I love to say, “Billy Graham once told me not to drop names.” Of course, the legendary preacher never told me this; the joke is in casually dropping a name while saying not to.
Names are powerful. At one children’s ministry conference I attended, I snagged a seat in the front of the ballroom at a packed session. I enjoyed my meal while chatting with others at my table. When the emcee introduced the keynote speaker, the man seated next to me walked up to the stage. I had no idea I’d been chatting with the guest of honor! During his message, he used my name several times.
“You know what I mean, Karl?” he said, looking at me. I was riveted by his message, and I felt honored to hear my name. It had such an impact on me that I went home and became a name-dropper with my elementary kids. Here are ways to name drop in your ministry.
Draw names into your message.
As kids experience the Bible, insert their names. For example, “It was a miracle, Josh! Jesus helped them catch so many fish!” Saying kids’ names and looking at them shows you know them and you’re talking to them personally.
Show kids you care what they think.
During discussions, gently invite them into conversations. You can use kids’ names without putting them on the spot. Ask their opinions or thoughts. For example, “José, did you have any thoughts about this?” This gives everyone a voice and shows kids you value them.
Encourage kids using their names.
As kids participate in games or other activities, use their names to cheer them on or point out successes. For example, “Sarah’s got this!”This might seem like a given, but you probably do it less than you realize. Be intentional about using names as much as possible because kids love to hear their names—and it shows you notice them specifically. Become a name-dropper. You’ll notice a dramatic increase in kids’ attention to your message and the quality of your relationships with them.