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Recruiting Season

Recruit People to Christ… Recruit People to Meaningful Church Membership…
Recruit People to Sunday School

Basic Concept:
College football recruiting is hot and heavy immediately after the start of the new year through the first Wednesday in February, which is national signing day. Fans keep close watch on which players their teams are recruiting and which ones indicate they will play for their teams. Recruits are ranked by web sites such as and with one to five stars, to indicate their potential value to a team. Fans know the terminology and the process, which includes: in-home visits, official visit, touring the facilities, primary recruiter, and letter of intent (the document the player signs to accept a scholarship offer). In 2009, we had our signing cermony on national signing day. In 2010,we had this event in the fall during football season.

Since so many people know college recruiting, it is easy to transfer the terminology and process to a church membership campaign. People need to be recruited in different ways to different things. Some don't yet know the Lord, but we could recruit them to Sunday School. Some are committed Christians looking for a church home; we can recruit them to meaningful church membership. The same could be true of some who have been attending your church for some time, but who have not yet joined. And some people need to be recruited to Jesus Christ. This is not to say that such an emphasis should involve reducing repentance or watering down the Gospel. It means that we take the initiative to tell them the Good News.

Quick Glossary for Our Campaign:

  • In-Home Visit: We had two visitations to take Recruit Information Packets to prospects
  • On-Campus Visit: An open house to tour the facilities on a night when we didn't have services. Members were asked to bring their recruits. We advertized it.
  • Primary Recruiter: Each church member was told he or she was a primary recruiter
  • Signing Ceremony: A ceremony we had in our fireside room (originally planned for the foyer), with a table decorated in "church colors" in which new members signed a letter of intent. This was followed by a special church-wide service called, "Celebration of Church Membership" in the worship center.
  • Letter of Intent: A covenant of church membership. Each paragraph began, "It is my intention…" It was based on our 8 expectations of church members.
  • Verbal Commitment: Someone who indicates that they will participate in the signing ceremony.

Which would you rather someone say to you, "Isn't it about time you got in church?" or "We consider you a prized recruit"?

Below are snippets from our daily Recruiting Season Update e-mails. These are only samples and they are arranged topically, not chronologically. These give you an idea how we communicated the concept to our membership. Below that is a list of links to the resources we used:

Special Signing Day Service
Wednesday Night, February 4
The first Wednesday in February is National Signing Day in NCAA football.. What we would like to do is like what they do in football recruiting. A coach from the university comes to the players high school and they set up a table and decorate it with the colors of the college team. Then the signee and his family sit down with the coach and the recruit formally signs the scholarship offer in acceptance. Pictures are made for the local paper and it is a big moment. On this Wednesday night, we will set up a table in the foyer and have our recruits sign on to church membership there. We will take pictures and everything! After that, we will have a special church-wide worship service that will celebrate church membership.

We already have a verbal commitment from one couple for the signing ceremony on Wednesday, February 4. We would like more!
There are several people who are attending regularly and who are in our Sunday School classes, but who are not yet members. If you are one of those people, you could be an encourager to others, by agreeing take part. That way, those who are more nervous about being in front of people will be encouraged. Besides, this will be at a table in the foyer and before the service itself. There will be people there and we will take pictures, but it will be less formal and threatening feeling. Sunday School workers, we have placed Signing Day Invitations in the Sunday School folders; be sure to pass one along to anyone who is attending your class who needs to “take care of the paperwork.” The invitation includes information about the event. You can download a copy of the invitation by clicking on this link.

Special Church-Wide Worship Service
Celebration of Church Membership
This Wednesday Night at 6:30
Following the Signing Ceremony
Full-blown service with the choir singing and everything!

2010: Forward-Ready E-mails An easy way to mobilize your members to promote the various aspects of recruiting seaons and then to remind them of upcoming events in a timely manner.

