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When we left our church, they were moving toward this and now do it. The leaving was unrelated. They also do this at the co-op where I teach. I do not like it. I think it's a great practice that totally makes a ton of sense for all the reasons people are saying. But also, it chafes me in some weird way that I cannot name.

The church I grew up in, which was also a very large church, also had the little mailboxes. They were family based. I remember going to check it when I was a kid. And there was a church face book. Remember directories with everyone's photo? They put one out every five years or so and had a professional photographer in and it was just like school pictures. They used it to make the book with a photo for each family and then you could buy them if you liked them. Very useful service and useful to have the little book so you could figure out who everyone was.

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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

There's a big difference between appropriate behavior at mass and appropriate behavior during a Knights of Columbus fish fry. Mass is not an opportunity for fellowship, it's a communal prayer in which

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 requireme

26 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

That’s exactly where I’m coming from too.  I hadn’t realized the catholic ladies didn’t have that in similar form, my only parish experience has been with a lot more going on around it.  That helps with understanding where the breakdown is, though.

Catholic ladies don't have what? Bearing each other's burdens, gathering together? Of course we have that. And yes, there is getting to know one another going on before and after Mass to a greater or lesser degree depending on the day and the person. Name tags would be untenable at my parish. We are large and there would be no way to get name tags to people in any kind of orderly fashion. We have 7 Masses on a weekend. Mass is communal worship. We also have small groups, scripture studies, ministries to the poor, sick, elderly, etc. all kinds of places where people get to know each other more intimately and from there comes the sharing of burdens, etc. Yes, there are Name Tags there, but Mass is different. 

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I’m still chewing on this...My Protestant church shares in communion weekly.  It is why we come together.

I’m thinking about Jesus’ last supper with His disciples.  He was sharing a meal with His followers.  It was fellowship.  He was also still trying to make clear to them who He was, and what was His plan.  In that sense, they would have been led to worship Him.  I think this very much should be reflected in our own time together as a Christian body.  Gathering together is for worship AND fellowship with one another...

I’m fascinated that this topic is viewed so differently by different denominations of Christians!  I hope we all remember what unites us as believers is more important than the preferences of individual congregations.  It’s just so very interesting...

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31 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Eh, not exact.  The Greek Orthodox church my BIL and SIL attend has a whole lot more fellowship going on before and after it, too, as did the Russian Orthodox bodies.  Now they were small and homogenous, no name tags really needed, but they were rather gregarious outside of the bounds of the service 🙂

Agree to disagree on the rest, I’d say.  Thanks for explaining the more compartmentalized nature of how you’re experiencing this!

Just quoting you to jump in...

Lots of Roman Catholic mass goers smile and nod at each other as they are entering their pews, acknowledging both friends and unfamiliar people. Lots of people are praying and getting in the mindset for Mass, but it is pretty clear who those people are, usually either kneeling or sitting with bowed heads, holding prayer book or rosary. Or looking at crucifix, not making eye contact, etc. Generally, No one is intruding on anyone's spiritual preparation for Mass. But it isn't all complete none interaction between Mass goers, just it is mostly non-verbal. Except on First Communion days, which is a whole different story.

Afterwards, many people socialize, interact, talk, etc. As I've gotten older, more and more talking is happening after Mass in the nave but still there is the idea to stay quiet until you get to the narthex or outside.

This thread reminds me of the *what do you think of greeters at church?* thread with an entire contingent of people saying... "Leave me alone. Don't greet me. Just let me get in to my seat.*

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1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

 Like, the ultimate intimacy is professing Christ together.  We are literally actually closer than blood family, being of the same spiritual family and heritage in Christ.

 

Well, Catholics would say the ultimate intimacy is receiving Christ, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist. And Mass is the way we have to do that. It is not a time for socializing. I mean, not that people couldn't, if there is a gathering space outside the church. But generally, at Catholic parishes I have been too, people enter and quickly make their way into the church to prepare themselves/pray beforehand. 

Now, after the Mass is a different story. Every parish has a different vibe. Some parishes have basically no socializing afterwards, with all/most heading home immediately. The socializing/helping others comes out in Bible studies, fish fries, etc...Other parishes have active coffee times afterwards. 

1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

Huh, so there are really clear lines there in your congregation? That may be the difference.  Until we sit and enter into prayer and worship, the time is specifically for coming together and being with one another communally, before and after. That could be some of the disconnect.


Yes, I'd say most Catholic parishes have clear lines in this sense. Very little socializing happens before Mass, as you wouldn't want to disturb anyone preparing for Mass, and you yourself (general you) would want to be preparing for the most intimate experience (the Eucharist).

Anyway, until this thread I had no idea some churches used nametags. It would seem very out of place at a Catholic Mass, ime. Well, sometimes ushers have nametags that identify they as ushers.

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I loathe name tags on many levels.  As Stella mentioned, sticking something on my chest encouraging people to look there is complete turnoff to me.  I hate the lanyard and/or plastic cases, they poke me, they flop around, face backward, young kids want to grab them and pull them off or worse suck on them.  I wear my winter coat during service because I'm always freezing, I don't want to pole holes in my coat, but if I put it on my clothes, you can't see it anyways.  My hair (waist length) gets caught on it. It has nothing to do with fellowship of connecting to people.  I'm more than capable of connecting with people without ever knowing their name.  I do see value in having ushers/greeters having a name tag because it then it kind of identifies them as someone "in charge" so if there are issues/questions people will know who to talk to. But average attendees have no need for that. So count me as one, if my church REQUIRED it of everyone, I'd be going elsewhere, they are just too much of a pain and don't really serve any useful purpose.  If it was optional, it would be annoying but as long as I could opt out, I'd get over it.

