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Strong leadership is essential for church growth. I have seen far too many churches, where a pulse and a Bible can get you a volunteer position. If you don't have a Bible they will get you one, but the pulse is not negotiable. If this is somewhat how you have been recruiting workers, you are building a foundation for disaster. Do not be afraid to expect commitment and to set a standard of expectation for leadership. The Bible certainly does. Look at these simple instructions from Paul to pastors about leadership.

2 Timothy 2:1-2

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

Titus 2:1-3

You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.

Building your leadership may start slow, but God will grow your church when you are being obedient to the instructions outlined in His word. You cannot expect God to bless something He has not established. When building your leadership, keep in mind this simple church growth principle; churches tend to grow in homogeneous units. That is, churches attract people that are most like the leadership you have in place. When you put weak leadership in front of the congregation, it communicates something contrary to God's word. You send a message of how easy it is to become a leader, and there is a low standard of expectation. This will attract people who do not like commitment, and it will repel people who believe God has a standard of expectation to become a leader. If you want to attract qualified leaders, set this standard in place and watch how God begins bringing qualified leaders into your church.

If you don't have anyone qualified, then do not go back to the "pulse and a Bible" standard. God will begin sending the workers He wants you to have so you can get things done, but you must have a high level of commitment also.

Here are five simple things that are needed for enlistment of workers into any ministry area in your church.

1. Workers should be given a job description.

Workers must understand what is expected of them. Don't be afraid of frightening potential workers off with the word "commitment". Workers without commitment will only cause more work for you, and give poor testimony of what a leader in your church is.

2. Workers must be provided with appropriate training.

Some workers God brings into the church will know exactly what to do. God has their heart and has given them experience. Don't assume they know what to do in your church. When I became a deacon in my home church, (Idlewild Baptist Church) I had been ordained as a deacon for almost thirty years and had been an ordained minister for almost twenty years. I still was asked to take training classes to be involved. That excited me, because I was thrilled to be a part of a church with a high standard for leadership. I don't want to go into spiritual combat with deacon brothers that only have a pulse and a Bible.

3. Workers should be given a name of someone to go to for support.

Even if getting started means you are the only one to come to for help, people need to know what to do when they have questions or need help. Don't throw them to the wolves.

4. Workers should be given a date the responsibility will end.

Workers burn out when they feel they have an eternal job. When the last feelings they had of ministry work is how bad they felt when they quit; you will find it difficult to recruit them in the future. I always recruit workers from January to December. If someone in November, I still re-enlist him or her for the next year starting in January. This can protect you in the event that if you have a worker misplaced; that is they cannot do the job effectively, it is easier to replace them at the end of the year without hard feelings. You can then place them where God has called them to serve.

5. Workers must have an understanding why the role is important.

No ministry can be successful when it is viewed as busy work, or non-essential. If it is important enough to ask people to commit to, then we should be responsible enough to tell them why.

Follow these five basic principles in recruiting your workers, and see how God begins bringing the work force into your church.

Matthew 9:36-38

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

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On March 22, 1965, “Opie’s Newspaper” aired on The Andy Griffith Show. In this episode, Opie and his friend decided to make money by producing a community newspaper. When sales don’t take off, Barney gives them a bit of advice that inspires the boys to publish all the gossip they can eavesdrop on around town.

In this scene we can see an illustration about recruiting workers the wrong way. Andy is trying to retrieve the publication from the preacher, before he reads that Andy said his sermons were as dry as dust. Although this is just a television show, it is not far from the way some churches get workers.

Once when we were visiting a church as “Secret Visitors” we arrived early enough to have a seat in the pew before the service began. A friendly couple came up and sat with us and we were impressed with the outreach to new people at first. The friendly welcome turned ugly when they tried to recruit us to work in the youth ministry of their church. After the service, they followed us to the car, still trying to enlist us to work. There was a lot of training to be done at that church, what if we had been real visitors? If you would like to read some of the published reports from “Secret Visitors” you may want to visit the What Church Visitors See page.

Take a fun look at the scene below from “Opie’s Newspaper” and think about how the five principles I just gave you would have worked for Andy and the preacher. Don’t loose the fun of the comedy, it is just a show, but we can discipline ourselves to think of more effective and Biblical ways to get things done at God’s church.


How do you recruit workers?

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.“

Matthew 9:37



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…upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

—  Matthew 16:18