Strive to learn every student’s name as soon as possible, especially in small groups. In larger groups this can be a challenge but doable. In huge groups, this may be impractical or nearly impossible. It should always be someone’s responsibility to KNOW the students’ names. So according to the size of ministry, if it is not you, make certain someone on the team is on top of it – like small group leaders. Nothing breaks down barriers with students, especially peripheral or visiting youth like calling them by name. It communicates to students that you take a personal interest in serving them. Also, try to avoid the habit of using generic camouflage names like sport, buddy, man, girl, or friend. Students will only give you a “pass” for so long. In most cases, the use of generics simply increases the suspicion that you don’t know who you are speaking to. Students hearing their names will greatly enhance your ministry. A survey was conducted among elementary kids and the question was asked: What is love? Billy, age 4 said, “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” (Proverbs 17:28)
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
For more resources or to assess your ministry go smeonline.net/excel.