3 Tips From Jesus' Recruiting Methods
In John 1, I see three methods Jesus used in recruitment. I think these may be helpful to those of us trying to recruit more volunteers – especially those of us who are leading teams during a transition or start-up phase.
Recruiting the right people is paramount to the success of any organization, and Jesus obviously was the best.
Here are three tips from recruitment methods Jesus employed:
1. Recruit experienced transitional people.
Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist and then of Jesus (John 1:35, 40).
It’s common for a leader – especially a new leader – to want their “own” team. It makes sense to surround yourself with some people you know are loyal to you and you can train with your way of doing things.
When developing a team or starting a new team, however, it’s also good to have someone who may have even more experience than you in what you are doing. You need individuals who know how to do what needs to be done, can be influencers to the rest of the team, and who have proven their loyalty on other teams. These people are valuable assets to any team.
In my current role, the associate pastor offered me his resignation before I arrived. He had been at the church 15 years or so and had weathered good times and bad in the church. I refused to accept it. Instead, I encouraged him to move into a larger office – next to mine – gave him greater decision-making authority, and worked to earn his trust. He has been invaluable in my success at the church. I’m confident I have a loyal friend for life.
2. Allow the team to help recruit the team.
Andrew found Simon and Philip found Nathanael (John 1:41, 45). Apparently, Jesus allowed some of the disciples to help recruit other disciples. The team helped add to the team.
This is a great reminder when you are building a team, adding other team members or replacing a team member. Get your team involved in recruiting. Their support will increase for the new recruits – and, by spreading the search process, you’ll have an increased chance of finding better people.
When I arrived in this current position, I made sure I had hiring authority. I think it’s critical for a leader’s success. I would have been foolish, however, not to include others in the selection process, so I had several people interview and meet with the new staff members prior to them joining our team. My wife was one of those who assisted me. They helped me by lending credibility to the new staff and making sure I was being wise in the decisions we made.
3. Recruit people who are ready for a challenge.
Some of the disciples Jesus recruited were apparently already looking for the Messiah. (John 1:38, 41, 45) They were ready for Him when He came, because they were already seeking something. Jesus recruited with big asks – basically, “Drop everything else and follow me!” I’d say this is a big ask.
Obviously, I’m not Jesus, but I believe it is important when looking for new people on a team to find people who will buy into your vision as a leader, who will remain loyal over time and who are ready for a challenge. If you have to talk them into something, or gain their initial trust after the hire, you’ll waste valuable time before they completely commit. (This doesn’t mean there aren’t deeper levels of trust to be gained over time, but initially they should be convinced this is where God wants them to be.)
One practice I have continually used in recruiting new team members is to talk them out of taking the position – after I’m sure they want the job and I want them to take it. I want to help them test their hearts. I want them to know the unique challenges ahead (as far as I know them at the time). I don’t hide anything – even the less than glamorous parts. We have hired several staff members on faith the first year. The budget did not support them, but we believed God would provide. He did. This was almost always the case when I was in a church plant. If they are still interested after they know all the down sides of the position, then I know we will make a great team.
Perhaps some of the recruiting methods of Jesus can help you in your recruitment.
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