10 Hacks To Up Your Volunteer Recruitment Game

Bryant Westbrook
August 28th, 2020

The awesome thing is that I’ve found that people want to serve; they just need help getting there. People have so many gifts and talents that go untapped all because no one helped them identify them and invite them into those opportunities.

Advertise every serving opportunity

One of the main reasons more people don’t sign up to serve is because they automatically think they will have to be a small group leader and teach. The truth is not everyone is gifted to be a small group leader and not everyone wants to be a small group leader. We’ve got to change this thinking within our ministries and create roles for people with all types of skills. Here are a couple of roles that could potentially be for someone to serve in:

  • Care team (This volunteer is different from a small group leader. The care team volunteer is someone who is there for the student that might need someone to talk with, process what they heard in a message or just need prayer.)
  • Host team (This volunteer would be someone who greets students with a smiling face! They can also serve at the snack bar or soda stand if you have an area like that.)
  • Team Leader (This volunteer serves as a leader of other leaders. The team leader makes sure all of the other volunteers are taken care of and that their needs are met.)
  • Safety (This volunteer is in charge of safety over the student ministry. They don’t need a weapon! Just a shirt, lanyard or something that says security or safety. They stand at the door or inside the large group area or wherever they’re needed. I’ve seen a lot of guys and girls get excited about serving on the safety team because that’s where they are skilled.)
  • Drivers (I once had a volunteer who owned a large passenger bus so he was my driver for a lot of events and that’s how he served. I told him over and over how he was making a difference by driving the students to the christian concert, retreat or whatever it was and he absolutely loved using his skills to serve in that role.)

Stories of how volunteers love serving

Stories can be videos or an in person upfront kind of thing.

Here’s how it could work: Let’s take a small group leader, their testimony could be “I love serving as a small group leader on Wednesday nights because I get to make a difference in the lives of students by leading them closer to Jesus.” Or if a safety volunteer shares their story they could say “I love serving on the safety team because I get to use my passion for safety to create safe environments for our students to come and learn about Jesus on their level.” These types of stories would be best to show during main weekend services.

Connect giftedness with people’s awareness of giftedness

You would be surprised at the amount of people who don’t serve just because they think they don’t have a gift or could make a difference. I was in this boat until someone told me one day that I actually do have gifts and I can make a difference.

This can be done during an announcement on a Sunday morning. All it takes is “you may be thinking about serving, we want you to know that you are gifted and talented to make a difference. We would love to talk with you about how.” This doesn’t even have to be long, maybe just have someone say that one sentence that I left as an example.

Serve night event

This night is where I invite anyone who is remotely interested in serving in the ministry to a serve night. At the serve night all of the roles get showcased like safety team, host team etc. There may be volunteer stories as a part of this as well as conversations to help people see where they might best fit.

Cast the vision of the youth ministry – someone is likely to catch it!

This can be done through emails, phone calls, facebook posts and from the stage on Sunday.

For example, if your student ministry vision is “connect students to Jesus and each other” then communicate that by saying “In our student ministry we exist to connect students to Jesus and each other by teaching them how valuable they are to God and getting them involved in small groups. Come and join a team of difference makers that make a kingdom impact every week.”

In your weekly, monthly or quarterly email, boldly ask, “ever considered serving?”

This one is simple but it works. In my weekly parent email I put at the bottom a couple of times a year “Hey you! Have you ever considered serving in the youth ministry?” and every now and then I’ll get someone that’s interested because they saw the question.

Student stories

Illustrate how God changed students’ lives through the ministry. It doesn’t have to be super long to be effective, if you have a student who has been wrestling with anxiety and God has helped them in that area, they could say “At ____ student ministry God has changed me and helped me in my battle with anxiety and follow that with them saying “Because you serve I can come to a place where I feel welcome and learn about how Jesus loves me.”

Volunteers recruit volunteers “Do you know anyone who would serve?”

Ask your volunteer team to think of people they know who would be great volunteers! By doing this myself recently I was able to recruit two other awesome volunteers for the ministry who I would have never thought to ask.

Take great care of your current volunteers

It’s proven that people will self advertise what they love doing. Show your volunteers love and take care of them and I’ll bet they’ll say to others “I love serving in our student ministry and you would love it as well.” They’ll be ambassadors for you! Call them, text the, take them out for dinner or anything to show them they are seen, valued and loved.

Connect the congregation’s giving and service to student’s lives being changed

This is something I tried last year when we were fundraising and trying to get new adult volunteers to sign up for the mission trip. What we did was shoot a short video of a high school student sharing how God changed them through our mission trips.

At the end of the video the student said one line that just moved people to action, the student said “because you give and serve I can go on these mission trips and be changed by God.” After that, our fundraising increased a ton plus we saw a couple more volunteers raise their hands and say “If those mission trips make that much of a difference than I can sacrifice a week of my time and serve on a trip.”

It’s a simple and bold invitation to open the opportunity for individual to make a kingdom impact on students’ lives.

What are some of your hot volunteer recruiting tips? Have any tactics changed over time?

Bryant Westbrook

Bryant is currently part of the Next Generation staff at Pathway Church in Wichita, KS. Bryant has served as a missionary in Alaska, program staff for youthworks, youth pastor and has a passion for student leadership. He blogs regularly at bryantwestbrook.com and his contact information is bryant.westbrook@pathwaychurch.com

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.