You are the Primary Recruiter
In football recruiting, an assistant coach has specific responsibility for recruiting particular players. Others may assist in the process, including the head coach, but the assistant is responsible for knowing the player and where he stands in terms of his interest in the university. He is personally responsible for following through with the player and his family. In First Baptist’s recruiting season you are the primary recruiter. The church office is happy to provide any brochures or information you need. Ministerial staff members are glad to make calls to your recruit or a personal visit. Please call on us.

Keep Recruiting
When a football team recruits, each potential player is assigned to a particular assistant coach. Sometimes you will hear a player in his junior or senior year asked what brought him to his university and his reply will reflect back on his recruitment, “I was recruited by coach so and so…” The head coach will speak to any player, but each coach is specially responsible for particular players. The coaches don’t speak to their player only once, but numerous times in different ways – visits, phone calls, notes, mail-outs, etc.

If you would like for a ministerial staff member to speak with your recruit, just ask! The number at the church office is… If you have a recruit who would benefit from a mail-out, then reply to this e-mail with the person’s name and mailing address. If the person is youth age, please make note of that fact so we can send the person the right mail-out. Also, if the family has visited, let us know that also.

Follow-Through with Your Recruits
Recruiting Season was a fun way to do outreach, but not everyone was ready to commit to us. You may have given someone a Recruit Information Packet; perhaps you will want to follow-through with that family in the next few days or couple of weeks. You don’t have to be pushy, but don’t give up. Touch base with them again later. Let them know that aren’t interested in them just because the church is having recruiting season.

Listen to our Radio Spot on Recruiting Season

Recruit Information Packets will be available at prayer meeting and choir rehearsal.
To get the conversation going with the people you are trying to recruit, all you have to do is give them the packet.

Our goal is to give 100 packets to genuine prospect families. This may be done during one of our two in-home visit nights – or any time.

Contents of Recruit Information Packet

  • Cover Letter from Pastor
  • General Brochure about First Baptist Church
  • The Distinctive Ministry of First Baptist (brochure) (info about facilities, evangelism strategy, ministries)
  • Exploring Membership at First Baptist (brochure)
  • Sunday School Classes at First Baptist (brochure)
  • Have You Been Feeling Lately That God is Recruiting You? (evangelistic brochure)
  • We Consider You a Five Star Recruit Questionnaire (with stamped, addressed envelope)
  • Our Beliefs: The 2000 Baptist Faith & Message Statement (booklet)
  • Flyer about Membership Information Class
  • Signing Day Invitation / Fact Sheet

The packet has several brochures and small pieces of information. The idea isn’t that the person will read every single thing in the packet, but will pick the parts in which they are interested. However, just seeing the information in the packet tells them what is important to us as a church. For example, they may not read the little booklet on our beliefs, but they will see it and get the idea that we consider Biblical truth important.
An unusual item in the packet is the Questionnaire. All major sports teams use these in recruiting and why shouldn’t we? We are looking for people to become participating members, so why not ask them about their spiritual gifts? A person may not return the questionnaire, but they get the message that we aren’t looking for bench warmers. Committed Christians, who are seeking a church, will get the idea that we mean business and will see this as a good sign.

On-Campus Visit
Monday, January 12
5:30-8:00 PM
Recruits tour the facilities, meet staff, and learn about the ministries of the church.
Invite the person you are recruiting
Campus Tour Guides Still Needed

Membership Information Class
Starts this Sunday!
During Sunday School
Choir Room
Led by Pastor Gentle
Jan. 11, 18, 25
Each week has a stand-alone lesson. They don't build on the previous lesson, so if you miss one, you won’t be behind the next.

January 11: Sunday's lesson on the beleifs that all Bible-believing Christians hold in common
January 18: Sunday's lesson is on the beliefs distinctive to Baptists among the denominations
January 25: Sunday's lesson is on the goals and structure of First Baptist Church.

My Recruiting Nightmare
We have four verbal commitments already for the signing ceremony one week from tonight. Our goal was to distribute 100 Recruit Information Packets; we have distributed packets to over 100 families and have had to print more. So things have gone really well!

