How To Recruit HOSTS

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What’s the best way to recruit HOSTS for your upcoming alignment (church-wide study)?  You might say it depends on what you’re hoping will happen.  Bottom line, the way you recruit HOSTS will determine who you are able to recruit and who you recruit will absolutely determine who ends up doing the study.

How’s it worked out for you in the past?  Great…or not so good?  I’ve found that there are some dead giveaways that predetermine how it’s going to go.  Here are three:

  1. Recruiting from the usual suspects guarantees a limited response.  There friends are “also inside the square.”
  2. Choose a topic that is on the hard end of the easy/hard continuum.  Nobody’s going to be inviting anyone!
  3. Jam a 10 week launch schedule into 3 and fight Labor Day weekend in the mix.

Sound familiar?  Those three strategic blunders predetermine the number of HOSTS you’ll be able to recruit.

Here’s how I recruit HOSTS when the goal is to launch groups where neighbors and friends can end up being invited.

  1. Schedule a message series on God’s Heart for Unconnected People 4 to 6 weeks before the alignment.  The basic idea is that just like Jesus in Matthew 9:36, we ought to have a heart for the crowds who are harrassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  I’ve got the basic concept of the Matthew 9 message right here.
  2. Your senior pastor is the best person to do the recruiting.  You’ll be tempted to delegate the recruiting to the person on your team that wears the small group hat (small group pastor, director, etc.).  Do not do that.  The best person on the team to ask for HOSTS is the senior pastor.  Anything else is much less effective.
  3. The message is the best place to do the recruiting.  You’ll be tempted to do a series of announcements.  This is great to do in addition to the message series.  But no substitute for the message.
  4. Design each of the messages in the message series to include what I call “the dance.”  This is a combination of story, video (or live) testimony, bulletin insert and offering.  You’ll be tempted to only do this one week.  Don’t give in to that temptation.  There are people in your congregation who will only be there one of the weeks.  If you want to reach your community, you need to give more of your congregation the chance to HOST a group.  I’ve written about this in an article on exponential outreach.
  5. Schedule several orientations at easy-to-attend times.  Right after the service is often a great time.  Offer childcare if possible.
  6. Follow up on every HOST volunteer with a letter inviting them to attend a HOST orientation.
  7. Use your coaching team to call each HOST volunteer and invite them to sit with them at the orientation.

This will get you started.  The key is to get started!  Don’t let the main chance pass you by!  By the way…if you’re not signed up to get the update, you might miss my post on designing great HOST Orientations.  You can sign up RIGHT HERE.

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