Staffing a children's ministry program 52 weeks a year can be a heavy burden. But recruiting can help the people of your church walk out God's calling on their lives. Taking this perspective helps to lift the burden of the leader who is recruiting. You are not being a pest by asking the person to apply to be on your ministry team. You are actually helping that person fulfill God's calling.
God calls people to serve with their time, energy and money. As a recruiter, you could be the instrument He uses in that process. The people you recruit also may be looking to strengthen their relationships in your church, and your ministry could be the very place that encourages them to get to know others in the congregation as they volunteer. Serving could also allow them to use their gifts in ways they may not have before.
But some individuals who are called to children's ministry may not have had a great experience in the past, so the thought of reconnecting may not appeal. When engaging these individuals, be careful not to take on their offense and let it influence your ministry.
In relaying the need for volunteers, be sure to do these five key things:
- Honor and support church leadership and the senior pastor.
- Show appreciation for church leadership and the senior pastor.
- Display excitement for the church and children's ministry.
- Show confidence in your role as a ministry leader.
- Pray for the church and ministry.
Be careful, too, not to confuse calling with recruiting. It's God's job to call, or summon a person by name, for a particular assignment. It's our job to recruit or gather those who are called to serve in children's ministry. We need to pray for them and come up with strategies to find them. To do this effectively, we must believe in the vision and values of our congregation and understand its climate.
Think about how Jesus communicated. When he was deeply moved by the crowd and had compassion for the people, He told the disciples to pray for workers. Then He led the disciples in such a way that they became the answer to their own prayers.
Jesus didn't send just anyone to the fields for harvest, just as we want more than warm bodies to fill open positions. As we recruit leaders to equip a generation to know God's Word and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, let's be patient and allow God to connect us with those He has called for this particular ministry.
"But when He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them, because they fainted and were scattered, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest, that He will send out laborers into His harvest'" (Matt. 9:36-38).
Lenny La Guardia is executive director of the Children's Equipping Center and vice president of ministries at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri.
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