Did you know that anytime of year is a great time for storyteller recruitment?

It doesn’t matter what month or season of ministry, much of our time throughout the week is spent filling in the gaps left by absentee volunteers. Why not use your volunteer gaps—to audition and test new storytellers for the school year?

Why you should do this:

It’s low commitment. People don’t want to try serving throughout the school year because they think once they sign up to try out one Sunday, they’re signed up for the remaining 51. You’re only asking for one Sunday, and they’re helping out by filling a gap.

You get to audition each other. Auditioning is a two-way process. Chances are if you’re asking someone to give it a shot, you already know them and are fairly certain they’ll be great at it. Usually, the hesitation is more on their side. Often it just takes a taste of being on stage with kids hanging on your every word to help someone realize that this is where God wants them to serve.

You have to staff this position anyway. Don’t force a small group leader who is better at small group leading to take the stage. Use someone whose gifts are telling stories and connecting with a large group of kids.

You’re convinced, but you’ve got one big, burning question… How do I start looking for future storytellers? 

Start at the top. Request an asks from the main stage during church. This wide-open volunteer recruitment tactic may not  yield a ton of storytellers, but it will plant the seed in your future storytellers’ minds.

Go to the storytellers. Storytellers are a unique bunch and require more effort to discover and recruit for your team. Most storytellers won’t come to you begging to tell Bible stories in your children’s ministry. Others don’t even know they’d be a great storyteller yet. Walk the hallways before and after church and do some observation. Look for these people:

Extroverts who get life from being the center of attention
Introverts who just happen to be great on stage (they do exist)
People surrounded by others listening to their personal anecdotes
People everyone is saying “hi” to, high-fiving, and seem like the life of the party
High schoolers who participate in choir, drama or debate, and are used to being onstage
High schoolers who are the class comedians
Local college students who are camp counselors or music/drama majors

Ask them to give it a try! While that may sound like an obvious next step, think about it. Churches regularly talk about volunteer recruitment from the main stage. We communicate that we need volunteers, but for one reason or another, people don’t hear that we personally need them. So, make a personal askPeople are more likely to volunteer when they feel that you need their unique skills to make ministry happen. When you ask, be specific with why you are asking them and have an exact date you’d like them to serve. Make sure it’s far enough away that you can put them through an application process. Assure them that you’re only asking for one Sunday at this point, but also let them know that If they enjoy it, you’d love to talk about getting them into a regular rotation of storytellers. For example,

“I’ve noticed you around church, and you seem like a really fun person. I am looking for a person to fill in as the Bible storyteller on Sunday, July ##. I think you’d be great at this. It’s just one Sunday, but if you enjoy it, I’m always looking for great storytellers on our team. Can we chat this week so I can tell you more about it?”

Here’s your homework for the next few days:

Write down five people who you think would make great Bible storytellers in your children’s ministry.
Write their first names in the comments, and let’s pray that God will open their hearts to serving!

Contact them. Call them, Email, Text. Whatever it takes, and make the ask. (Oh and don’t scare them off. Promise them that you’ll never do any of these things.)

Even if they say, no, these people will feel like rock stars because you thought of them. But hopefully at least one will say yes, and you can work towards helping them get on stage.

Stay tuned for the later this week on what you should do before putting storytellers on stage for the first time. But for now, get to making those contacts and tell us how it went or share your best recruitment ideas.

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