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Say your church has decided that everyone in attendance should wear a name tag.

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Name tag stickers and pens are provided at the entrance. 

How do you respond?

What is your basic personality type?

How do you feel about this practice?

If you are a church staff member, please share that you’re answering from that perspective. 

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I would be delighted!

I am faceblind; I can be part of a congregation (say, 100-200 people)for years and only regularly recognize maybe ten percent. I recognize people with unusually distinctive features, everyone else sort of blends together. Doesn't matter much how often I see you, how much I care about you, how much time I spend talking to you--I'm going to need lots of contextual clues to know who you are.

Name tags are wonderful.

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Well our church does this and I don't have an issue with it.  Though it has permanent name tags that can be reused and cases where they are stored from week to week.  It does have the peel and stick ones for visitors or if you lose yours, etc.  I wouldn't say it is required.  You certainly see people without but it is an accepted part of the culture of that church community.  I actually rather like them.

 

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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I'd say who cares -- there are a lot worse things to worry about a church doing.  This is trivial, even if you disagree.

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I'd comply if it was a one-time or once per year thing. If it was all the time, I'd not wear one. If someone made me, I'd probably make a "M.O.M." nametag.

That's my personality. Reject requirements & then deflect with humor.

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I went to a church that did this and we had permanent name tags to pick up when we walked in the door. I am highly indepedent so this practice is not in my wheelhouse. LOL  I will say everyone knew each other much better, but I'm not sure if it is because it was a smaller church or the name tags.  I go to a 10K+ church now and know 3 famiilies and am good friends with 1 of the families. 

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I don't know what I'd do. The greeters and things wear them at our church. We have them for ladie's Bible study and I wear it then, when I go. My grandparents church used to have them, I don't know if they still do (they also had little mailboxes for every.single.member. so you could leave notes and things...it wasn't a small church, either). 

I have horrible memory for names (and sometimes mix up people if I don't see them often enough), so it would surely be helpful to me. At the same time, nearly everyone in my household would rebel at being told they had to wear them, so....I don't know. 

 

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I always try to think of what a first-timer would experience. I think it's probably 50/50. Some would feel exposed, others would feel seen. Overall, I lean toward it being a good idea. I like the idea of it being like a once a month thing, or something.

 

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4 minutes ago, TheReader said:

I don't know what I'd do. The greeters and things wear them at our church. We have them for ladie's Bible study and I wear it then, when I go. My grandparents church used to have them, I don't know if they still do (they also had little mailboxes for every.single.member. so you could leave notes and things...it wasn't a small church, either). 

I have horrible memory for names (and sometimes mix up people if I don't see them often enough), so it would surely be helpful to me. At the same time, nearly everyone in my household would rebel at being told they had to wear them, so....I don't know. 

 

That's wild! What a funny concept.

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We do the "greet your neighbor" thing at my church and I do not know the people i'm greeting although often people tend to sit in similar areas and I see them week after week.  It might be helpful to know names.  One of the ushers in the area we sit in wears a name tag and the other one doesn't and I have no idea what his name is after 4 years of attending.  He's very nice and shakes our hands every week and says good morning.  I guess we should ask him his name. 

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Depends on the size of the church.  In my very tiny church it would be silly because we know everyone's name.  But we do wear them when hosting other churches for events.  My personality respects "requirements" that have a reasonable reason behind them.  So if the church was larger and the goal was for people to know each other in church, I'd say that is a reasonable request.  But there might be a point where a church is large enough (like a mega-church which I have never been to) where it becomes a bit meaningless because you probably won't be bumping into the same people again and then I might only use it for smaller groups like a Sunday school class or small group. 

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I think it is nice. Lots of people have trouble with names and it is good way to meet newcomers. It is a terrible feeling to visit a church and feel invisible.

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I’ve always been the new person in town. Everybody knows our names before we even move in. And everybody forgets that I am learning 100 names, and they only have one (or four) to remember. 

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I am a VERY private person but even I tell people I meet my name lol.

My church has permanent name tags and you can use a lanyard or clip them on. I like this because stickers are extremely wasteful and this way, even if a card is only used for a name once it can be recycled or composted... the plastic covering is reusable. I like the lanyard option because I'm not clipping anything on some of my more fragile tops and dresses. 

They do not help me remember anyone's name, but several people have enthusiastically said that they help them, so great. 

I don't understand why anyone would hate a name tag on principle. 

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2 minutes ago, arctic_bunny said:

I’ve always been the new person in town. Everybody knows our names before we even move in. And everybody forgets that I am learning 100 names, and they only have one (or four) to remember. 

YES to this. Oh.My.Word. It's so hard to be new, and every.single.name. of every.single.person. is a name and face you must learn, catalog, remember, hold onto, etc. 

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Our church does this with the permanent name tags and stickers for guests (or those that forget), but made clear when instituting it that you didn’t have to do it if you were opposed. They mention it during announcements as well, so newcomers know, and people are welcome always to add their name to a list  if they want to have a name tag ready for them the following week. I think it’s been very helpful. I remember names better if I can see them spelled. It also helps when meeting someone with a name that is unfamiliar to my ears. 

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My mom's church does it. They have permanent name tags (lanyard necklace). There is a lady who greets you at the door and writes out name tags for any visitors. Over Christmas, we all (5 of us and my MIL) visited my mom for a service - she wrote us all out tags. 

I don't have a problem with it, but I'm ok with not doing it as well. My church is much bigger, and they don't use name tags. However, I only know about 4 people's names, and most of those are due to my kids serving in the nursery and dealing with teen ministry leaders figuring out DD's accommodations. They send emails so I have their names - I'm horrible these days at forgetting someone's name about 5 minutes after you tell it to me. 

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Great idea! 

(So long as pens aren’t ones that give me migraines!) 

I’d prefer reusable name tags for most people most of time plus stick ins available for visitors etc

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Our church has clip on name tags. I don’t know the compliance rate for wearing them but it seems low.😕I find them helpful because how many times is it acceptable to ask ones name🧐

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Names really only stick with me after I see them in writing.  I occassionally write folks' names down after I meet them. Nametags would really help me!

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I would be very happy. I have trouble remembering names, so this would be a great help to me! I've actually semi-suggested it. 

 

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My natural reaction to requirements is to not do them.  In theory I don't mind name tags but stick/pin on ones are so awkward with the size of my bOOks.  The last time we visited a church that had them I wrote my name Susie's bff visiting so I didn't have to answer 50 times.  Every one in my family added something to their badge besides their name.  My DH labeled the baby The Boss.

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1 hour ago, OKBud said:

I am a VERY private person but even I tell people I meet my name lol.

My church has permanent name tags and you can use a lanyard or clip them on. I like this because stickers are extremely wasteful and this way, even if a card is only used for a name once it can be recycled or composted... the plastic covering is reusable. I like the lanyard option because I'm not clipping anything on some of my more fragile tops and dresses. 

They do not help me remember anyone's name, but several people have enthusiastically said that they help them, so great. 

I don't understand why anyone would hate a name tag on principle. 

I don't either...

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We had nametags. In fact, some of us got crossstitched ones from a mamber of the congregation who thought it would be nice. I don't know how many she ended up doing. We had a permanent display to store them so you could wear them at coffee hour/Sunday School time (and church itself if you came in that way, but they were stored in the parish hall where coffee was held). I wasn't that great about wearing it, but can someone tell me what their objection would be? 

Dh is clergy. 

We don't have them here in JTown because the Palestinian cobgregation is on 25-30 people, and the services are mostly pilgrims. 

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1 minute ago, rebcoola said:

My natural reaction to requirements is to not do them.  In theory I don't mind name tags but stick/pin on ones are so awkward with the size of my bOOks.  The last time we visited a church that had them I wrote my name Susie's bff visiting so I didn't have to answer 50 times.  Every one in my family added something to their badge besides their name.  My DH labeled the baby The Boss.

I admit I occasionally switched with a friend 😜...A third friend made me one that said, "The REAL Chris B---" and that became her nickname for me. 

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I would feel weird about wearing one. I wouldn’t outright reject it, but I also wouldn’t go out of my way to make sure I had one for a regular service. We have a few yearly events that are more casual like a potluck, I wouldn’t mind for that because people are mingling. But for a regular church service there isn’t a ton of mingling at my church  so it be be strange if people were wearing name tags. 

I did BSF for a number of years and reluctantly wore the giant name tag, but in that case people don’t go to church together and the small groups were intentionally organized so you weren’t with people you already knew. Name tags made sense in that situation at least at the beginning of the year. 

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22 minutes ago, rebcoola said:

My natural reaction to requirements is to not do them.  In theory I don't mind name tags but stick/pin on ones are so awkward with the size of my bOOks.  The last time we visited a church that had them I wrote my name Susie's bff visiting so I didn't have to answer 50 times.  Every one in my family added something to their badge besides their name.  My DH labeled the baby The Boss.

I and a lot of other women wear them on our hip near the hem of our shirt/jacket. They tend to stay there better. Or if your hair is not in danger of snagging, wear it up above your bOOks, closer to your shoulder. 

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3 minutes ago, SamanthaCarter said:

I and a lot of other women wear them on our hip near the hem of our shirt/jacket. They tend to stay there better. Or if your hair is not in danger of snagging, wear it up above your bOOks, closer to your shoulder. 

Hip doesn't work for me either.  I do wear it up on my shoulder but it's still awkward and obvious that the only reason I wear it that high is my "L" bOOks

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That’s a wonderful idea.  I’m somewhat introverted (but social) and there are so many people I don’t know well enough to remember their names but would like the mingle with.  It’s embarrassing to ask, so that would help a LOT. Especially with visitors.  
 

I might want more permanent name tags (like the clip on style) for regular attenders so there is less paper waste, though.

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45 minutes ago, Chris in VA said:

 I wasn't that great about wearing it, but can someone tell me what their objection would be? 

There are usually about 1200-1500 people at a mass in our local parish. There is no coffee hour. People don't interact except for the sign of peace and that is a ritual "Peace be with you" and handshake with anyone except a close family member who would get a kiss on the cheek. There's no need for a name tag and the quantities that would be needed would be wasteful.

There are name tags at special events and retreats where people will interact with each other.

Edited by chiguirre
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59 minutes ago, Margaret in CO said:

Our church has the little mailboxes too!

Ours too!  It’s nice for thank you cards, Christmas letters, and flyers from the various ministry things.

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11 minutes ago, WendyAndMilo said:

I would hate this and might consider a different church. Or just boycott it.

But.... why?

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I'd be annoyed but only by the wastefulness of single-use tags. I guess if it was a new thing the church was trying out, I'd not expect them to buy "permanent" tags for everyone. But if it became a thing, I'd want something more permanent (with extras for visitors and people who can't find theirs).

I've been to churches that used them, and churches that didn't. No big deal to me either way. I don't recall any major differences in fellowship, etc.

I don't recall women (or anyone else) wearing them on their hip. Honestly, and I am speaking as a pretty socially awkward person, I'd not want to have to scan someone's body looking for their name tag.  Maybe I'm overthinking it.

Also, the font/handwriting has to be BIG enough! 

Edited by marbel

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1 hour ago, OKBud said:

 

I don't understand why anyone would hate a name tag on principle. 

I can see if it wouldn't work in a particular situation because the congregation is very large, or they would just be unnecessary due to lack of mingling.  But I also don't get the objection in general.

I learn names much better when I see them in writing. 

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@Arctic Mama It's very intrusive.  All of a sudden a complete stranger knows your name and for some reason, for me, when a conversation starts off with personal information such as a name, it's a lot harder for me to bow out.  Like now I'm obligated to continue the conversation.  I do not like it at all.

If I'm not interested in extending my circle or just don't have the mental energy to meet new people, I will happily smile and give someone a nice "hello!" and wish them well.  If I'm feeling especially not-grumpy, I will totally introduce myself and create a connection with someone.  But that needs to be on my terms, not everyone else's.

Edited by WendyAndMilo
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3 minutes ago, WendyAndMilo said:

It's very intrusive.  All of a sudden a complete stranger knows your name and for some reason, for me, when a conversation starts off with personal information such as a name, it's a lot harder for me to bow out.  Like now I'm obligated to continue the conversation.  I do not like it at all.

If I'm not interested in extending my circle or just don't have the mental energy to meet new people, I will happily smile and give someone a nice "hello!" and wish them well.  If I'm feeling especially not-grumpy, I will totally introduce myself and create a connection with someone.  But that needs to be on my terms, not everyone else's.

But part of the point of church is love and fellowship with the body, which involves getting to know people and them knowing you?  Like, intimacy and warmth with the brethren is a bedrock of church life, biblically.

I have honestly never heard that opinion from a believer before.  Huh. So it has to be on your terms or it’s not acceptable? It would never have occurred to me that somebody knowing my name is intrusive at all - it’s my moniker for the public to use, that’s literally the purpose of a name 😂

So I take it you wouldn’t want to go to a Ukrainian mission and be greeted with a holy kiss or share a communion cup, too?  Just any intimacy and fellowship practice you don’t control is bad?

Trying to understand here, I’m not wanting to sound critical at all.  Genuinely curious here 🙂

Edited by Arctic Mama
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1 minute ago, Arctic Mama said:

But part of the point of church is love and fellowship with the body, which involves getting to know people and them knowing you?  Like, intimacy and warmth with the brethren is a bedrock of church life, biblically.

