As lead pastor of a church re-plant, numerous and obvious needs abound. Here are some things I’ve done trying to build an A-Team
1. Getting Recommendations vs. Needing Volunteers. Unless the context is some sort of tragedy or natural disaster, “volunteer” and “need” don’t really go well together. Compassion and charity wane even in the most heart-wrenching of tragedies, so getting the best out of people for any sustained amount of time is difficult. Growing up, my parents recommended I “volunteer” to meet the “needs” of the community since it would boost my college applications. Translation: I am somewhere I don’t want to be, doing something I don’t want to do, all for the inherently wrong reason. When people volunteer in response to begging or need, they do it out of something other than passion. You’ll never get their best.
In recruiting and assembling teams, I’ve used gossip as a good thing (for once). Asking for recommendations naturally makes people put their own name on the line. That means they’re a bit more careful with who they spout off as the next best person for the ministry since Jesus Himself. The names they drop are the top people. Instead of saying, “I need someone to do this!” I ask, “Can you recommend anyone?”
2. Tell ‘Em What It Takes. Secret to recruiting: be upfront about what it takes to make the team. That’s honestly what everyone wants to know. They might say, “Sure, Reverend—I’ll wait on the Lord for Him to speak to you.” They’re really thinking, “I wish he’d just tell me yes or no…or least how long ‘waiting on the Lord’ is.” The most talented and helpful people tend to think this way. Why? Because they’re so sharp they already dreamt about how to improve your organization—before you interviewed them. Be upfront with the criteria you’re looking for. The most capable people won’t put up with the run-around. It’s not because they’re impatient—it’s because they’re efficient.
3. Don’t Make Them Pay to Say No. A few months back, I read about a conference on Twitter. I was interested in going, so I clicked on the profile to find dates and location. Nothing. Then I clicked on their website which led to a video intro homepage. I’m 30 seconds in—still no dates or location. I find the “skip video” link, get to the regular homepage, and then download a schedule. After all this, I found out the date and location weren’t doable for me. The point: they cost me time and energy to say no. Tell prospective team members pertinent details upfront, especially dates and time commitment. The worst thing is for them to make arrangements with work, school, spouse, or babysitters to attend your info session…just to find out they can’t join your team since your department meets on the same night the kids have dance practice. If you do that to people, at least compensate them for the babysitting.
What ways do you recruit and assemble an A-Team?