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You can’t do it all on your own. You might not like hearing that, but it’s true. No matter how talented, no matter how gifted, no matter how much you can believe that you can do everything, you can’t. None of us can. And the sooner you accept it, the better off you’ll be. That’s why you need to take great care of your leaders. From recruitment, to training, to sending them, to follow up and care as they minister, you have the awesome responsibility to care for your adult leaders.

Being called to minister to students is an awesome privilege. Gathering a team of leaders who buy into the ministry and serve well is crucial. But, you don’t want to welcome just anybody onto the team. You want to know who is joining your team.

Early in my ministry career I was thankful to have the help of parents. It was great. But the more serious I became about what I was doing, the more seriously I considered the importance of having solid adult leaders on my team. I didn’t want just a warm body to fill in as a chaperone, I wanted adults who would engage the students, visit them beyond our weekly gathering, take an interest in their life, and do life with them. And for a while, I had to wait for the leaders who met these goals. Thanks to some great advice and a couple helpful books, I was able to use a helpful process for adult recruitment.

So what do I do?

1. Pray.
Pray for your leaders! Ask God for them. He knows your students and the needs that each one has, and he will provide the leaders that you and your students need! So pray for leaders.

2. Meet them.
When a name came across my desk as a possible leader, I always make an appointment to meet them. Often this meeting is just a “get-to-know-you” meeting. I don’t talk about the program, the students, or that I was thinking about them joining my team. I just wanted to meet them.

3. The Ask.
After I’ve had the opportunity to meet them, a second meeting is scheduled for the discussion about the student ministry and the possibility of their partnership. It’s at this meeting that I give them some information about the ministry, an application, and a description of expectations and roles. I want to make sure they know what they are getting into, so I try to give them as much information as possible. 

4. Prayer Period.
After that meeting, I encourage the adult to go and think and pray about their decision. I also encourage them to talk with their spouse (if applicable), because the commitment that I am asking them to take is significant.

5. The Visit.
During this early period, I invite the potential leader to come and visit the ministry for a couple of weeks so they can get a sense of what the ministry is all about. 

6. The Application.
I ask all my adult leaders to complete an application and rerun it to me. The application helps me to continue to get to know them. It’s a simple form that asks for their contact info, some questions about their faith, and a few references to help with character. 

7. The Follow Up Interview.
Before we make it a deal, there’s one more meeting/interview after I’ve reviewed the application. This gives me a chance to ask any follow up questions I might have. It also gives the adult the opportunity to ask whatever questions they might have.

8. The Commitment.
If after all of this we both find that this is a calling for them, we get them started with one of our veteran leaders. I ask for a 3 month trial period after which I check in with our new leader. If all goes well, I ask for a year long commitment.

It might seem like a lengthy process, but my goal is to recruit solid leaders who are ready and willing to be fully engaged with our program. So, I am willing to take the time to make sure these leaders are the leaders I was praying for from the very beginning.

How do you recruit your leaders? What does your recruiting process look like? What books or resources have helped you develop your recruiting strategy? Share your recruiting process in the comments below.

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