Trying to Remember Names at Church

Posted: September 18, 2009 in Uncategorized

Today at work, I am on the phone with this lady and I give her my opening statement that I give to every phone call I answer…”This is Matt, may I have your name please?”  She answers with, “thank you Rachel, I am looking for rooms.”  I thought she didn’t call me Rachel, she must have just said her name in a weird sentence.  I then answer, “Ok, Rachel, what date are you looking for?”  She replies with “my name’s not Rachel.” 

 Rachel?  Did she really think that my name was Rachel?  That bothers me on a few levels; one being that I don’t sound like a female (keep your hearing me sing at church comments to yourself) and second, how on earth can you confuse Matt and Rachel?  I can understand Mack, or Max, or even Mark, but Rachel?  How is that possible?

 One of my favorite things to do at church is accidentally run into people that know my name but I have no clue about their name.  They will be like “great job singing Matt!”  And I will thank them with “Thank you…Man!”  I think words like man, brother, dude, etc. have become fake names for people at church that we don’t remember, especially “brother” or “sister.”…Those are all church right there. 

 I always feel really bad when someone comes up to me and I can’t remember their name, especially if I have seen them a few times, and I don’t want to ask them, because I am afraid of being judged.  “What?  You don’t know my name?  I thought you cared.  I expected that from the younger kids but not you.  I’m bringing this before the elders.”   It’s especially bad if you  are in any kind of leadership role or if you are up in front of the church a lot, because then everybody knows who you are while you struggle with learning the name of the bearded gentleman with the coke-bottle glasses who just asked you by name how your family was doing.  Not fair! 

 My dad, who is the executive minister at my church, tried one time to do the name tag thing, but that didn’t work too well.  You can’t force people to wear them, and a lot of people decided not to.  Those rule breakers!   I wore one for a few weeks and then stopped, and I later stood before the church and confessed my sin.  Luckily the church forgave me.  I think my dad was the last person to continue to wear one before we stopped it altogether. 

 The question still remains, how do we handle this epidemic?  Here are a few thoughts on how to remember names of people at church:

 Repeating the name 50 times.

This one might work in a smaller environment, but if you have a huge church you will spend all morning repeating names…That would make for some boring conversations.

 Finding something that rhymes with their name.

“Hi!  I’m Anna!”  What rhymes with Anna?  Banana!  This even works better if she is holding a banana or if she is wearing a yellow shirt.  Try another one!  “Hi I’m Mark.”  Mark rhymes with bark.  Is he talking about his dog or his love of pine trees?  Perfect!  Now you can remember his name!

Find a trait that makes you remember them and hopefully their name.

I always seem to remember the names of people that have weird traits or stand out to me.  You remember John because he is the guy who during worship songs lifts his hands just barely high enough to look like he’s doing something but not so much that he stands out.  Suzie always wears really bright shirts.  This one is a little harder to do memory wise but cuts down on the chance of you accidentally calling Anna “Banana.”

 Polaroid everyone

Although this one is the most time consuming and a little awkward, this one can work the best for those who like to associate a face with a name.  Although some people, especially visitors, might not want to participate, this is a fool proof method.  You can also carry them like flash cards so you can practice anywhere! Sweet! 

 Those are some thoughts on remembering names of people in the church.  Do you have any thoughts?


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