your ministry?  Answering these questions will hone your vision for your ministry.  But be sure you can give a simple, clear, answer for people.
  2. Why do we need to create roles for people?  You know why God has your ministry in place, but what about the job you want to ask someone to take on.  Why are you wanting that job to exist?  Is it vital to the ministry?  Is it something that has been around for years, but may not be necessary anymore?  Is it a position that the cool church you respect so much has on their org chart, so it must be good for you to have one too?  Work hard to define why this role moves your ministry forward.  If you aren’t clear, no one else will ever be clear on it either.  Don’t ask people to serve in roles that don’t matter.  People are too valuable for that.
  3. What are the things you need to be healthy today?  This one goes along with #2.  What are the needs of the ministry, that maybe you haven’t considered yet?  If you created some admin roles, or counseling positions, or mentors, or activity leaders, or …..  What might you need to add to your ministry to make it really hum in the model you are using right now?
  4. What are the things you will need to move to a better ministry tomorrow?  Yep, you need to pray and dream.  Where do you need to go tomorrow to reach more people in a healthier way than you do today?  Your ministry needs to change.  All ministries need to change and grow into new areas.  What would that look like, and what would be the new roles you need to get there?  Write them down.  Don’t worry that you’re not fully staffed for today.  Look to tomorrow.
  5. What are the realistic expectations for the role?  If it’s an existing role, re-evaluate what you expect from people if they are to succeed.  Are you underestimating the number of hours a week it takes?  Does it require skills today that it didn’t two or three years ago?  If you’re creating a new role, what will it take to get it done?  You REALLY need to write this out, and pass it to a couple of other people in the know to get their feedback for this one to hum.
  6. How will you communicate the role / values / goals / expectations to someone new?  It needs to be in writing.  I know, I know, you don’t like to write things out.  It’s too stiff, too formal.  Honestly, get over it.  It’s only as boring as you make it.  Write it with passion and story.  But write it out.  Get a plan to communicate brilliantly.  Someone around you is good at this.  Ask for their help.
  7. How will you prioritize the roles you will recruit first?  Now that you’ve got this beautiful written list of dream jobs for all of these unknown people, get a plan on what you’ll go after first.  Are you going to recruit for the need today?  Will you start with what is easiest to find?  Are you going to seek out the people who will help you start building for tomorrow?   All of these are good options.  You have to pick what is top priority, and move on those first.  Otherwise, you’ll wander all over your list, and get yourself spread too thin when you actually start adding people to your team.  Get a plan, and work it.

What else would you add?  Any you’d disagree with?  Hopefully this will give you a good start.