A couple of posts ago, I wrote on a new paradigm for recruiting (new ministry members, volunteers, leaders, whatever). The paradigm? Understanding recruitment as simply a form of discipleship… and then evaluating it on those terms.

Yesterday, I started with some practical forms that discipleship can take, topics to share as part of the recruiting process. Today, I continue…

3. Help students process their decision

Another way to disciple students in the midst of recruiting is to help them understand the decision-making process in front of them. This can include:

  1. Offering reasons they should consider our particular ministry
  2. Offering factors they should use in making their involvement decisions
  3. Pointing them to other ministries that might be a fit (and helping them see why)

I’m a big believer in all three of these. First, I do believe we should present to students – in charitable and wise ways – what our ministry offers and why it could be the best ministry for them. While my reasoning could fill its own post(s), I think it’s better for every college minister to present the distinctives of their ministry, rather than to talk (dishonestly) as though they feel every ministry is equal. (I’ve called this level of effort “Kingdom-minded Competition.”)

In fact, by doing that, we not only make students’ decision clearer, but we even highlight good criteria for making their choice – the point of #2. With all our emphasis on recruiting, we’ve sometimes missed the chance to disciple students in the deeper (and lifelong) issue: how they decide their own ministry involvement.

Finally, if we’re really honest about helping students make the best possible choices, we will help them find the very best ministry for them, even if it’s another ministry. And we might even help facilitate the connection to the other ministry.

4. Look for opportunities to impact “off-topic”

While the task of recruitment is important (it is, after all, discipleship!), there are going to be student-encounters that require something different. We never know where a student’s coming from when they approach our Orientation booth, fill out a leadership application, or ask about joining the setup crew.

If we’re open to it, God will reveal – when needed – what He’s up to in students’ lives. But we may need to go “off-task” to partner with Him; if a student needs strategies for overcoming homesickness, we don’t want her just to walk away knowing the large group meeting is in Baker Hall on Tuesday nights.

5. Make the next step impactful, too

We can’t always cram tons of discipleship into our short chats, but we can extend the discipleship window:

  • Provide takeaways.
  • Provide a discipling path for getting involved (especially when an application is involved).
  • Follow up.

For example, recruiting to your ministry puts you in touch with students who may be open to “learning the ropes” about college in general. You can provide takeaways that will help them make spiritual sense of their new life – in written, audio, or video forms.

When you’re recruiting to a volunteer spot that involves an application or an interview, make sure to take a discipleship approach in those steps. (Application processes can be an incredibly strong discipleship experience.)

And when you get info from potential “recruits,” don’t just use it to continue the rah-rah-rah side of recruitment. Use it to continue shepherding.

6. Love the student

This, of course, goes without saying. But as we recruit students to our ministries or to activities within our ministries, love-for-the-student certainly can cover a multitude of the mistakes we might make.

We may be a little too competitive at times, a little under-prepared, a little scattered, a little worn-out. But if we really love this individual student standing in front of us right now, most of us will pretty naturally disciple him or her. And because we love them, we’ll have no problem helping them find what they need – whether it’s that thing we’re recruiting to or not.

The series continues here