77 tips for growing vital volunteers from fertile
Summer is no time to slack off on your recruiting. In fact,
summer can be one of your most productive seasons for connecting
with great new people. There are tons of things you can do now to
develop friendships with people who may grow into new team members.
You can plant a seed, water a relationship, fertilize spiritual
growth, and more.
Like friendships, relationships with new team members don't just
happen. They move through a natural progression of acquaintance,
acceptance, trust, deepening, companionship, and commitment. (We'd
all like to jump to commitment when it comes to recruiting, but
relationships require every stage and a lot of patience.)
Prepare your field now with these checklists for every stage of a
13 Places to Meet New People at Church
Thanks to the Spirit of God drawing people week in and week out to
your church, you have opportunities waiting to meet all kinds of
• At all church events, stand near the food. You'll easily meet
and greet all sorts of hungry new people.
• Serve coffee and doughnuts. Everyone shows up there
• Attend an adult Christian education class where you'll get to
know others (and you'll grow, too).
• Join a sports league -- even if you don't have the skills,
you'll have fun.
• Volunteer at the welcome table instead of hanging out at the
children's ministry info table.
• Join the choir or praise team -- you'll get to know God a little
better, too, as you worship him!
• Get involved in a small group -- for instant friends and
• It's an oldie, but goldie: Follow up with people from your
church's visitor cards -- a phone call trumps an email, and a
personal visit trumps a phone call. Forget the form letter; that
• Wander around. A lot. (Try not to look lost, though!)
• Serve your church as a greeter. Give 'em a firm handshake.
• Attend your church's membership class-always.
• When attending service, sit in a different spot each week.
People tend to sit in the same vicinity each week -- invade some
• Go to church dinners...and sit with people you don't know.
6 Ways to Help People Feel Accepted
There's a man in our church named Roger who's made our family feel
accepted from day one. Follow Roger's lead, and you'll make people
want to come back.
• Use people's name. Commit names to memory.
• Touch them...shake a hand, pat a back.
• Smile. You're happy to see them, aren't you?
• Remember their story. Ask about something they told you
• Be present. Don't be searching the crowd for your next great
contact during conversations. Maintain eye contact.
• Seek people out. They won't naturally come to you.
11 Things Not to Do
Okay, so you've met a new friend, what do you do now? Don't be
tempted to do these things.
• Fill the person's email with jokes, heartwarming
stories, or chain emails that you must send on
if you really love the person or Jesus.
• Act desperate.
• Ask too-personal questions: "So whatreally happened between you
and your ex?"
• Gripe...about anything. No one wants to be around a
• Sigh heavily when you talk about your ministry.
• Bring up anything on your body that has recently been diagnosed,
X-rayed, scanned, or that oozes.
• Turn down invitations you get from people for dinner, parties,
small groups, or anything else. Everyone's busy, and it's okay
if you can't attend once or twice, but if your answer is a
recurring "no," people tend to stop inviting you.
• Share church matters that should be kept in the office.
• Gossip. No, no, no, no!
• Have a "better plan" than anything others suggest doing
• Invite them to sales parties (plasticware, cookware, jewelry,
rock-tumbling) with the subtle expectation for them to spend money
to be your friend.
5 Qualities Trustworthy People Have
I asked my husband (who's a very trustworthy guy) to list the top
qualities of trustworthy people. So if ever in doubt, think "What
would Ray do?"
• Empathy-"I'm sorry that happened."
• Sincerity-"I really mean that."
• Confidentiality-"I'll never tell."
• Openness to others' ideas-"What do you think?"
• Listening skills-silence.
14 Best Books to Help You Grow With a
This list isn't for the faint of heart. I asked a few of my
friends for their favorite "deep" reads. So grab a good friend and
dig into spiritual truths that'll help you both grow in your
faith-and deepen your relationship.
• Waking the Dead by John Eldredge -- this is your alarm
clock going off!
• Knowing God by J.I. Packer -- a classic that never
• Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli -- encouraging and
• Any book by Henri Nouwen -- yes! Any book!
• The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer --
makes you think.
• Disappointment With God by Philip Yancey -- confronts
questions we're often terrified to ask.
• Captivating by John Eldredge -- a chick book but
• Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis -- Another great
• Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald
S. Whitney -- You can help each other grow in discipline.
• Out of the Saltshaker and Into the World by Rebecca
Manley Pippert -- Discover new ways to share your faith.
• Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper -- What's your
purpose? (not to be confused with the other purpose book).
• Desiring God by John Piper -- How you can delight in
• Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian
Spirituality by Donald Miller -- Think outside the religious
• The Calvary Road by Roy Hession -- examines God's
activity in the heart of the hungry seeker.