Today is the day for you to recruit a new leader. Here are five ways:

#1. Start with your best current leaders. If you have some leaders that are doing an incredible job, they may be your best resource for finding more leaders. There have been times when I’ve approached an all-star volunteer and said, “Open up your phone. Scroll through your contacts. I need more leaders like you. Who are your best friends?” If it’s a couple, I ask them, “Which couples do you hang out with the most?” Most great people are great because of who they align themselves with. I want those people as leaders in my environment 

#2. Don’t be afraid to ask. I wouldn’t rule out the following people:

  • A mom or dad with four kids.
  • People with highly successful businesses.
  • People who travel as part of their business (one of my best former leaders was a pilot).

You get the idea. If you think someone would be great for your environment, all you have to do is ask. The worst thing that can happen is they say no. But don’t just sit around and wait on people to come to you. You make the first move.

#3. Cast vision like you’re life depended on it. When you see great people who you think would be great leaders in your environment—and you get an appointment with them—take it seriously. Now’s your chance. Don’t just talk about expectations. Don’t just talk about how fun your student ministry is. Talk about the heart of student ministry in general:

  • High school and middle school are crucial times in a person’s life.
  • As much as students put up a tough front, they are deeply impacted when they know an adult cares about them.
  • It’s extremely difficult to be a student these days. Imagine if there were a handful of students that knew you believe in them.
  • You have the opportunity to develop relationships with students, which will enable you to have influence in their lives.
  • Some of these relationships will last longer than just middle school or high school. If you do it right, you’ll be having conversations when they’re in college, and you’ll be a part of their weddings.
  • You will grow in your own faith. There is nothing that strengthens your faith like serving and leading others.
  • You will build awesome friendships with other leaders.

#4. Don’t get locked in to a certain “type” of leader.  There are two extremes when it comes to recruiting volunteers—a door that’s locked too tight, and a door that’s open too wide. I’ve talked to student pastors who were convinced they had to have all college students as small group leaders. That makes sense—college students are young and cool. On the other hand, I’ve met student pastors who allow anybody be a leader. The door is open waaaaaaay too wide!

You have to have standards. There is nothing more important than the quality of your leaders. But quality can be found in college-aged guys and dads in their 40’s. When I think about some of the best leaders I’ve seen through the years, there hasn’t been a predictable profile. It’s been about leaders who know and love their students. That’s about it.

#5. Pray, pray, pray! You may rotate the things you pray about concerning your ministry. One thing I’d make sure remains constant and consistent: praying for your leaders. Pray for the right leaders in your environment. Pray for enough of them. Pray for your existing leaders—their hearts, their relationships, and their walks with God. Pray for their relationship with new students and old. Pray for your relationship with them. And then—don’t stop praying!

So what’s your one step? Recruit a new leader.

Ben Crawshaw is a youth ministry thought leader, and a DYM resource author.