Does your Sunday School class or off-campus group sometimes ask you to throw a few bucks into the class “kitty”? Your group might already collect monies from time to time for a variety of purposes (to send flowers to sick group members or to purchase them for people in bereavement, to replenish a coffee fund, or to purchase bigger ticket items like a marker board or new chairs (padded, of course)). But when it comes to making a financial investment in your Bible study group, the best decision your group can make is to buy an item found in every office supply store, Wal-Mart, and drug store. And it’s something everyone can use.
Yes, name tags. I’m not the first to suggest it (I actually have blogged about this in the distant past – but thought it was time to revisit the topic!), nor will I be the last. Those little packages of self-stick name tags are just under $3 at most stores, and the benefits far exceed the cost. Just this past week a new couple visited my ongoing Bible study. I’m thankful that prior to our group meeting I’d set a name tag in every person’s chair. Bruce and Susan, our guests this past Sunday, were easily called by name, and they could call us by name as well, once we all filled out our name tags. It helps guests feel like they are part of the club.
I’ve personally seen the benefits of having group members wear name tags each time we get together for Bible study. Although they might get tired of filling them out weekly, here are 4 reasons why it’s a good idea to spend the $3 and get yourself a package of stick-on name tags:
- Name tags are inexpensive. There is no barrier to entry! Any group can afford to “get tagged.”
- Name tags build a culture of expectancy. The chief reason your group members should fill out name tags when they meet is out of an expectancy that a guest (or guests) may take part in the Bible study, and they won’t know people’s names. Name tags remind the group members that the group exists to reach others. Too many groups have forgotten this and mistakenly believe that the group exists to serve them and meet their needs. Name tags silently remind group members “We may have guests today – and should have guests.”
- Name tags can be used during the teaching time. It’s easy to take a few colored markers and place a dot in one corner of each name tag. During the study, the group leader can ask people to group up by colored dot in order to answer questions or work on a quick assignment. Or you could divide the group into two groups – one with the people who wrote their names in cursive, the other with people who printed their name. Or you could divide the group based on the colored marker they use to fill out their name.
- Name tags are great equalizers. If you’ve ever visited a group that has the more expensive kind of name tags (magnetic backed ones, or the plastic ones that pin on a shirt), guests can inadvertently be made to feel like they’re not part of the group. With those peel-and-stick name tags, everyone is on equal footing. Not one person stands out as different, and if you’re a guest, that’s huge.
So go ahead and continue collecting monies for coffee, cups, flowers, and chairs. But don’t forget to throw a few bucks toward buying a package or two of name tags!