The Small Thing a Pastor Can Do To Make a Huge Impression

4.12.14This past Sunday at church I met several new families at Mt Vernon Church, but I was able to make a huge impression on two of them. How? I knew their names. The small thing a pastor can do to make a huge impression is know somebody’s name before he even meets them. How is this possible? Take my situation for example.

On the first family, they walked in the doors just as the early service was about to start. We didn’t have but a moment to speak but the dad said, “I’m Jennifer’s* brother.” I know Jennifer. Her and her family come to our second service. I texted Jennifer during the first service and asked her the names of her brother and his family. She gave me all four. About 60 seconds before the first service ended and they would walk by me in the back, I glanced down at the text, memorized the four names of the family, and called them all by name as they exited. They later told Jennifer that they were extremely impressed that I knew their names. :)

With the second couple I had help from another church member. About five minutes before the second service started, a regular member said, “I met a new Air Force couple today, they’re sitting right up there and their names are Todd* and Shannon*.” Taking that cue, I introduced myself to Todd and Shannon and called them by name the first time I saw them. They were both impressed that I already knew them by name. Just by watching their non-verbal cues, they seemed cared for and validated because the pastor already knew their names. Even though they would have to make the 30 minute drive from the base every week, they said that they really enjoyed our church and would be back.

It takes a little bit extra work, but believe me, learning names on the front end makes a huge impression.

The Power of Knowing a Name

12.17.12Here’s part of an email our church recently received, “Thank you for making us feel so welcomed, we have been enjoying the church services and my heart is so happy that my children are also enjoying it too!” This is from a family who’s recently attended and has decided to make Mt Vernon their church home. What helped make the difference? We knew their names.

This family came late to our 10:30 service, dropping their kids off and slipping in before anyone could properly greet them. But our staff are highly trained welcoming ninjas. They will not let a new couple go away ungreeted! At the end of the service, while our Worship Pastor was closing out the service, one of our staff informed me that we had a new couple that came in late, but we didn’t know their names. They had kids, however, that they had registered in our children’s environments. Checkmate.

I quickly walked over to our children’s environment, got the names of the kids and the parents when they registered. By the time they came to pick them up, I was ready for them. I greeted them by name and talked with them for about five minutes. They couldn’t get out of our building without two or three other couples coming up and introducing themselves.

Two weeks later, they were back. This time to stay. They’ve found their home at Mt Vernon. Once we knew their name, they were family. Do whatever you have to do to learn someone’s name.

QUESTION: Has knowing someone’s name ever helped you connect someone with your church?

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