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The First Date

John was really nervous. He had seen Sally from across the room and knew that she was the one. But where to begin? He knew he had to speak to her, but how?! Could he really just walk straight up to her and introduce himself? Surely not!
But she would be perfect he thought!
She was everything that he was looking for!
“But what if she says no!”

John pulled himself together, straightened up his baseball cap, dusted off his plaid shirt and said to himself:

“You’re a Youth Pastor John! You need a girls small group leader!
Do your job and ask her!”

In the last 411 blog we talked about a swipe right mentality of volunteer recruitment. But I challenged us to think beyond that, and pray diligently for the right people in our ministries. When we ask God to bring the guys or girls that we need for his ministry to grow, he will provide.

So what do you do when you identify someone who you think would be an awesome fit? Or if someone approaches you to join your ministry team?

I like to call this “The First Date”.


If you have ever been on a date before or have ever watched any Netflix series ever, the world of dating is a funny place. First dates can range from extravagant meals, to walks in the park. However the classic date, to beat all other dates, is the coffee date. Everyone knows that a coffee date is the best type of date. A warm cosy cafe, the smell of ground coffee beans, the murmurs and laughter of other conversations, and a relaxed environment to get to know someone. No-one ever plans for a first date to be bad. Everything about the coffee date puts you in a good position to get a second date. You just have to make sure the conversation flows.

Now, lets think of another environment: the shopping mall. It’s busy, people are typically stressed with the amount of people around them, it is loud, shop assistants are over keen. Like seriously, if I need your help, I’ll ask. For most people, the shopping mall is a necessity, not typically a place of relaxation or conversation.

I wonder what the foyer of your church is like after a service? Is it a coffee shop or a shopping mall?

See the easy way to ask people to be volunteers, is to run around after a service, bombard people with newsletters, information, posters and “I LOVE YOUTH” wristbands! But is that the best place to find out about someones passions, gift and character?

You see when you ask someone on a date, it’s because you have an element of care for them, and you want to get to know them better! This is the same with recruiting volunteers! Volunteers are the backbone of your ministry and a large proportion of your time should be spent loving them and blessing them. So why not start that way? Start with a First Date.

I have found in my ministry life, that spending an hour out of my day to have coffee and chat with potential volunteers has done a number of awesome things:

1. I get to know them a lot better.
2. I hear of their heart for ministry.
3. I identify some of their gifts.
4. They feel valued.
5. They get to ask questions.


What is the goal of a first date? Is it to walk out the room with a boyfriend or girlfriend?
OF COURSE NOT! The goal of a first date is to get a second date. To ask some more questions, to spend more time together.

When recruiting volunteers, never spend the first date trying to sign them up to your ministry. Don’t just swipe right. Both the potential volunteer and yourself should go away and pray! Ask God where they would fit in? It is on the second date where the bigger questions are asked.

Tune in for the next 411 blog “The Second Date”, to find out more.



Your friend,


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