I have honestly never heard that opinion from a believer before.  Huh. So it has to be on your terms or it’s not acceptable?

There is nothing in the Bible or church tradition that says I have to know every.single.person in the church.  I can love them and serve them (which I do) without actually causing me stress or flatlining my emotional/mental energy.

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I

3 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

But part of the point of church is love and fellowship with the body, which involves getting to know people and them knowing you?  Like, intimacy and warmth with the brethren is a bedrock of church life, biblically.

I have honestly never heard that opinion from a believer before.  Huh. So it has to be on your terms or it’s not acceptable?

I agree, it seems like a misunderstanding of the Church. And I am about as introverted as they come...

Edited by SamanthaCarter
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Just now, SamanthaCarter said:

I agree, it seems like a misunderstanding of the Church. 

That was my knee jerk too, but I could be misunderstanding what she means, so I figured asking more questions to clarify was in order 🙂

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1 minute ago, Arctic Mama said:

That was my knee jerk too, but I could be misunderstanding what she means, so I figured asking more questions to clarify was in order 🙂

Noted. 😊

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I have zero interest in getting to know some of the people in my parish and having to display my name makes it easier for them to approach me and start a conversation, so I'd likely not wear the name tag.

I get that part of church is about being a community but not everyone in that community is safe or healthy to have a relationship with. I can think of two people in particular at our church who would make my children very uncomfortable if they knew their names. They might NOT mean to make them uncomfortable but that isn't my issue to deal with.

Edited by hjffkj
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7 minutes ago, WendyAndMilo said:

There is nothing in the Bible or church tradition that says I have to know every.single.person in the church.  I can love them and serve them (which I do) without actually causing me stress or flatlining my emotional/mental energy.

Uh... if you are serving and loving them but can’t be bothered to actually know anything about their lives or share even the most basic part of mine that might signal some major issues with theology and the view of self and the body, I’m going to be completely honest.  
 

I’m an introvert, I get the exhaustion of forced group socialization.  Something in the way you’re explaining it is setting off warning bells for me, though.  I’ll assume it’s a misunderstanding on my end and I’m missing some subtlety, here.  The internet can make these things tricky to discuss.

Edited by Arctic Mama

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9 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

But part of the point of church is love and fellowship with the body, which involves getting to know people and them knowing you?  Like, intimacy and warmth with the brethren is a bedrock of church life, biblically.🙂

That's a very protestant take on things. The reason Catholics have an obligation to go to mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation is to be present at the Eucharist. In fact, priests can say mass with just one other person present.

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1 minute ago, Arctic Mama said:

Uh... if you are serving and loving them but can’t be bothered to actually know anything about their lives or share even the most basic part of mine that might signal some major issues with theology and the view of self and the body, I’m going to be completely honest.  
 

I’m an introvert, I get the exhaustion of forced group socialization.  Something in the way you’re explaining it is setting off warning bells for me, though.  I’ll assume it’s a misunderstanding on my end.

The bolded indicates the misunderstanding you are having.  I haven't said anything about not caring or bothering with people.  And sometimes, it's not just a matter of introversion/extroversion.

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9 minutes ago, chiguirre said:

That's a very protestant take on things. The reason Catholics have an obligation to go to mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation is to be present at the Eucharist. In fact, priests can say mass with just one other person present.

So what of the intimacy and love of the body in fellowship and discipleship that is threaded throughout the New Testament?  We could argue the feasts and gleaning laws and love of neighbor discussed in the Old Testament has some different context for a more homogenous faith community with ethnic ties (the Israelites) but how would you be fulfilling the commands and enacting those principles with your love body or the community if you weren’t willing to talk, interact with, know, or know of the lives of others who you weren’t already close with?

I know plenty of Catholics and a handful of Russian and Greek Orthodox believers who would have almost the identical take as me on this (and their congregations have fellowship meals and activities and time throughout the week and on their meeting days too) so I don’t think this is monolithic to Protestants here and globally. But yeah, our church is actually very light on love/ active fellowship compared to some of those I know and interact with in places like Brazil, Croatia, and South Africa. Which makes me think it’s cultural or comfortable to some people, but not specifically Protestant or American.

My personal experience and circle of friends aren’t necessarily the best sample, but I’d say this is a pretty broad community and fellowship principle.  Not name tags, but being willing to warmly extend oneself among the brethren.

Edited by Arctic Mama

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