One of the greatest ways you can show the people you lead that you love them is to know their name.
When I first became the senior pastor at Northgate church (a church with over 600 people in attendance) I spent the first several weeks memorizing the names of people in the pictorial directory. The results were incredible.
In reading my journal from 2005 I just came across this entry:
I am working very hard to memorize people’s names and the reward is worth the labor. People love to be known – never forget that. It is wonderful to see people light up and say, “You remembered my name.” That’s just another way of saying, “You think I’m important.” Father, help me to demonstrate to others how valuable they really are, for if the pastor thinks they’re important enough to remember their name, then how must God feel about them.
A few journal entries later, I entered this note from a family in the church:
Dear Pastor Paul, even though we fully support the transition that we are going through at Northgate, and know that this is where God is leading us, transition can still bring feelings of uneasiness. Well Pastor Paul, you put those feelings at ease already! It was awesome to be called by name even when we hadn’t even met you face to face before. What a blessing it is to know that you care enough about us to study the directory in order to be able to approach people by name, and looking forward to your family getting to know us all here at Northgate by our hearts.
The bottom line is that people want to be known and appreciated by their leader and one of the best ways to do that is to know about them… starting with their names.
For further insight on this idea check out Patrick Lencioni’s book – The Three Signs of A Miserable Job.