Please Come Board my Sinking Ship

May 21, 2009 - Mac Lake - Leadership, Recruitment
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What are you communicating when you ask someone to join your ministry team?  This is a really important question because what you’re communicating both verbally and non-verbally could determine if you get a “yes” or a “no”. 

  • When you post a handwritten sign on the children’s ministry door that says, “Volunteers NEEDED!”  You’re communicating…there is a problem behind these doors.
  • When you make an announcement from the pulpit saying, “we don’t have enough volunteers in our student ministry so please sign up to help today”…you’re communicating we are desperate
  • When you approach someone and say, “No one’s volunteering to be small group leaders around here, would you be interested?” …you’re communicating something is broken in this ministry.

If we are honest we have to admit that many recruiting efforts in churches are done out of a sense of desperation.  It’s like waving a white flag and asking people, “Please come get on board my sinking ship.”  A person would be out of their mind to join these teams.  

Take a quick look at a leader who got an enthusiastic “yes” from a group of volunteers in Nehemiah 2.  If anyone had a reason to be skeptical about getting involved it would be the people of Jerusalem.  Their wall had been destroyed years earlier, several attempts to rebuild had failed and they basically had an apathetic attitude.  Now Nehemiah comes along and makes a huge ask…he wants them to get involved in rebuilding the wall. Take note of his words and what he communicated.

“But now I said to them, “You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!” 18 Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king.  They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!”   Nehemiah 2:17-18

He communicated the need – “Jerusalem lies in ruins”
He communicated it was a team effort – “let us rebuild”
He communicated the vision – “rebuild the wall”
He communicated the cause – “Let’s end this disgrace” 
He communicated that God is in it – “I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me”

And he got an enthusiastic “YES”  from a very unlikely crowd.

Not getting to many volunteers lately? Then ask yourself, “What am I communicating through my recruitment efforts?”

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Mac Lake

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4 responses to Please Come Board my Sinking Ship

  1. Mac, this is good stuff. Often its the small tweaks to what we say that make a huge difference.

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