4 Easy Steps to Recruit Members to Serve

4 Easy Steps to Recruit Members to Serve

Newton’s Law of Inertia dictates that an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Conversely, the same is true for objects at rest—they stay at rest until acted upon.

The Law of Inertia also applies to getting church members to serve. The difficulty is that the longer a church member goes without getting actively involved, the more difficult it is to get them moving. That’s why the sooner you can get people involved, the better.

Here are four easy steps for recruiting members to serve—as quickly as possible:

1. Emphasize service in membership classes

A lot of church membership classes spend most of their time discussing polity and doctrinal beliefs. And while those are really important, it’s critical that you take this opportunity to emphasize what it means to be a member of your community. What can these new members expect from others in a community of faith, and what you expect of them?

When the relationship begins with a clarification that they’re joining a family, it’s a lot easier to ask them to get involved in the future.

2. Communicate service opportunities regularly

Folks in your church shouldn’t have to work hard to see volunteer opportunities. They should be shared everywhere:

  • Weekly bulletins
  • Pre-service slides
  • Announcements
  • Social media
  • Small groups
  • Church website
  • Church app

As often as you can, include an idea of the kind of commitment required with every service opportunity. If someone decides to help out and then finds out that it requires hours more than they were led to believe, it can have a negative impact on their willingness to serve in the future.

3. Save the best jobs for new volunteers

When your staff is putting together volunteer projects, make sure that they identify and set aside some of the most meaningful, simple, or fun opportunities for first or second-time volunteers. These should be used as baby steps to help people discover the joy of serving.
It’s easy for the tasks that are the most fun to be done by staff members and then more of the repetitive and tedious jobs to be given to volunteers. But if you flip that dynamic on its head, you’re going to get a lot more people who are willing to donate their time to serve.

4. Try not to make blanket requests for help

If you stand up during announcements and ask for volunteers to work at the food bank next Thursday, a lot of people who might be willing to do so won’t respond. They might be on the fence, but the blanket request is easily written off when they think, “Someone else will respond.”

If you want people to get involved, you should specifically ask them. Not only is it harder for them to justify saying no, but it’s also an honor to be asked. When you say, “I have this thing that needs to get done, and I think you’d be perfect for it,” they hear, “I was thinking about you.”

Getting Intentional about Recruiting Members

It’s not too complicated to get people involved in serving, provided you’re intentional in the way you go about it. Once you can get your staff and volunteers invested in your strategy for recruiting volunteers, it’s a simple case of working your plan.

Jayson D. Bradley

Jayson D. Bradley is a writer and pastor in Bellingham, WA. He’s a regular contributor to Relevant Magazine, and his blog JaysonDBradley.com has been voted one of the 25 Christian blogs you should be reading.