Today’s blog post is an excerpt from the book I:6 – A Six Lane Strategy Toward an Inviting Sunday School. In this section of the book, author David Francis urges groups to consider the importance of wearing a certain item that will make a big difference for the group members and the guests who are present:
If you’ve read any of my previous books, you might be saying, ‘Are you going to hit that name tag thing again?’ Absolutely! There may be nothing more important for a class to create an inviting environment than a conscious and consistent effort to wear nametags. it is the rare retail establishment does not require its associates to display at least their first names. Some have fancy engraved name badges. I happen to be sitting in a Panera Bread restaurant as I type this, and the employees make their own hand printed tags. At Home Depot the name is written in permanent ink right on the associate’s orange apron.
I have been a first-time guest in a lot of different Sunday School classes, and I promise you that the ones that wear nametags are much more friendly and inviting, regardless of their size. And the friendly classes we have visited would be even friendlier if they would just do this one little thing. Vickie and I visited a very large class at First Baptist Church Coford in Knoxville, TN., one Sunday. When we left, Vickie said, ‘I would join that class.’ You’ve probably guessed almost everyone was wearing a nametag! The class had many other positive dynamics, too, but the nameags helped more than they know.
As an experiment, when I launched my new Sunday School class almost 3 years ago, I decided to have the group members wear nametags based on David’s urging. Every week I place a stick-on nametag on each chair in my room. I place markers around the room, and over time my group members have been conditioned to automatically write their name on their nametag. When we we have guests, it makes a huge difference. When less active group members are present, it helps them know our names (and it helps us remember their names, too!). I can’t say enough good things about the practice of wearing nametags. If your group doesn’t do this, perhaps you could implement this by the next time you meet?