Kenny and I are loving being a part of Orange Tour this year! We’ve been teaching a couple of breakouts here and there, so I thought I’d share a bit of our outlines. Lots of the content from today’s breakout comes from our book Creating a Lead Small Culture, so grab a copy if you’d like to dive deeper into any of the ideas we mention here. 

RECRUITING BETTER LEADERS

No one has enough small group leaders. No matter how many you have, you’ll always need more.

But no matter how badly we need more SGLs, we can’t recruit just anyone to be an SGL. We need the right people influencing kids, because if you want to make a difference in the next generation, you’ve got to get the right people on board. You’ve got to start with the right team. You’ve got to win before you begin.

 

YOU WIN BEFORE YOU BEGIN WHEN…

YOUR BEST LEADERS RECRUIT YOUR BEST LEADERS

Focus Your Efforts. Large-scale announcements or recruiting campaigns in “Big Church” rarely work. Instead of casting a wide net, focus on a more targeted group of people by asking your current SGLs, “Who do you know?”

Trust Your Leaders. When you inspire your current volunteers to join you in the recruitment process, you expand your network and show them how much you value their input.

Invite, Don’t Announce. Your best leaders probably won’t be the people who respond to a generic ad in the bulletin. They’ll respond better to a personal invitation to join you in meaningful ministry.

 

YOU WIN BEFORE YOU BEGIN WHEN…

RECRUITING IS A PROCESS, NOT AN EVENT

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if you could compartmentalize all of your recruiting to just one event per year? Well, sadly, you can’t. Recruiting works best when it’s a year-long process. It should always be on your radar. Try to get it on your calendar every week – to make a phone call, schedule a coffee date, or ask an SGL, “Who do you know?”

Recruitment isn’t just a year-long process, it’s also a multi-step process. In general, here’s the process we recommend.

THE 6 STEPS OF RECRUITMENT

 1. INVITATION. Ask BIG! There are people in your church just waiting to do something that matters.

2. ORIENTATION. Once someone expresses interest, orient them to your ministry. You might do this one-on-one, or in a group. However you do it, there are 4 things you’ll want to do in an orientation.

Revisit the vision of your ministry.
Familiarize them with your environment.
Communicate the expectations and commitment.
Let them make the next move.

3. APPLICATION & BACKGROUND CHECK. If they’re still interested after the orientation, let them make the next move by filling out an application. Their application and references will help you understand their personal and spiritual history. Their background check will reveal any criminal history. Don’t skip these. Please.

4. INTERVIEW. Next, schedule an interview. It’s your last chance to screen them before they interact with a kid, so take it seriously. Here are 3 things to do during an interview.

Hear from them. Let them tell their story. Listen to see that they’ve understood the vision and are serving out of the right motivations.

Let them hear from you. This isn’t a corporate interview. This is the beginning of a relationship. So get to know each other. Moving forward, you will pastor them so that they can pastor kids.

Consider their placement. If, during the interview, you sense that being an SGL just isn’t for them, it’s time to begin directing them to another area of service.

5. TRAINING. If you’re sure they’re someone you’d like on your team, then go ahead and start training them… before you let them serve. Revisit the stuff you talked about during the Orientation, but get more specific. We recommend having your training materials in print, and asking them to sign an “I understand and commit” document at the end. (We’ve got a Volunteer Handbook over at the Stuff You Can Use Shop that would come in handy for this.)

6. APPRENTICESHIP. After they’ve been trained, there’s one more really important step. Let them be apprenticed under a veteran leader until they’re ready to go out on their own.

 

YOU WIN BEFORE YOU BEGIN WHEN…

YOU CREATE A PLACE WHERE LEADERS WANT TO BE

Do your SGLs love coming to church? Are they having fun? Do they like each other? Do they feel prepared, trained, supported, heard, valued?

If you want excellent leaders, you need to create an excellent culture of leaders first.

Your best recruitment tool isn’t a compelling video or awesome social media campaign. Your best (or worst) recruitment tool is your volunteer culture.

When you care for your SGLs, you model what it looks like for SGLs to care for kids.

 

So to recap. You win before you begin when…

Your best leaders recruit your best leaders.
Recruiting leaders is a process, not an event.
You create a place where leaders want to be.

When you make these three things a habit, you’ll recruit better leaders who will, in turn, recruit even more better leaders.

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