Everyone likes to hear their name. Imagine visiting a church and on the second visit, someone we met the previous week calls us by name. We would feel noticed, remembered, and welcome! Learning names shows our interest in guests. We are actively getting acquainted with them beyond what their faces look like.
It’s endearing to hear our names spoken. Bonus points to those who attempt to pronounce our name correctly! It’s a sign that they care about us. The things that are most precious to us receive the a higher level of care and attention. Some of us name our favourite things, for example. Our vehicles may have a name; our stray pets; our favourite piece of furniture or an appliance. We name them because they are valuable.
There are establishments in our city where the staff prioritizes learning their clients by name. We get that warm fuzzy feeling when someone who is a nearly a stranger greets us specifically with “Hi ___________! Good to see you!” Why do they bother to do this? Other than keeping their sales records climbing and earning positive feedback and high-rated customer service reviews, they don’t really need to learn their customers names.
In the church setting, however, our reason for learning names goes much deeper. Yes, we’d love to have our Sabbath Schools and worship services at an overflowing capacity. We’d love to see guests and regular church-goers alike buzzing with excitement when they enter our doors because of the love they feel in our facility. But there’s more. Anyone who enters our door for any occasion is valuable to God. They are one of His beloved creations. If God has called us all by name because we are His (Isaiah 43:1), then that’s the standard we should follow when caring for each other and our guests. In calling each other by name, we are showing a higher level of care of who is precious to God.
Let’s work on learning names. We may need to ask a guest to write their name for us or spell is out. It may mean having the guest repeat the pronunciation a few times in order to get the proper accents and emphasis in the correct spots. During the week, practice. Loving others is worth the effort.
This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to read the other articles in the series.