(This is Part 2 of a series on Church Planting in the New Year. Read Part 1 here.)
Today, I want us to talk about improving our recruiting abilities. Since this blog post is more of an “idea dropping” than an article, many of these ideas are not inter-related. However, they are all very important to recruiting and church planting in general. This is about the Kingdom of God, about eternity. Here are some lessons that I’ve learned along the way:
Remember Spiritual Dependence: The battle is not against flesh and blood. Dependence on prayer and the divine are imperative, and you’ll get nowhere if you forego spiritual side of recruitment. For more information, see my post on spiritual dependence.
Develop a Recruiting Team: In your organization, recruiting should be a family matter, shared by everyone, and not left just to the director. Who can help you recruit? Who would represent you and your mission well? Current church planters? Retirees? Who would give time and diligence to playing a role? Prayerfully consider men and women who are eager to see the Kingdom expand, especially those who are doing the work already. A day-long or an overnight retreat will create more energy and intentionality than you could muster on your own. What roles are needed, and how will standards be met?
Be Responsive: Anyone can have a flashy website, but we all know what it’s like to fill out a contact form and be neglected. Implement the 24-hour rule. Anyone who contacts your organization needs a human touch within 24 hours— even if it’s a personal email (not automated) that says someone will contact them more meaningfully very soon. This is emblematic of what you want your church multiplication agency to be anyway: responsive to people’s needs.
Present well: Yes, you should look good on the web, on paper, and in person. Stay current. A neglected website betrays a neglected organization. Dated or antiquated information is not permissible. Avoid hype, but present well.
Incentivize your constituency: Keep the need for church planters constantly in front of your constituents. Who do they know who could be used by God to plant a new congregation? Everyone knows someone. I regularly sent out a “spotter form” to our district pastors, offering them a $25 bookstore gift card for sending me a live contact, and we found many church planters with that simple incentive. You could find a creative way to do something similar with your community.
Recruit both husband and wife: Even if your movement only has male pastors, you’re foolish to neglect “half the church” in your recruiting. I bristle at language that says, “We need a guy…” but I love it when we refer to the “men and women” in our movement. When I’m in conversation with a potential church planter who is male, I will do everything possible to include the wife. “Could we arrange a phone call or meeting when the three of us can be together?” “Would your wife enjoy a call or a meeting with one of the women of our church planting movement?” (That question is always met with an eager “Yes!”)
Invite recruits on vision outings or attraction events: A drive through a potential target area, meeting some people along the way, can really open peoples’ eyes to the harvest. An invitation to attend a regular gathering of church planters will also help legitimize and solidify interest.
Learn to speed read people: Familiarize yourselves with basic self-understanding tools such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the StrengthsFinder, because this will help you understand others and serve them better. Even in the earliest conversations we can pick up on the type of information that best helps the recruit. It’s easy enough to ask people, “Hey, do you know your Myers-Briggs type? And your top strengths? Or your DISC?”
Don’t over-recruit: In my experience, working too hard to recruit someone seldom works out. It’s too easy to over-promise and under-deliver, and it’s a setup for blame. Potential church planters need to hear about the difficulties, challenges, and realities of planting a new church. Often those who have planted say, “It is more difficult, and rewarding, than what we had imagined going into it.” When a promising recruit doesn’t join you, find space for God’s sovereignty, and trust that the Lord is doing His work His way.
Read the rest of this series here: