How to recruit leaders

My son works in campaign politics. I was chatting with him the other day and asking him about his work. A lot of what he is doing these days is recruiting people (volunteers) to take leadership roles in the campaign organization. I asked him how he makes that pitch.

His answer: You sell them on the plan. You talk about election results. You tell them about the campaign’s plan to win. Then you make a hard ask for them to get involved.

A hard ask is something concrete. It is not “Will you help us out?” It is “Will you donate $500?” “Will you volunteer two hours on Thursday?” “Will you commit to recruit five more people to work for us?”

My son said getting people — including candidates — to make the hard ask is the hardest part of the job. People don’t like to ask for specific things. It puts both the person asking and the person being asked in a potentially awkward spot.

Like asking a girl out on a date, I offered.

Exactly, he said.

As we were chatting, my mind turned to church organization. I saw an immediate tension. Success in recruitment — at least in politics — revolves around selling a plan. We in church often shy away from even having a plan. That is the Holy Spirit’s task, we say. We just need to be ready to respond. Besides, plans sound like something corporations or (egad) politicians do.

I get that.

But I also see the other side. What if a church could say, “Here is what we are about. This is our strategy for spreading the gospel in our neighborhood/community/city. Here’s the various pieces of that. What we really need is someone who can do X. You have the gifts for that. Will you do X for us?”

Wouldn’t that create more engagement?


3 thoughts on “How to recruit leaders

  1. I like the phrase, “The hard ask.” Of course one of the hardest asks is the invitation to make a decision to follow Christ.

    This is worth thinking about.

    Grace and peace.

  2. It would. Once people know it’s okay to say no, they respond much better to specific “asks” than “can you help with this?” I learned a bit of that in political organizing myself. ūüôā

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