Recruiting volunteers can be the most difficult and discouraging area of volunteer management—if we try to do it in our time and by our plans. But in God’s time and by God’s plan, it will be done.
As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it’.”
Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
They replied, “The Lord needs it.'”
They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes story I’d love to know more about. Before the disciples ever arrived, what happened in the hearts of the colt’s owners? How were they able to make such a sacrifice? How did Jesus prepare them to be ready for service?
And: Wouldn’t it be great if recruiting were that easy?
That’s just it—it is! Or it can be.
Recruiting Made Easy Through God’s Provision
Over and over in the Bible, we see stories of God’s miraculous provision for his servants once they were commissioned to do God’s work. Noah had everything he needed to build the ark; Solomon had everything he needed to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Just as the disciples had more than enough fish when they cast their nets in obedience to Jesus, you have everything you need to build a children’s ministry.
Scripture is filled with admonitions for us to trust God to do the work that he has put in our hearts. In fact, it’s very clear that it’s impossible to carry out God’s work without God’s help. Throughout Scripture, God’s warns his servants not to put their faith in people, resources, or methods other than God’s miraculous provision. Consider these verses:
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. Now I know that the Lord saves his announced; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late toiling for food to eat-for he grants sleep to those he loves.
“Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to all those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge. But Pharaoh’s protection will be your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.
Follow God’s Timing + Plans When Recruiting
Recruitment can be the most difficult and discouraging area of volunteer management—if we try to do it in our time and by our plans. But in God’s time and by God’s plan, it will be done. Perhaps in recruitment more than any other area of volunteer management, God wants us to stand back and see his mighty hand. God wants to do the miraculous in calling out people to service.
The struggles of finding enough volunteers are nothing new. Jesus, himself, said in Luke 10: 2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
After Jesus pointed out that the workers are few, he didn’t suggest new methods; he said to cry out to God. It’s not a one-time, at-the-beginning-of-the-recruiting-phase prayer. It’s the same kind of desperate, ongoing plea that Moses make to God when he prayed, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you…If your Presence does not go with us, do not sent us up from here” (Exodus 33:13, 15). It’s saying every step of the way, “I don’t want to-I can’t-do this without you God.”
For many years volunteer recruitment was my greatest stumbling block in the ministry,” says Clara Olson, Family Life Pastor at New Hope Community Church in Portland, Oregon. “Today, I am happy to say, it is one of my greatest joys. What made the difference? God helped me to change my attitude and philosophy.”
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