One of my favorite parts of working at a church is being able to connect people into volunteer opportunities. Whether I am standing in front of a crowd or grabbing Starbucks with an individual, there is something electric about “making the ask.” I have discovered over the years that not everyone is as eager to have these sorts of conversations as I am. I think of it as exciting and energizing to be able to invite a person into meaningful ministry opportunities.
Whether you get excited or nauseous at the idea of making the big ask, as leaders it is unavoidable. To lead and grow your team you will have to have “recruiting” conversations. Whether you are inviting someone to join your team, or you are asking a current team member to move into a greater level of commitment – we as leaders need to be skilled at making the big ask.
Here are 3 convictions that we need when it comes to making a big ask:
- It is not about you – When asking someone to get involved and begin giving time, energy or other resources it is easy to think about yourself and perceive that you are requesting help from someone. Inviting people into meaningful ministry is not about you. It is about them. It is about God. It is about growing the Kingdom. It is about a number of things, none of which is you. The minute you stop thinking of yourself is the moment you can make a big ask of someone – because you are freed up from the pressure and able to be used by God to connect people into something meaningful.
- People long to be a part of something bigger than themselves – Perspective is essential when asking someone to volunteer. No one wants to wallow in meaninglessness, but many people never get the chance to step out and do something meaningful. The poet Oliver Wendell Holmes’ said it well: “Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them.” By inviting people to volunteer, we create an avenue for them to express their life’s song. The thrill of our lives is found in participating in something larger than ourselves.
- Clarity is king – If I don’t know what you are asking of me than I am unlikely to say “yes.” Fight for clarity when you ask someone to begin serving. Some people will ask a lot of questions, but many might not know what questions to ask. Frame up the request you are making by providing specifics:
- How often do you want them to serve?
- When do you want them to start?
- How much time do you need from them when they serve?
- How long do you want them to serve? (For a season? Until they are no longer willing?)
- What training is needed before they start?
Keep these things in mind as you invite people into meaningful volunteer opportunities