recruit well by making it helpful

I’ve been talking about recruitment as discipleship this week – a philosophical shift for some of us, to be sure. Today I wanted to point out another aspect of discipleship that should be part of our recruiting: making it easier for people to respond.

Jesus Himself chastised the Pharisees for not aiding people as they discipled them:

They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. (Matthew 23:4 NIV)

If recruitment doesn’t “lift a finger” to help students actually follow, then it’s a bad form of discipleship WHILE being less effective at drawing students. In fact, by looking at recruitment through the discipleship lens, asking just how helpful you’re being toward students you’re recruiting, you’re likely to accomplish better what you’re hoping for – getting students into your ministry.

Just about any form of recruitment can be audited for “helpfulness.” And you’ll want to think along these lines:


Is what we’re encouraging extremely clear, even for those who have been on campus for a week or less?

Could a stranger follow the directions to find the building? Are the title and description perfectly clear for a non-Christian, someone from a different denomination, or someone unfamiliar with collegiate culture? Are we not only clear in print, but is our 20-second elevator pitch also clear in these ways?

One Step

Are we primarily inviting students to an on-ramp? Sometimes we only present Our Full Ministry, without giving students an easy first step.

While I do believe it’s really useful to share about the entire ministry, it’s also important to offer an easy way for them to start their involvement or even just “check it out.” (And this is true not only at the front of the school year, but also within it. Maybe your Large Group Meeting provides this on-ramp weekly, but it’s worth considering whether that meeting is truly a great front door for ALL students.)


It can seem almost contradictory to the call for clarity, but some students truly will want details on your ministry – its plans, its goals, its philosophy, its theology. Is there a good place to find these (ideally the web)?

Next time, I’ll dive in to even more ways to “audit” our recruitment for helpfulness. (Here’s that post.)

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