Want to Learn Names? Look in the Mirror.
Most of us will freely confess that we’re bad at names. We can try all of the old tricks, and still find ourselves grasping for Bob or Bill or maybe it was Enrico? 45 seconds after the conversation ends.
Maybe you count this as no big deal. After all, if everyone is bad at it, why should the burden be on you to be good at it?
I would argue that it is a big deal, and the burden is on you, for the sake of your guests.
Nowhere is learning names more crucial than in our encounters with a first-time guest at our church. They want to feel known, loved, and cared for, and the baseline minimum for “known” is that someone knows their name.
One of our campus Guest Services Directors, Ashley, makes it a point to to learn the names of first-time guests. She firmly believes that calling someone by name at the end of the service (or even the following week!) can be a game-changer for a first-timer who is asking the “known, loved, and cared for” question.
One of Ashley’s team members is Emily, a new volunteer on our Guest Services team, and a relative newcomer to our church. She told me that one of the things that made her stick at the Summit was the fact that she was known. Ashley met her on her first visit, committed her name to memory, and used it in every encounter after.
As you might guess, that intentionality and care made Emily feel known, loved, and cared for. So when she began serving on the Guest Services team, she followed Ashley’s lead. She wanted to make others feel welcomed just like she felt welcomed.
So how does she do it? I’m glad you asked.
A practical pro tip
Whenever Emily meets a first-time guest on the weekend, she jots their name down immediately after the conversation. Then when she gets home, she takes a dry erase marker and writes their name on her bathroom mirror. “That way” she said, “every time I’m getting ready I’m staring right at the names of people I need to remember. It’s an opportunity to pray for them, and an every-day memory boost to help me call them by name the following weekend.”
What’s your application?
Maybe you don’t need to mark up your mirror. But I’ll bet you could use a dose of intentionality in learning the names of your guests. What is one easy thing you can do today to capture and remember your guests’ names for your next encounter?