Leaders Generate Cold Leads

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design (3)I worked my first year through Bible college in a traveling sales job.  It was not an easy way to make a living, but the experience has paid off several times over.   One of the most important thing I learned that year driving all over Missouri and Arkansas was how important it was to always keep quality sales leads coming in.  If I didn’t have someone to show my product to, it didn’t matter how great the product was or how much time I invested in the sales pitch, sales dried up.

The same concept holds true in ministry.  Every children’s ministry needs a pipeline of new volunteer leads.  This post is part two of the post “Leaders Generate Leads.” There are three types of leads every children’s ministry needs, this post will cover the most common.

The first type of volunteer lead is the cold lead.  Just like in sales, a cold lead is a contact you make through no introduction; usually by walking up to someone “cold” and giving them your pitch.  Both in sales and in ministry cold leads are the hardest to convert and take the most energy.  In most churches this an announcement in the bulletin or from the platform, the conversation in the hallway or the creatively worded Facebook post.  Sadly most church leaders only make contact with potential volunteers as “cold” leads; others try to skip this lead completely.  Neither is right.  You can’t live here and maintain a full pipeline of potential and new volunteers; and on the flip side you can’t skip this type of lead either.  Here are some tips to get the most out of your cold leads.

  1. Get a list of everyone who worships in your church.  Every church has multiple lists of attenders.  (Giving records, attendance records, new believers, new members, etc)
  2. Begin evaluating each person’s involvement, skills, interest, and potential on a spreadsheet.  Include the following information.
    • Name & contact information
    • Age
    • Are they regular attenders?
    • Do they attend discipleship?
    • What services do they attend?
    • Are they serving in a ministry? Which one?
    • Have they received any ministry training?
    • What do they do for a living?
    • Does their job provide them a skill that can be used in ministry?
  3. Next categorize each individual in one of the following categories.
    • Unemployed – not currently serving
    • Misemployed – serving in the wrong ministry
    • Overemployed – serving too much already
    • Underemployed – has room to serve
    • Employed – leave alone, already committed.  Keep in mind everyone’s involvement changes.  Just because someone is employed or overemployed doesn’t mean that will always be the case, keep them on the list, who knows what their availability will be in six months or six years.  
  4. Another category to keep in mind are the four levels of spiritual maturity.
    • Emotionally unhealthy
    • Emotionally immature
    • Emotionally mature
    • Emotionally giving

In my experience 80% of the people in the average church fall into the first two categories.  This is where you have to use wisdom and discernment.  Your goal should be to invest the most time, energy and resources into those who will give the greatest return.  Your goal should be to release the emotionally mature and emotionally giving into ministry while trying to bring the unhealthy and immature along in their discipleship.

That means when your working cold leads you want to go after the 20% who have the most to offer and greatest potential to be converted into fully trained volunteers.  Cold leads are the hardest to convert, so don’t make this your primary method of generating leads, but don’t skip it completely either.

In the next post we will cover the second type of volunteer lead: Warm Leads.

How do you identify and keep track of your cold leads?  Do you have a different process? Comment below or join the discussion on Facebook.  

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About the Author

Andrew VanDerLinden

Andrew is the Executive Pastor at Community Church in Eastern PA.

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