Effective Strategies for Recruiting International Ministry Teams
If you are like many team leaders, mobilizing enough people for your trips is a struggle. It is tough getting people to volunteer for missionary travel half way around the world. You can overcome some of this hurdle if you utilize your current team as a recruiting force for future trips. Here are five tips to get you started.
Besides the obvious benefits of more prayer, each prayer warrior becomes a
prospective team member. As these people pray for your work, their hearts are stirred
for your mission.
Grow your prayer team by asking people to sign a prayer commitment. It may be a piece of paper distributed by team members or it may be a form on a website, but signing encourages follow-through. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to capture names and e-mail addresses. These should be some of the first people you contact for your next trip.
Just like your prayer team, those who financially support your team members have a connection to your work. They demonstrated interest by parting with their cash. Encourage these folks to not only give, but actually go. For years, Robert supported his wife and children as they did missions work. “I pray and pay so they can go.” Finally, he realized that as good as it was to help his family, he was robbing himself of a greater blessing by not going himself. He didn’t think going was for him, but after one trip, that all changed!
Nothing raises vision or mobilizes people more than stories. Statistics may impact
some, but stories move everyone. You can talk about the millions of people in spiritual
darkness, the high percentage of people without clean drinking water or the mortality
rate among your targeted people group, but those numbers don’t connect like a story.
Find a personal story that illustrates the need and shows the benefit of your work.
Stories are powerful tools for casting vision. Here are some ideas to help you capture
First, at the end of the trip, ask each team member to write down their most memorable moment. Half joking, I told my teams that they had to give me their “most memorable” before I would give them their airplane ticket home. If you wait until after the team gets back to collect these, you will be lucky to get any. Get the stories on your way to the airport or even during the flight home, but get those stories!
Besides written testimonies, you may also want to consider sending a video camera along with each group during your trip so they can record events as they happen. Also, if you will have Internet access overseas, set up a blog for team members to post articles and photos during the trip. You will not only capture stories, but you will cast vision to those back home following your progress. Make it your goal to capture as many stories as possible, then pick out the best three or four and use them to report on your trip.
Train Your Team to Communicate Effectively
Most people do not know how to give an effective presentation about their trip. One way to improve this is by providing an outline that can be used in both formal presentations and informal gatherings. Here’s a suggested outline:
- 1) My most memorable moment.
- 2) What I saw God do in others.
- 3) What I saw God do in me.
In addition, teach your team to not “dump” on people when asked about their trip. Most people who ask about a trip expect a short, concise response, not a 15 minute rambling about the trip’s minutest details! Teach your team to create a 60 second summary response. If the person asking about the trip is interested in more, the team member can go into depth using their “outline.” By effectively communicating their experiences, your team will multiply your recruiting efforts.
Even after the trip is over, do as much as you can to keep the experience in front of your team, their supporters and anyone else who is interested. Send e-mails or newsletters with updates on the progress made in the field since your trip. Also, host a picture party after you get home. Give your team the opportunity to share photos and swap digital memory sticks, but be sure to invite other people to this as well. In addition, you may want to consider monthly or quarterly prayer meetings to keep the mission flames burning until that next trip.
All of these tips will help you cast vision to potential team participants. Vision is what
propels people to move out of their comfort zones and tackle new opportunities. As you
develop your prayer team, engage your donors, capture stories, improve
communications and find ways to stroke the flames of ministry passion, you cast vision.
As you do, you will find that team recruitment comes much easier.