Recruiting from Vision not Need

Church Planting / Headline / September 30, 2008

Okay people, let’s talk recruiting!

FACT: a church who can’t recruit won’t grow. I can’t underscore how big of a deal this is! A leader’s ability to effectively recruit is one of the biggest determining factors in measuring the success of that leader. Think about it: a leader isn’t a leader unless he is able to convince people to follow. In other words, your leadership chops are defined by your ability to assemble and lead a team toward greatness.

Here’s a foundational lesson that I’ve learned about recruiting: As a leader, you can either recruit from a place of need or recruit from a place of vision. (Recruiting from vision is always better.)

Whenever you’re recruiting from a place of need, you’re only recruiting because you have to. You have holes to fill and expectations to meet. Face it, you’re desperate. If you don’t get volunteers, you’re screwed. Recruiting from a place of need is about survival, nothing more nothing less. As a result, you become needy, ingratiating and ineffective.

Here are some phrases you might use on that recruitment phone call if you’re recruiting from a place of need.

  • “This job only demands once a month commitment. (twice a month, etc)”
  • “If you have to miss a week of serving, it’s really no big deal…we have subs!”
  • “I was going though the phone directory and saw your name.”
  • “I figured, you’re not doing anything, so I thought I would ask you to help.”
  • “I just need four more people to help out and I figured you could be one of them”
  • “I still have a ton of slots to fill. Do you know anybody else who might be willing to volunteer?”
  • “It’s not really that bad of a job and it it only lasts an hour. Heck, you could survive anything for an hour, right?”
  • “The job is REALLY EASY…anybody could do it.”

Mark my words: whenever you recruit from a place of need, you will become frustrated and ineffective. Nobody wants to give their life to simply fill slots.

Whenever you recruit from a place of vision, you recruit because the vision demands it. You intrinsically know that the vitality of your mission requires the best and brightest be assembled to do the work. Recruiting from a place of vision is not about survival, but about winning and becoming the best in the world.

Picture a winning NCAA recruiter who is willing to drive to a small town in Montana to convince a skillful player to join their team for the upcoming season. That’s what it looks like to recruit from vision.

Seriously, think about some of the recruiting lines that Jesus used. His demands where high and He didn’t flinch when He called people to a high commitment of living. The mission demanded it.

  • Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
  • Luke 14:26 – If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.
  • Matthew 8:19-21 – Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
  • Matthew 19:21 – Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
  • Matthew 4:18-22Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Okay, back to you. Here are a few vision-driven phrases if you’re recruiting from a place of vision.

  • “I think you would be perfect to complete our team.”
  • “We can’t do this without you.”
  • “When I realized what we were doing, I knew that you would be the first person I had to call.”
  • “Our team is going to become the best in the world and we need you to join us.”
  • “I’ve talked with our team, and everybody wants you.”
  • “We need someone of with your skills to make this work.”
  • “This position is vital, and I trust you to make it happen.”
  • “This is not a job that anybody could do.”
  • “This job is probably going to demand a lot.”

Remember, people are always willing to give their lives to something that has meaning. Whenever you recruit from a place of vision, you will discover an intangible momentum and excitement that comes from assembling a dream team of volunteers to change the world. And, trust me, people will be excited to join you.

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Dave Milam
Dave Milam is a pastor, communicator and the founder of One Life Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a a gifted communicator Dave's right brained style of delivery helps his listener connect and remember God's truth in a uniquely visual way. Connect with Dave on Google+

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on October 1, 2008

Well said! I love even reading the vision statements. It’s wonderful and beautiful and I completely agree with vision-casting rather than guilting people into joining your team.

on October 1, 2008

Good (convicting) stuff, Dave. I’ll be forwarding this to my staff.

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