It’s a New Year!! I love it—there’s something refreshing about a reset! It’s often a time that people tend to make lifestyle changes—some decide to start something new and some decide it’s time for other things to end. This is definitely true as it relates to volunteers in Student Ministry. Some tend to get involved in the new year and some decide not to return for a new semester.
So where does that leave you? You may be a small group leader who is looking to recruit a co-leader, a volunteer looking to develop a team of people to pour into girls, or you may be on church staff and always looking for new volunteers. I think we can all agree…having an abundance of leaders is not the norm! Recruiting and retaining leaders can feel overwhelming at times, but there are some easy things we can be actively and consistently doing!
Recruit Means to Pray, Ask, and Seek.
- PRAY! I know it just sounds like the obvious, cheesy answer for Christians. But seriously, pray! It’s the foundation of recruiting.
- You should pray for the hearts of both your current leaders and potential leaders. Pray expecting God to answer the need for leaders—after all it’s HIS ministry.
- Pray for Him to tug on their hearts and give you the words to say when you approach a potential leader.
- Ask people to serve! Who do you already do life with? Who is in your circle? Asking someone you already have a relationship established with is a more of a natural conversation.
- Share your vision for the ministry and let the potential leader know how their personal qualities would make them great at serving students (maybe as a leader, co-leader, volunteer, and so on).
- If you’re looking to recruit a large number of people, allow your senior pastor to share the needs of your ministry from the pulpit. Many times when a pastor shows buy-in, the congregation will buy-in as well.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your current leaders if they know anyone who would be a good fit to serve in the ministry. It is way less intimidating for a leader to find someone to help them if it’s a person they already have a relationship with outside of the student ministry.
- SEEK out new people! Think outside the box!
- Who in your church completed a “New Members” class recently and is looking to start serving?
- Reach out your college pastor to see if you can recruit college students to serve.
- Ask parents if they would like to serve. Parental participation in schools isn’t requested as much of Middle School and High School aged students since they are much more independent than Elementary aged students. Many parents would love the opportunity to be more involved in things with their kids at this age.
The tips above will be helpful as you recruit leaders. A few final things about recruiting…put yourself in their shoes. Why would people want to serve with you? Be sure to take time to think about your vision and share it with everyone! Recruit and seek people who have the same passion to see girls know Christ. Share your passion and a little bit of your personal story on why you serve, which will help build your relationship with them. Relationships are key when it comes to recruiting and retaining leaders.
Retain Means to Love, Lead, and Listen.
- Love others well! When people feel loved and appreciated, they will stay with you for the long haul. Show your leaders/volunteers that you appreciate them.
- It can be something as simple as writing a note of encouragement to them. (Yes! An actual hand-written note!)
- If your leader misses their time to serve, check in on them. Maybe they sent you a text that they can’t lead small group on Sunday because they are sick, you should check in with them on Monday to see if they are feeling better.
- If they tell you of a life event (death, birth, surgery, moving) be sure to ask them about it when you see them. Honor them by showing that you are interested in their life and not just whether or not they show up for small group.
- Acknowledge their birthday—who doesn’t want to feel loved-on on their birthday?!
- Lead. Lead by example.
- Model for your leaders what you want modeled for the girls in your ministry.
- Show up on time.
- Have small group questions/information to the leaders in a timely manner.
- Respond to their texts/emails promptly.
- Since you shared your vision with your leaders, be sure your actions are consistent with the vision you communicated.
- Listen. Listen to where they say they are most comfortable serving.
- When you need help in your ministry, allow the person to choose what area is the best fit for them.
- Encourage them to serve where they are comfortable and NOT where your biggest need is. Often times people say, “Just put me where you need me” and where you need them may not be the best fit for them.
- Listen to how they see themselves serving in the ministry and place them there. Set your leaders up for success and you have a better chance of retaining them.
In closing, there will be times when you need to have uncomfortable conversations with a leader to address their behavior, clothing choice, or language. By building a relationship, praying for, loving, leading and listening to them, it makes hard conversations a little less uncomfortable. This will also help you retain leaders because you were able to correct and handle conflict from a place of love.
Thank you for all you do to serve in Girls Ministry!
Nikki Tigg is an MTSU grad and currently lives in Murfreesboro, TN with her husband and son. She felt called to serve in High School Ministry in 2012 and led co-ed and girls groups. She has been Student Ministry Associate at New Vision Baptist Church since July 2017. Nikki has a passion for helping girls understand their identity in Christ and loves connecting with students, parents and leaders. She loves spending time with her family, decorating and enjoys an active lifestyle.
Connect with Nikki: Instagram