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12.18.12At a recent church function, a new church family came up and gave me a nice compliment. They were impressed that I knew their names and their children’s names. They know that Mt Vernon isn’t a small church. There were several hundred that called Mt Vernon home when I got here, and in 2012, several hundred more have visited. This couple had visited and gotten plugged in within the last few months. They haven’t gotten plugged into a Life Group yet, so they don’t know a lot of people. Yet I know them and their family. They said, “You must have a gift when it comes to names and faces.”

Here’s the secret: I work really, really hard at getting to know names and faces. That’s why I’m an unashamed Facebook stalker. If you’re on Facebook, game over. Our church database (F1) has the ability to add pics next to names in our directory. I’ve personally spent hours and hours adding over 300 new pictures from Facebook to recently attended guests. Why? Because once you know someone’s name, they’re no longer a stranger. They’re family.

Regular attenders expect you to know them, guests don’t. Here’s the easiest way to help a guest become a regular attender. Learn their name. Call them by name the next time they come to church. Once you know their name, they’ll no longer feel like a stranger. They’ll feel like they belong. Game over.

The truth is I’m not a natural with names. If I meet someone face-to-face and learn their name, nine times out of ten I’ll forget it. So I have to work at it. Constantly. My “Mt Vernon Faces” album on iPhoto currently has 513 pictures in it. I’ve got about 85% of those faces locked in. That’s 436 men, women and children I can call by name when they show up at Mt Vernon. That’s a lot of work, but it’s well worth it. Every name you know is another soul you can impact for eternity. Work hard at names and faces. It will always pay off.

Image courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net