We want the right people serving so that our kids can come to know, love, and follow Jesus.

Recruiting volunteers is one of the greatest challenges as a children’s ministry leader. What would our recruiting look like if we began to invite instead of beg, place instead of assign, and pray instead of hope?

Here are 7 ideas to help you get better at recruiting!

7 Ideas for Recruiting Volunteers

1. Relate, Don’t Simply Recruit

As we all know, ministry happens best through the context of relationships. So, connecting to people should be a top priority when recruiting. When relationships are in place, we better know one’s heart, gifts, and desires.

And when we better know people through relationship, we better know what it would look like to intentionally place them in our ministry. We’re better equipped to ask them about a role that would fit to them, not the opposite.

2. Rethink the Mass Appeals

The effectiveness of a mass appeal from the main stage is typically minimal at best. The follow-through from these kinds of asks is either low or temporary. It’s an appeal to get warm bodies to help—not to equip leaders for ministry.

When we can make requests to members of our congregations through one-on-one interactions, it’s more personal and relational.

Although there are times where mass appeal is appropriate, it’s important to make sure the majority of our ministry asks are personal and personable.

brother and sister hugging
Credit: Getty Images/DigitalVision/Jose Luis Pelaez Inc

3. Respond to Questions

One reason people may not want to serve is because of a false understanding of what is required of them. They may be intimidated by what they believe you’re going to ask them to do. They might even be underwhelmed at times.

It’s important to make sure the majority of our ministry asks are personal and personable.

So be sure to encourage questions and make sure you respond fully to them. As they ask questions, be sure to clarify expectations, so they can make an informed decision before committing or saying no.

One resource that helps answer questions is to have ministry role descriptions available so they know exactly what your expectations are in advance.

4. Communicate Actively and Appropriately when Recruiting Volunteers

Do you have any families at your church who have offered to serve in your ministry, but you just didn’t have a place at the time? Be sure to communicate with them actively. They need to be seen and heard. Work to create a place for them as you are able.

How encouraging it is when people want to be active participants in God’s Church!

It’s important not to wait until just before you need people. Communicate early and communicate often. If there is any indication a person is willing to serve, appropriate follow-up communication has to be our priority.

5. Design Roles to Meet Gifts and Abilities

It’s easy to get into the pattern of cookie cutter ministry descriptions, but they rarely match a person’s unique abilities and passions.

As we look at the roles we need in our ministries, rewrite the descriptions to maximize your volunteers’ strengths.

As you lean into their gifts, their service will be more effective, they will be less likely to burn out, and they’ll have a desire to lead! It’s so important that we are willing to redefine roles as needed.

There are free tools that can help you with this too. A quick search will show you ways to scope gifts!

6. Don’t Guilt Anyone into Serving

It’s important that we don’t try to force fit anyone into our ministries—no matter how dire the need for help. We have to trust that if someone is walking with God, they will sense if they are led to serve in children’s ministry or not.

Even if done unintentionally, guilting someone into serving won’t keep them around very long. And it honestly might take them away from where they should be serving.

Be tuned in to the Lord and follow after Him!

mom and daughter reading on couch
Credit:Getty Images/Stone/MoMo Productions

7. Evaluate Your Current Leaders when Recruiting Volunteers

In order to have a healthy approach for recruiting volunteers, it’s important to have a healthy ministry. And sometimes you’re going to have volunteers who become problematic. It’s okay to evaluate and remove volunteers lovingly and appropriately.

We want the right people serving so that our kids can come to know, love, and follow Jesus.

We need leaders in our ministries who are on board with the vision and mission. We need to avoid those resistant to leadership, those who gossip, or those actively undermining leadership.

As hard as these conversations might be, it will make space for the right people to flourish in your ministry.

The best method of recruiting that we could give you is retaining the leaders you already have. Proactively engaging people in relationship is key!