Firstly, they will help build community. It is common in big churches that cliques occur – people stick with a small group and don’t really talk to anyone outside that group. But we are a community in Christ – we are journeying together on the way of Christ and so it is helpful to know people beyond our smaller circles of intimate friends and not to fall into the clique situation. Currently we have over 400 people on our SNC members’ list, and we are seeing over 300 come each week. It is impossible to get to know everyone, but it is possible to know the majority of people’s names, and this helps build our sense of togetherness and community. I don’t know about you, but when I have met someone previously and then forget their name, I often feel too embarrassed to talk to them again because I feel bad that I have forgotten their name and so I avoid them! Thankfully, God is working on me and so I now tend to just say “look, I am sorry I have forgotten your name, can you remind me of it again?” But if we were all wearing nametags, this embarrassment would be avoided and we’d all be more likely to venture out of our comfort zones and get to know people we only sort-of know at the moment.
The second benefit of nametags relates to welcoming newcomers. When guests arrive, they will be directed to a table with blank nametags where a welcomer will personally welcome them, write their name on a nametag, and ask them to sign a guestbook. From this information, all newcomers will be followed up with a phonecall and letter in which they will be warmly invited to other church activities – and maybe even out to dinner with some people from church.
The third advantage of nametags is that they will help our pastoral care system. This is because the roll will be accurately marked each week based on the labels that are left on the sheet (people who don’t show up obviously won’t take their label). So the pastors, and the pastoral care team, will know who is and isn’t there every night. If a regular member has not attended in two or three weeks, they will receive a phone call from their growth group leader, or a pastor, or a member of the pastoral care team, just to check how they are going, and whether everything is OK. It is a way for people not to go unnoticed.
So basically, these nametags are all about LOVE! They are way to make help us to love one another and to love the outsiders who come into our midst just like Jesus did.
So, this Saturday night, don’t forget to grab your nametag