We’re in a time where three unique generations are converging—and sometimes clashing—within the church and maybe within your ministry. As you aim to recruit people from different generations, motivate them according to the way they’re wired.
Let Boomers be the change. This generation is looking to change the world; serving in your ministry is a great opportunity to do so. Many Boomers have big dreams of making a difference. This is where you come in. When you ask someone from this generation to join your team, convey what a difference the person’s specific service will make. You’re not asking someone to “fill a hole”; you’re asking a specific someone to tackle a specific need—and join you on a great adventure to change the world.
Offer Gen Xers ways to take charge. This generation is often self-guided, so an effective recruiting pitch might include an offer to take charge of an aspect of the ministry. A word of caution, though: This self-reliance can translate into a Lone-Ranger mentality. It’s not that Gen Xers want to push back against your authority or don’t need help, it’s just that they’re used to taking care of things themselves. So if they have a small group, they want to choose the topic and lead without interference (unless circumstances warrant it). You’ll need to clearly define your expectations and the boundaries of their role.
Make Millennials’ efforts matter. This generation considers causes important. They’re used to volunteering and giving their time to charities, and there’s no generation that’s made social justice such a hot topic. Tap into that desire when you ask a Millennial onto your team. Serving in your ministry is a way to make a difference at home right now—your job is to convince them of that. Millennials want to know the work they’re doing is important. For Millennials, this knowledge is key to getting them on your team—and keeping them.
Having people from different generations on your ministry team is a beautiful and biblical thing. With a little forethought and intentional awareness, it can also be an inclusive, individualized, and rewarding experience for the entire range of your volunteer demographic.
[Excerpted from the May/June 2014 issue of Children’s Ministry magazine.]