I’ve heard it done often. In fact, I’ve done it too often. “It” in this case refers to trying to recruit church volunteers primarily by making announcements from the pulpit, via email, or within the church newsletter. Here’s why that approach doesn’t work:
- Folks aren’t listening to our announcements or reading our emails and newsletters. At a minimum, they’re not paying attention enough to hear with clarity the need for workers. Too many other distractors, including within a church service, keep them from giving undivided attention to our requests.
- Announcements seldom include the “why” with the “what.” We tell people what we need them to do, but we don’t often tell them why the work matters. Particularly for younger church members, the “why” matters even more than the “what.”
- Listeners hear a corporate announcement (if they hear it at all) for everybody else—not for themselves. A general announcement to a bunch of people usually leads to a bunch of people hearing it generally. Or, they assume the need doesn’t apply to them in the first place.
- Some church members carry baggage that makes it difficult for them to hear a call for workers. In some cases, they’ve served in the past and somehow been wounded. Others served, but with so little training that they felt like a failure. In other situations, the members don’t listen to any announcement coming from a particular church leader they no longer respect.
- The wrong people make the announcements. The best person to make an announcement to recruit workers for a ministry is someone who has an undeniable zeal for that ministry – not just the person who’s responsible for making announcements that week. A passionless announcer won’t produce a passionate response.
- Announcements put the responsibility on the respondent rather than on the recruiter. That is, someone who’s interested must then take the initiative to connect with someone else, express interest, and seek information. The more effective approach is for church leaders to recruit workers face-to-face, heart-to-heart, eyeball-to-eyeball.
- The church is making announcements, but no one’s praying for the Lord to raise up laborers. When that happens, we’re trying in our own power to recruit workers. We often seek God’s help only after we’ve failed in our efforts—and then we wonder why our efforts first went unheeded.
What other reasons come to mind for you?