What's in a Name?

Are you powerfully influencing the people you lead for Christ?

Name Tags.jpg
  • Are your church members supportive and in-tune with the direction you are leading the church?

  • Are your volunteers fired up and excited about their role in your organization?

  • Do your paid staff loyally stand behind you and love their jobs?

  • Do new visitors and new members feel warmly connected to the church and to you?

Power with people depends on your ability to connect with them at an emotional level. That’s one of the simple messages of emotional intelligence.

That’s not just my opinion as a Psychologist, by the way. For example, one Senior Professor of Leadership and Pastoral Ministry says, “What we haven’t realized for many years, and far too many don’t get it today, is how critically important our emotions are to effective ministry in general and leadership in particular. What I know now is that how you feel impacts how you lead and now followers feel about themselves when around and led by you affects how well they follow your leadership.” [1]

The really good news: something as profoundly effective as interacting with people in emotionally intelligent ways can often be expressed in utterly simple habits.

For example, the professor I quoted above (Dr. Aubrey Malphurs of Dallas Theological Seminary) devotes an entire 200-page book to ably explaining the concept of emotional intelligence. However, in the appendixes of skills, he includes among others, the Name Recognition Skill Builder.”

In other words, he suggests expressing emotional intelligence by learning to remember people’s names!

I couldn’t agree more. People’s names represent their identities. If you read last week’s blog, you know how important our identities are to us.

So with that in mind, I’d like to leave you with a challenge for the coming week. What about using Dr. Malphur’s system this week to focus on the skill and habit of learning people’s names? By the way, did you know that the Apostle Paul recalled the names of at least 26 members of the church in Rome in Romans 16:3-16?

So, no matter how large your organization or extensive your contacts, work on knowing people’s names - and the names of their wives or husbands and children, too!

You can do it, it will make a difference in the way people feel about you. Here’s the first three steps according to Dr. Malphurs:

  1. Make a special effort to capture a person’s name when you first meet them no matter who they are.

  2. As you shake the person’s hand, repeat the name. You may ask how it’s spelled.

  3. Focus on it in your mind as you talk with the person and use it frequently in the conversation.

Hope that get’s you started on getting better at remembering people’s names!


[1] Aubrey Malphurs, Developing Emotionally Mature Leaders: How Emotional Intelligence Can Help Transform Your Ministry, 2018.

Dr. JeannieComment