Joel Sarli was Associate Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and the second editor of Elder’s Digest when this article was written.

Most of the work done in the local congregation is on a voluntary basis. The motivation for most of our local leaders is a kind of spiritual satisfaction and the sense of responsibility toward Jesus Christ our Savior.

In many churches, enlisting leaders for the next year is one of the most dreaded tasks. Pastor, elders and nominating committee members, approach enlistment with the mind-set that people really don't want to work or accept responsibilities. I am convince that your congregation can find every worker God has for you if you follow some steps in looking for leaders to meet the need. If you take shortcuts along the way or skip some steps, the guarantee is null and void.


In Matthew 9:38, Jesus said, "Pray ye therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest." That prayer at the beginning of the nominating committee meeting is nice, but it's not enough. Ask each member of the nominating team to take a portion of the positions to be filled and pray each day for the weeks that the nomination process is going on.

Ask God to show you the person in the church He would take for that responsibility. Yes, even pray about the teachers who have been teaching the same class for 20 years. It will be a blessing to go to them and ask them to teach again with confidence that God has confirmed their being in that position.

Make a list of needed leaders

Include every position to be filled for the following year.

Make a list of potential officers

You should include every church member who is capable of serving and is acceptable to the church. Many nominating teams take a decision for the person. Someone suggests a name, and another member of the team says: "He won't do it. We asked him last year, and he turned us down." That is not the right approach. We don't know what God may do in their lives. Our job is to pray and contact the person God will lead us to contact.

Make a list of training opportunities

Include the following and other options:

  • Training offered by your Conference leaders.
  • Training offered by the Union departmental people.
  • At least one training event your local church should offer every ecclesiastical year to the leaders in different capacities.
  • There are individual training opportunities designed for self-study. (The Ministerial Association of the General Conference is offering Elder's Curriculum as an option).

You should include dates and times for each training opportunities. Don't take a shortcut here! Put these training opportunities on paper.

Pray again

Ask God to lead you to the person in the church to teach this class or accept this training ministry position.

Decide on one person

Often the nominating committee prays for God's leadership, decides on a person and contacts that person. Then decides on a backup just in case the answer is no.

Think about that practice. Why do we need a backup? The only reason is that we started the process too late, and we don't have time to pray again. Decide on one person. If he or she says no, pray again. "Lord, who is the person in our church that you would choose to help in this training ministry?"

Make an appointment

This is important. Make a commitment that no one will be enlisted in the hallway or on the parking lot. When we enlist without an appointment, we are suggesting: "This ministry isn't very important. I didn't even bother to arrange a time and place where we could discuss it." Consider meeting at the church in the room where he or she would have the training class.

Make a nominating contact

Tell prospective officers about your prayer and that you feel God has led you to invite them to accept this ministry. Take some teaching materials with you and discuss the preparation of a lesson. Don't take a shortcut. Ask them to pray.

Contact potential officers for their reply

Give them a week to pray. This contact can be made by phone.

Follow up

Invite workers to sit in on a class similar to the one they will be leading. Check with the officer after a month to see how much progress has been made. Make sure those training events really happen.


Joel Sarli was Associate Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and the second editor of Elder’s Digest when this article was written.