Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Second Push

This is the time of year when you are doing the recruiting "Second Push". The first push has already taken place. You've identified the roles that need to be filled for the coming ministry season, and you've done your best to find "the right people for the right places".

But now comes the time for the "Second Push". This is the time when you realize that some of your initial placements aren't going to work out. Some of the people have been placed in roles that are not a fit for their personality and gifting. Maybe you need to ask them "How is it going?" and "Is there something else you'd like to do, or are you ready to press on in this assignment?"

Also the "Second Push" is when you realize that there were some blind spots in your leadership structure. Now you see that there are roles needed that you had not foreseen. So now it's time to do the second round of recruiting.

As you recruit, keep 3 major things in mind:

1) No one is looking to just fill your NEED
In general, people don't jump at the opportunity to fill a need. Your need does not constitute their emergency. "Need-based recruiting" might as well be called "guilt-based recruiting". You tell people how desperate you are, and hope that they will want to help. This may fill a few immediate needs on a short term basis. But it seldom brings people joy and they will soon slip away from your team. Soon the guilt wears off and, as weariness sets in, they head for the escape hatch.

Principle: People want to be part of the vision
In recruiting, find how you can inspire people to activate their God-given desire for significance. Everyone wants to know that their life is making a difference. Everyone wants to be part of something great. Everyone wants to feel valued. And God has gifted every single Christian, with a talent for ministry. The trick is finding their gifting and providing opportunities to release that gifting for maximum Kingdom impact. Continually show people how their piece of the ministry puzzle is contributing to the vision being accomplished.

2) No one is looking for MORE stuff to do
Everybody is busy. Nobody jumps at the opportunity to add another responsibility to their already busy schedule. And to make matters worse, we often force ministry leaders to sit through mindless meetings. They sit around watching us fumble through, revealing how unprepared we were for their contribution. Then we ask them to show up for events where they feel their skills aren't even being utilized.

Principle: Make every minute count
If you don't have seriously valuable content and a pressing reason to hold a meeting: then don't. And when people show up to serve, clearly define their responsibility. Each volunteer needs to know that their absence will leave a gaping hole in the mission's accomplishment. The reason that people often drop the ball is because their role doesn't seem important. They figure that anybody could do the mindless work they're being asked to do. Streamline each leader's ministry so that they clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. And whatever you do: don't waste their time!

3) No one is looking to follow a STRESSED-OUT leader
One time I met with a staff member to talk about the image he had been projecting. It seemed that he would often mention (to anyone who would listen) how much work he was being asked to do. In meetings and conversations he would often take a deep breath and give a little "sign". When people asked him about anything, he was always sure to share how stressful his job was and how little time he had for anything new. And then he wondered why people weren't flocking to join his ministry areas.

Principle: Be a leader that people want to follow
Our conversation was very simple. I said, "People follow leaders whom they want to be like...and right now, nobody wants to be like you." Fortunately, this was a smart and humble guy. He quickly recognized the negative pattern that had slipped into his conversational habits. He became very conscious of the importance of his words and attitudes. And the result? His new positive attitude became an attractional force to his ministry.

And one more thought. Continually search for individuals with a "leader's heart". These are the people who "get it". They have an aptitude for leadership. They have a positive attitude and demonstrate the fruit of the spirit. Given the right circumstances, they could probably do your job better than you do. These people are a special gift from God. Don't give them piddly little tasks. Give them positions of leadership and authority. Pour into their personal and spiritual development. And especially with these "high caliber" volunteers, implement #1, #2 and #3.