What is the most wonderful sound to a college freshman? What is it that suddenly makes them feel they are in the right place? What is it they long to hear?
It is the sound of someone calling their name....knowing their name....hearing it makes them feel maybe someone cares.
A freshman came through my door that had been to one of our events a few days earlier. I recognized her and as she came in the door I spoke and called her name. She fell back against the door and said, "That felt wonderful".
She had just come from being part of the biggest most impersonal place she had been in her life.
Some people have the gift of remembering names and can do it with little effort. You like me may not be gifted that way. So, how do you remember and call people by names when you may literally meet 200 in one day and even within one event.
It is simple...CHEAT! Make pictures at Welcome events. Write down names under the picture. Study the pictures. We have passed around pictures in Monday staff meetings naming people and asking, "Who is that"? Use name tags at every event. In fact, we did that all year for our Thursday night large group worship. You don't have to use expensive name tags. Address labels work just fine. I'm all about playing mixer get acquainted games at your worship events those first few weeks. Also, repeat back to a student their name after they tell you. I realized often I was not hearing in the first place. Many came from high schools I knew their mascot and I was able to tie all that together in my mind to remember them.
Remember, everybody likes to go somewhere everybody knows your name!