But I do have one nightmare scenario. That someone sitting in one of our Sunday School classes -- and in our worship services -- has been hearing us talk about recruiting season… but no one has given them a recruiting packet or has asked them if they would like to be involved in the signing ceremony. I am picturing that person thinking that we must not consider them a prize recruit. “Why aren’t they recruiting me? They must not want me. I see how I rate!”

Of course, we wouldn’t be feeling that way about them. More likely, they have been coming so long everyone assumes they are members. But how would you feel?

So, I am asking every Sunday School member – especially our teachers and workers – to look around. Let’s be careful that we don’t accidentally overlook someone. It would be better to be the third person to tell them they are wanted than for them to never be asked. Remember, YOU are the primary recruiter.

Enrolling Recruits in Sunday School
The practice of Sunday School open enrollment (enrolling anyone, anywhere, at any time, as long as they agree) is the only official Sunday School enrollment practice recommended in Southern Baptist life. Open Enrollment is not a commitment on behalf of the individual to attend, but a commitment on behalf of the class to minister. Church membership says something about the person; Sunday School membership says something about us as a church. When people are enrolled in our class, we have their names, addresses, and phone numbers. They have agreed to be a member of the class and know we have the right to contact them. When a person attends Sunday School over a period of time, they are exposed to the Word of God and the people of God – and the Spirit may perform a work of God to bring them into the family of God. When we drop someone from the roll, we lose all connection to the person and have given up on him.

So how can I enroll anyone anywhere? Just ask the person if she would agree to be a member of the class, and get her name, address, date of birth, and phone number to the church. Just call Susan in the church office (283-2287) and give her the person’s information and tell her which class you have enrolled your recruit in. Or your class secretary can ask a guest in your class: “Would you like to be enrolled in our class today, or are you still checking things out?”

Recruiting Them to Christ
Hannah has embedded on her blog a most interesting video and has entitled her post
An Atheist’s Guide to Christian Evangelism (click on this link)
In the video, an atheist discusses a positive encounter with a Christian witness
Watch the video first
Hannah follows with some good insights

There are five invitations of Jesus Christ to which I would like to direct your attention. They are:

1. Come and See
2. Come and Follow
3. Come Be With Me
4. Go and Tell
5. Remain in Me

These five invitations are the foundation of our church strategy to take people through a process from lostness to Christian maturity. This process takes people from being In Our Sphere of Influence to getting them In the Door to leading them to faith in Christ so that they enter In the Kingdom and associate themselves by covenant with us In the Church where they will be In Training to be deployed In the World in evangelism and service and where we will provide the nurture and accountability to help them continue In Fellowship with the Lord and His people.

Video Links Just for Fun
(These were placed in the e-mails from time to time)

It looks like ESPN is into Recruiting Season (YouTube) Are you?

The Big 10 is into Recruiting (YouTube) Are you?

If We Were Recruiting Football Players instead of Christians and Church Members, Here are the Players We Would Be Recruiting

It Was a Great Recruiting Season!
Eleven people participated in the signing ceremony last night (two of whom made their professions of faith on Sunday, but who chose to participate). We distributed approximately 110 recruit information packets – so the good that will come from the emphasis may not be over. Thanks for a job well-done!

2010: See photos from signing ceremony.

Materials Used in Recruiting Season 2009

Signing Day Invitation / Fact Sheet
Letter of Intent   In MS Publisher
Radio Spot for Recruiting Season: Streaming Audio
One-Sentence Testimony Worksheet
Church Process: Evangelism Through Discipleship
Evangelistic Brochure: Does It Seem God Has Been Recruiting You?   In MS Publisher
Brochure: Church Membership   In MS Publisher
Open Enrollment Card    In WordPerfect
Labels for Recruit Information Packet in WordPerfect
Clip Art: 5 Stars (Gif)

Fact Sheets Distributed to Sunday School Classes
General Fact Sheet in MS Publisher
Fact Sheet on Open Enrollment in MS Publisher

Used in Celebration of Church Membership Service
Responsive Reading PPT
PPT Sermon: God isn't Looking for Benchwarmers
Video from Blue Fish TV: Humorous way of saying we could have overdone it & just for fun