Confession time: I love name tags. They do great things for Bible study groups.
I taught an adult Bible study group at my former church in middle Tennessee for six years. Last year I started another group at my present church where I serve on the church staff. When my wife and I started our Bible study groups, we led both groups to write their names on stick-on name tags – you know, the kind you can buy at any Wal-Mart or office supply store. Every Sunday my wife and I laid a name tag on each chair. Guests wore them. Group members wore them. I wore them. Here are 5 reasons to use name tags in your Bible study group:
- Name tags are inexpensive. There is no barrier to entry! Any group can afford to “get tagged.” Buy a package at your local Wal-Mart or office supply store. They are just a couple of dollars for a box of 100. For most groups, that would last them a month or more and cost only $2.
- 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. One of the hardest things to do is to keep an “open” group (that’s what Sunday School groups are supposed to be – open and expecting new people each week) open. Guests 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 we should have guests.” Name tags build a culture that expects 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 color of the marker they use to fill out their name. There’s no right or wrong way to use name tags to divide up your group into smaller “buzz” groups.
- Name tags are great equalizers. Guests feel awkward enough as it is when they visit your Bible study group. Wearing a name tag means they can call people by name, and vice-versa. Name tags help your guests get on equal ground with your regular attenders more quickly.
- Name tags create conversational community. Have you noticed that if people don’t know one another’s names, they say things like, “Hello brother!” and “What’s up, guy?” Or worse yet, they don’t say anything at all because they don’t know what to call the other person. But if people are wearing name tags, they feel less awkward about starting a conversation because they can call the other person by name.
Do yourself and your group a favor – buy a package or two of name tags and start wearing them every time you come together for Bible study. You’ll be really glad you did. And so will they.
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I always encourage using Sharpies in the 4-pack. Use the black, blue, and red for members and regular attenders while reserving the (G)reen for (G)uests. They see the names written in different colors on name tags and don’t realize they are being recognized as guests at the same time.
Dwight, that’s brilliant! Thanks for sharing that with us