Three Questions to Ask When Recruiting Volunteers by Geoffrey Graff

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Hey, everybody! My name is Geoffrey. I oversee our Family Ministries at Faith Family Church – that’s our nursery, preschool, kids, youth, young adults ministries. It’s been so much fun, and I’ve loved it. And God has blessed us. We’ve quadrupled in those areas! There have been a lot of lessons learned on this journey, and I’d like to share with you three questions you should ask as you work to connect people with the purpose of your ministry departments. These three questions have been very helpful for us, and I believe they’ll help you as well.

I have learned that things don’t go well just because you show up and preach good. Preaching good is awesome and people appreciate it, but people care a lot more about what we can all do together than what you alone can do for them. When I made the mind-shift from “what can I do for people” to “what can we all do together,” it made a big difference. I believe it’ll help you too.

Making a difference together obviously takes teamwork, which causes its own set of problems. You have to learn how to recruit people and, once they’re there, how to retain them. What I’d like to give you today are three questions that I regularly think through to help me connect people to their purpose. If you can answer yes to all three of these questions, you have a good shot at building a strong team and accomplishing more.

1. Do they care? Sometimes we’re working hard about something that may be a personal passion, but those around us might not care about it. I remember how one Good Friday my parents tried to hold a blood drive. My father was like, “Jesus gave His blood, so we’re gonna give ours.” They gave blood that day, and that’s about it. There wasn’t buy-in. People didn’t care. Now, that’s no excuse not to cast vision. We have to cast vision. We have to let people know why they should care. But I’ve come to realize that not everybody’s passionate about the same things, and we have to figure out what they’re passionate about if we’re going to help them really connect with a ministry outlet.

Years ago, I had a friend. He really liked me, so he wanted to get involved with youth group with me. But the more he was there, the more he didn’t like it. Finally, we had an honest talk and he said, “I don’t know if my heart is really passionate about this age group.” And I said, “Okay, what is your heart passionate about?” He said, “I just like to pray. I believe in the power of prayer.” He went on and on and just oozed prayer, so we connected him to the intercessor team. He still serves there. That’s why the first good question to ask when recruiting is, “Do they care?”

2. Am I contagious? Leading things that matter takes work. But, and I very much believe this, just because you’re working hard doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Sometimes we don’t keep people connected because we’re showing up with a list of to-dos. Listen, they don’t work for you. They’re not getting paid. They just want to have a good time and know they’re making a difference. I’ve learned that the hard way. So now I tell my team that, yes, we want things to be excellent, but if something is truly excellent, it will always include joy. If it doesn’t, if it doesn’t include fun and camaraderie, that’s a quick way to lose people. Why? Because life happens through relationships.

Once when I was preaching to our youth, I asked, “Would you rather go to Six Flags Fiesta Texas with your worst enemy, or would you rather sit in detention with your best friend?” The whole group chose detention. Why? People want to be with people they like. They want the environment to be fun and contagious. So are you a leader that shows up, lights up the room, smiles big? If that’s yes, that’s great! You stand a great chance at recruiting and building a team that will last.

3. Is it clear? You see, people can care about it, and you can be contagious, but if you don’t have a good plan of action and it’s not really clear what you’re asking people to do, then people who really care will leave frustrated. I’ve seen this happen a lot. Maybe it’s an event team that’s not prepared. They’re ready to get going but don’t feel like they have direction. They came excited but leave discouraged. We don’t want that to happen.

I would encourage you to read the book, “The Power of Positive Leadership.” It’s so good. The author talks about how every leader needs to carry a telescope and a microscope. What he means by this is the telescope sees what’s far off, what could be. Many times, contagious leaders carry a telescope. They’re motivating, “Look where we can go!” However, the telescope’s not enough. You also need the microscope.

The microscope shows what we’re going to do in order to get where we’re going. That’s part of bringing clarity to your team. You can’t just bring a telescope and say, “This is going to be awesome; we’re going to do this.” You also have to say, “In order to get there, here are the details. Here’s what we’ve got to do.”

If you’re just carrying a microscope, you’re probably not contagious. If you’re just carrying a telescope, you’re probably not clear. We have to have both to connect people to purpose.

One thing that our pastor, my dad, always tells us is, “Ministry should produce passion in you, not pressure on you.” When you start doing things out of obligation, it’s good to stop and ask, “What outside pressures am I allowing to weigh on me? Are they healthy pressures? Are they pressures that God would have me honor? Or are they pressures from other people that I need to stop caring about so much?” The only way you can do that is through prayer. You must keep your prayer life strong to the point where you aren’t focusing on the outside pressure.

Leader, I hope these three simple questions help you like they have helped us. We’re so excited about the growth we’re seeing in our ministry, and our desire is that we hear from you how your ministry is growing and thriving as well!

This blog was created using content from the webinar How to Connect People to Purpose.

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