Whether your church is big or small, you probably have a few new faces each week. Kids love it when you remember their names and it communicates a valuable message to parents as well. However, many of us struggle with remembering all the names we encounter each week. In this post, you’ll find a few ways to remember the kids’ (and parents!) names in your ministry.
You probably already know a few tricks like:
- Commenting on the name (“Oh! My aunt’s name is Debbie too.”)
- Writing it down (on the attendance sheet is a good place!)
- Matching the name with an alliterative adjective (Bouncy Bobby)
- Really really focusing on the person and their name (stop and listen!)
In case those methods have been failing you, try a few of these!
#5 The Story
We all know that stories are easier to remember, so next time you meet someone new, try to make up quick story about them involving their name. Of course, you want to try and keep it positive. For example, instead of remembering “Ellie is smelly”, you might change it to “Ellie loves elephants and once rode one across Africa”. Of course, your story probably won’t be true, but it will be memorable! I find that if I can hang onto the first letter, I can usually recall the rest of the name.
#6 Utilize Your Learning Style
If you’re a visual learner, make sure name tags are a staple in your ministry (it’s probably a good idea anyway!). Are you an auditory learner? Repeat the name a few times during the conversation.
#7 Quirky Habit
Start asking everyone you meet a quirky question, like “Nice to meet you, John. What’s your favorite Disney movie?” People will come to expect and accept this behavior (especially since you work with kids!) and it will give you a little more to hang onto. You might even relate John to one of the characters in his favorite movie, making him (and his name) even more memorable.
When you meet someone new, spend a few minutes talking with them and then say, “I bet you’d really like….” and lead them to a new friend. Now you have the opportunity to say the name again in your introduction and you have a back-up person in case you DO forget anyway! This is especially perfect in Children’s Ministry because it benefits you and it benefits the newcomer by giving them a connection.
#9 Picture Guest Book
I’ll admit this is a little extreme, but a lot of fun too! Every time someone new comes to your kids club, grab the polaroid and take a picture. Have them sign it (or do it for them) and hang it on the wall for a visual guest book. Very fun!
#10 Play Name Games
Try to make it habit to play some kind of name game or icebreaker each week. This way, you hear the kids’ names again and again and it helps the kids learn each other’s names too.
OOPS! Recovering When You Do Forget
If all the above methods have failed you and you’re standing face to face with someone who’s name you SHOULD know, try a few of these tricks:
- Pretend you’ve never met and introduce yourself. Kids will love this little joke and hopefully you’ll get their name in the process.
- Fake it till you make it. Often, a name might return to you in the midst of a conversation or a friend might shout it out. Just hang in there.
Check out a few more tips from these posts:
- What to do when you forget a kids name (Church Leaders)
- Five Easy Ways to Remember Names (Ministry to Children)
Ideas Collected From:
- How to Remember Names
- Tired of Forgetting Names? by Yahoo Shine
- 5 Tips for Remembering Names by Ministry Best Practices