I’m Here to Recruit You!

An older Blog of mine from 2009….

I was watching the movie “Milk” the other day which is a powerful film with many things to be taken from it. One thing that captured my attention was his catch phrase, “Hello, I’m Harvey Milk and I’m here to recruit you!” I pondered on that statement and had to come to a hard realization that I have been trying not to admit for a long time, I am lousy at recruiting others.

The Shepherd’s Fellowship has been around for five years now and is a small community. A matter of fact we started with eight people, opened the doors to about 30 people, grew to about 60 people, and then have gone back down to about 25-30 people. (Now, if you really know me, you know that numbers mean little to me so don’t miss the point. I am mostly talking out observations of my “recruiting” habits and wondering if I am going about things the right way or not.)

Whenever I talk to someone about our church community, it seems people either don’t get it or they get really excited. Most people, however, seem to get excited about it. The vision of a real community and not just a Sunday morning membership seems to strike a cord in many. Especially those who have been turned off by church before or are struggling in their current church experience. They find an interest in a community where there is a balance of truth and love, not just one or the other. They are excited about a place where everyone does not have to be perfect and work together towards holiness.

Then they don’t show up. Or they come a couple times and then disappear. Many times for the conflicting reason of wanting to be part of something that is real and then they don’t want to be part of making it, are turned off that it’s not polished enough or it doesn’t reminds them of what they grew up with even though that’s what turned them off in the first place. I would guess the biggest reason has to do with the fact that a real community sounds great but when that leads to going through a tough conversation, people pull back. We all love community when it’s a cookout but not so much when it’s working through a misunderstanding or conflict.

I have talked to people who want to move from one church to another because they are not getting anything where they are going now. When I ask them what they are looking for I find the following most of the time….. we are too busy for anything more than Sunday mornings but I want a life changing experience in a polished church and my kid’s to be raised up to Christian maturity. In one hour a week with no investment to deeper relationships?

I am a little baffled but not surprised.

When I think about the lives at The Shepherd’s Fellowship, I am humbled by many that are there. I have seen people who would give no credit to themselves give themselves to a vision of a real community. I see people praying with each other, taking care of the needs of one another and those outside our community, growing in their walks with the Lord, growing in friendships that help them through crappy days, and more. Does everyone experience this in our church community? No. But most do. Those who are open to it are.

So what was my original point? Oh yes, I’m a lousy recruiter. See, when people talk to me about finding a church, it is truly my heart for people to find where God is leading them and not just building our church up. So I give them options off of what they are saying they are looking for which often times includes ours. However, I don’t press ours even when I feel it would be a great option for them. Does this show people my heart for God’s will and trust in them to seek Him or do they think I don’t care much what they do?

Then, what about those who come and then leave after one visit or one year? They say they are leaving for this or that and I respect them for it. I have done this and gotten blasted for not chasing them down wanting them to stay! Well, of course I want you to stay but how am I suppose to read your mind instead of trusting you?

It a hard balance for me and I will continue to struggle with it…..but for now, if you are reading this and you’re from around Marion, Ohio…..let me just say…..

“Hello, I’m Tom Hypes, and I’m here to recruit you!”

The Shepherd’s Fellowship is a great church community that is exploring a new beginning! The future looks bright even with everyday challenges. Loving people doing life together are excited to build a community that is loving and founded on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ and the Truth of the Bible. We want real people with real struggles looking for real life to be part of this and I hope you will consider it. Come out and hang with us and if you feel what I fell, become a part of us. We would be honored to have you be a part of our church as we worship and love on God.

You can check things out a little at www.theshepherdsfellowship.org but you won’t get the real feel of the place until you come out so please consider stopping by this Sunday.

About Tom Hypes

Tom Hypes is an ordained Pastor who has served in churches and the camping ministry for over 25 years. He currently leads at The Shepherd's Fellowship and volunteers at Leapin' Outreach (clothing ministry), Marion County Citizen Circle (helping clients with transitions from prison to community), Kirkpatrick Food Pantry, and ministers in the local nursing homes. He has also contributed to Group Magazine, CBA Marketplace, and Youth Worker Magazine. He serves in his ministry in the partnership with his family; wife Jenni, son Ryan, and daughter Emily.