recruiting from the beginning like it’s discipleship

It’s the last week of August, so you’re probably beginning to think about recruiting another round of freshmen (and others). So I wanted to add to this year’s discussion of recruitment as discipleship… which I hope will be on your mind. (It can be a truly radical philosophy to adopt.)

[If you’ve missed the earlier discussion, be sure to see Recruiting is Discipleship.]

Today, I look at the temptation to “get the job done” but not disciple very well while we’re doing it.

Trickier to Keep Discipleship in Mind

When it comes to recruiting new students to your ministry, you don’t really have the chance to know your audience – at least not before you get into conversation. You also may be recruiting – through posters, a booth, handout cards, or a variety of means – that don’t give you a direct connection with “recruits” at all. Further, recruiting to join a college ministry tends to be an “all call” much more than recruiting to a particular volunteer position or leadership spot.

So it’s harder – with this HUGE part of collegiate ministry – to keep discipleship principles at the forefront of our recruiting. But even this type of recruitment, at the first of the school year, the kind of recruitment that feels like the lifeblood of a college ministry and the entire focus of a college minister’s first few weeks… this form of recruitment still requires (if we’re going to fulfill our ministry) a discipling focus.

Not an Option: It Is Discipleship

When you’re recruiting, you are discipling – you’re inviting people into a spiritual opportunity. But plenty of distractions make it hard to disciple well, even when we get dozens or hundreds to show up:

  • Volume: Because a college minister or his students usually want to draw as many as possible, the “process” of recruiting can sometimes overwhelm the “people” aspect.
  • Variety: As I noted above, this may be a time when you’re trying to reach lots of different students. So that has its own way of making a discipleship focus trickier, since you can’t narrow in on one particular audience (including the students you’re used to reaching weekly).
  • Unity: In most cases, we’re recruiting in the midst of other college ministries. So this may lessen our emphasis on the value of our ministry… even though this is important. (I’ll talk more about that this week.)
  • Busyness: Recruiting is a college ministry staff’s full-time job for the first 2-4 weeks of school. So that makes it harder to “keep your wits about you” and not lose the discipleship plot in the midst of the craziness.

Next, I’ll share about recruiting and discipleship in the midst of all this. And don’t worry: This isn’t about adding “one more thing” in a busy time, it’s about injecting our recruitment with discipleship DNA.


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