When it comes to student ministry growth, the fall is a major launch season. School starts back, football kicks into high gear, and all of these things somehow lead to more students getting back into the swing of attending consistently. It also typically means new visitors and new opportunities to reach your community. Perhaps you have a fall plan in place, or maybe you just let fall happen. Either way, this could be your best fall ever! Over the course of this series we want to help by highlighting a few ways you can leverage this critical season of the year for greater ministry impact and potential growth. In part 1 of the series we will take a look at leader recruitment. Here are four ways leader recruitment can lead to your best fall ever:
- Plan for growth. For every ten students you would like to have, recruit one new leader. This is a student ministry reality I have observed at every church where I have served. The number of students I had almost always correlated to the number of leaders I had in place. When I saw explosive growth in our groups ministry, it was a result of recruiting additional leaders I did not even need. I found that with the leaders in place, the students who attended were cared for and discipled. The times I tried to recruit to “catch up” with the growth, it never happened. Christ grows His church but why would He entrust more students to you and your ministry if you aren’t prepared for them? Steward your ministry well and prepare for the growth that you want to see happen.
- Prioritize quality over quantity. The fact is you could probably get a bunch of people to come work with students. Depending on how low you set the bar, you might even be able to get more than you need. But student ministry is not the place to skimp on leadership. You must prioritize quality over quantity. It may cost you numeric growth for a time, but it will lead to health and growth over the long haul. The main reason student ministry leaders lean into quantity over quality is lack of time. No one would claim they don’t care about the level of the leaders they recruit. But the clock ticks and fall is here and we settle for what we have. Don’t settle. In fact, raise the bar on your leaders. Sure, you might lose some folks, but you will gain a far more effective and healthy ministry in return. Your students deserve the best, and you, as the leader, must do the hard work of recruiting the best leaders and holding them to a high standard.
- Prepare your leaders well. Part of recruiting new leaders is helping them understand precisely what it is they are being asked to do. Explain to your potential leaders how critical fall is. Help them see that it will be pretty intense during these months as students and families get back on schedule. Let them see the urgency of the opportunities you have in the fall months. This includes them being present as often as possible, attending student activities, and connecting with their students and their families. Ensuring the leaders you recruit understand the potential of this fall season will directly influence the scope of the growth you experience. Help them see that.
- Don’t stop when fall starts. Summer can be spent recruiting new leaders, prepping for launch, and casting vision. But too many times we stop after we launch the fall activities and groups. We may not stop executing the plans, we do stop recruiting with the same fervency. Keep up the recruiting, continue to fuel the fire of your ministries potential growth. If everything you want to see happen does happen, you will need those new leaders. What if your ministry grows both spiritually and numerically beyond what you have planned? Will you be ready? Only if you make it a normal practice to continue to recruit and unleash new leaders in your ministry.
For the best fall ever you need to begin recruiting new leaders now. Prepare yourself and your ministry for consistency and growth by raising the bar on your leadership to reach and disciple the students in your community. It takes a lot of hard work but you can do it! Focus on recruiting solid leaders who have a passion to reach students with the gospel.
This post was written by Chris Swain, Director of LifeWay Student Ministry Publishing