Key Steps to Recruiting Volunteers

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Begging Child

Begging is the lowest form of building your volunteer team yet most of us resort to it at one time or another. I discovered first hand that begging only leads to guilty committals that last for a few months at most before the guilty party bows out.

The precious time taken to orientate and train these people is wasted for you and them. In this article we will discuss several key components that need to be in place to not only attract long term leaders and volunteers, but also keep them.

STEP ONE: People Skills

You will need to develop some basic “people skills” to assist you in determining what type of person would best fit the needs within the children’s ministry. What area of children's ministry holds the greatest need for recruiting? Maybe it's one or more of the following:

  • nursery workers
  • large group leaders
  • administrators
  • behind the scenes office workers

In order to fill each of these needs effectively you will want to place the right people in the right places.
For example, you would not want to put someone who is soft spoken, gentle, and meek as lead teacher in a room with 20 four and five year olds. She may do better in the nursery with 3 or 4 babies. On the flip side, babies may not enjoy being cared for by an outgoing, boisterous teacher with a high level of energy and the vocal cords to prove it.

Years ago I was hired as the children's pastor of a church that had strong attendance and growing numbers of children each weekend. With the growing numbers there was a great need for someone to oversee the administration of the children’s ministry. I immediately set out to find someone that had the proper skills to meet the need. A few weeks later I found her within my volunteer base and within 6 months I hired her part time.

In order to fill the positions effectively you will need to do some research on basic personality types. You also must have some knowledge of “gift assessment” and what type of people/personality type’s work best in different areas of children’s ministry. There are many great books and resources that teach on this subject. I have included some basic information based on the D.I.S.C theory. This will help lay a foundation of knowledge for you to build on as you go about placing the right people in the right areas of ministry.

Different Personalities and Temperaments
There are four basic types of personalities or temperaments that people will exhibit. Everyone is made up of a unique blend of all four. If you take the time to communicate with each of the volunteers you will notice that one or two of the personality types will be more evident than the others.

First, you will notice that people will be either TASK-ORIENTED or PEOPLE-ORIENTED in the way they view their daily responsibilities and activities. They will also be either OUTGOING or RESERVED. When you combine or mix these four characteristics you come up with a great variety of personalities. We will begin by giving a definition of each of the above characteristics to help you better understand what to look for in your staff and volunteers.


They are kind of like the energizer bunny! They just keep talking and talking and always seem to be going somewhere. They tend to be:

  • Aggressive and emotional
  • Not afraid to express themselves and are very visual
  • When telling a story they will be very expressive and will involve much body movement
  • Like to be involved in something
  • Generally enjoy holding a leadership role
  • Most like to be in charge of projects, people, programs, and events
  • Don’t mind taking chances

The areas they could work on to establish a “balance” would be to take the time to think things through and consider others before they move ahead or make changes.


  • Tend to keep to themselves more
  • Listen more and ask more questions
  • Tend to be more supportive, respectful, and gentle in speech
  • Much better control of their emotions than outgoing people
  • Generally keep their emotions and opinions to themselves (unless asked)
  • Usually polite and demonstrate patience
  • Normally very steady and reliable and are not big risk takers

The areas they could work on would be to lighten up and be more assertive.


  • Focus on “getting the job done”
  • Love to plan things out and make things happen
  • Reliable and detail-oriented
  • Sometimes so focused on task (get it done no matter what) that they lose sight of the needs of others
  • Sometimes so direct that they end up offending others they work with

The areas they could work on would be to take the time to listen to others and be more sensitive to the needs of all those involved in the task.


  • More interested in developing relationships with co-workers than the task at hand
  • Very open and enjoy sharing with and caring for others
  • Good listeners and are sensitive to the needs of those around them

The areas they could work on would be to not lose sight of the task and stay focus on the objective set before them.


Four Basic Personality Types

We will briefly cover the basic characteristics you will find in each of the four personalities. What you will find is that most people are very strong in one or sometimes two of the four.



Another name for this person is choleric. Only about 10% of people are “D’s”, (God knew the world would not survive if there were more than that.)

  • Likes to be in control even when not supposed to be
  • Can be described as driving, demanding, determined, decisive, and a doer
  • Tend to have a do-it-now attitude about everything
  • Like to be given options
  • Body language is normally very direct and they walk in confidence
  • Balanced Choleric's make great leaders

These people will come to mind when you are in need of someone who knows how to control, give orders, oversee and delegate. The plus to having a “D” personality within the children’s ministry is that they tend to “get things done”. The negative being you might have to coach them on people skills and clean up a few “offenses” on the way. I bet you can think of at least one person you know that is a choleric.


Another name for this type of person is sanguine

  • Likes to be noticed and acknowledged
  • Appreciate the cards and thank you notes the most
  • Can be described as influencing, inducing, impressive, interactive, interesting, and interested in others
  • Having fun is important to an inspirational person
  • Love to talk, and talk, and talk
  • Encouraged by incentive
  • Proud of their accomplishments
  • like the best of everything

These people will come to mind if you are in need of someone to plan an event or bring life to a party. They are also the ones that you spend 20 minutes on the phone with when you only meant to leave a quick message.

Whenever I have to make a lot of calls to teachers to let them know about something, I always call these people last! That way I know I would get all the other people called and not run out of time. It is very important that you be a good listener when talking with a sanguine.


Another name for this type of person is phlegmatic.

  • Wants to know that they are accepted
  • Go along with just about any choice you make and do it with an easygoing attitude
  • Can be described as stable, steady, sentimental, shy, status-quo, and a specialist.
  • Very flexible.
  • Not afraid to show their emotions rather than keep them hidden
  • Not very assertive and tend to communicate through body language
  • Tend to be more humble than other personality types

A true phlegmatic will never sacrifice a relationship just to have his way or be in control. They are very “people first” orientated.


Another name for this type of personality is melancholy.

  • Wants to be accurate
  • Detail oriented. Think of those little things that others tend to overlook
  • Like to be informed down to the last detail and then they will add a few more
  • Can be described as competent, calculating, concerned, careful, and contemplative
  • Like to ask questions
  • The more information they are given the more effective they will be
  • Tend to ask many questions and keep to themselves
  • Tend to always have a concern about something

I suggest you put this type of person over administrative projects and keeping up with paperwork and scheduling.

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