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I have no problem with it. Not like anyone will be thrown out if they don't wear a name tag. This is usually done to help people to get to know each other. Why go to church if you don't want anyone to know your name? Going to church is supposed to be about being in fellowship with others, not coming and wanting to keep to yourself and the people you already know and like (aka, clique).

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1 hour ago, Hadley said:

I’m thinking about Jesus’ last supper with His disciples.  He was sharing a meal with His followers.  It was fellowship.  He was also still trying to make clear to them who He was, and what was His plan.  In that sense, they would have been led to worship Him.  I think this very much should be reflected in our own time together as a Christian body.  Gathering together is for worship AND fellowship with one another...

I think this is the root of the difference. The RCC (and I think the Orthodox church) emphasizes that the Church is the whole community of 1.2 billion people who have been baptized, it's not the particular people who happen to be at any one particular mass. 

Edited by chiguirre
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I once worked for a church that did this, but not every Sunday. Maybe once a month they had a "name tag Sunday" and asked all parishioners to stop on their way into the sanctuary to pick up a name tag.

I'm pretty introverted, but the idea of wearing one doesn't phase me in the least. I rather like it, because I am not good at walking up to someone and introducing myself. Having learned their name would make me a bit more comfortable in future interactions. I like to add acquaintances on social media and "get to know them" that way too. It makes me feel less shy about talking to them. I know that my sense of knowing them is somewhat skewed, but it still helps break down that barrier for me.

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1 hour ago, chiguirre said:

I think this is the root of the difference. The RCC (and I think the Orthodox church) emphasizes that the Church is the whole community of 1.2 billion people who have been baptized, it's not the particular people who happen to be at any one particular mass. 

I must not have been clear.  Sorry about that!  I most definitely was referring to “The Church” as a collection of all baptized believers, and not only as the people who happen to be in my building (or even denomination, for that matter).  I just would have a hard time attending a church large enough to contain billions of Christians, so I’ll fellowship with those who happen to be in the building on Sunday 😉.

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3 hours ago, chiguirre said:

There's a big difference between appropriate behavior at mass and appropriate behavior during a Knights of Columbus fish fry. Mass is not an opportunity for fellowship, it's a communal prayer in which all of a believer's attention should be focused on the mass itself: the readings during the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharistic prayers during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. You shouldn't talk during mass. You shouldn't be looking around and waving at people. You don't need to know anybody's name. You're supposed to be completely immersed in Jesus' sacrifice. (Even my thoroughly unreligious current self would not dream of not following along with the parts of the mass attentively. It's just not acceptable.)

 

Peace be with you.

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Well, speaking as someone who attends a very small church, the people who want to know my name already do. If I was good at remembering names, I would know everyone's. My dd#1 & DH could tell you everyone's name except the college kids. They might only know a couple of those.

To me, it isn't about knowing someone's name; it is about requiring something I consider superfluous. Except when it comes to doing something necessary on my kids' behalf, I am a bit of a rebel about requirements/rules that I consider unnecessary. Contrary & difficult just on principle.

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I loathe wearing name tags.  Maybe it's part of being an extreme introvert.  Selfishly, though, it would be great if everyone else wore them since I can't remember names.  😛

I would probably just quietly ignore the rule for myself.  That's what I do when I go to conferences etc.  They give me a name tag, I take it and slip it into my briefcase or whatever.

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9 hours ago, RootAnn said:

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.

 

I had an extremely (extremely!) shy introverted roommate in college and she used to write "Bob" or "Bill" on her nametag at church. She did have a good sense of humor.  😃  

Edited by cintinative
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If some of you are such introverts, why not ask your church to institute a color code such as used by autistics when meeting up with other autistics in large groups? A name tag can be an assistive device, helping people who have trouble putting names to faces or consistently recognizing people at all. A socializing color code is another assistive device, with or without the name tag bundled in.

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I would hate it. 

It would make me feel like I was at a work conference, which would not improve my mood. 

I'm bad with both names and faces and remembering if I actually know someone. Name tags would exponentially increase the stress of people saying, "Hi, katilac!" and me frantically wondering if they are reading my name tag or if I'm actually supposed to know who the heck they are. 

 

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I would love it.   Lots of people kinda know my name because I have a Polish last name and that is different from everyone else, except my dh who has another Polish last name.  Both dh and I are completely awful at remembering names.  So yes, I would love to get to know more people's names.  One big problem for me is that so many people look alike.  My church is medium sized.

Another issue I have in my church is that it is a combination of very long time members (25 years,. 50 years, even 60 some years) and those of us who are much newer.  (10 years or less).  Some, and more than just a few, long time women members seem to think you should know who are family members of them or other pertinent facts.  For the most part, I have no idea-  particularly since these women have girls who changed their names upon marriage or sometimes, they have children who have different last names due to divorce and remarriage of the older parent.  The children I am talking about are adults too but people expect me and every other new person to be familiar with the family trees.  i need visual family trees to make connections.

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I visited a church that has them. They asked me to wear one and I declined. “But if you wear a name tag, people will be able to welcome you and love on you.” Surprised I didn’t run out of there screaming. As a visitor (and, yes, a textbook introvert, enneagram 5, and whatever other label you want to assign that denotes anti-social observer), I don’t want to be “loved on” the first time we meet. Eew. 

Now that we’re in a church—as in, I am choosing to be here among these people and I want both to know them and be known by them—I wouldn’t decline. But I’m not going to be the one suggesting it either 🙂.  

 

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There's probably a happy medium where you offer people a nametag and take no for an answer!!  Pushing... ick!

We've got a bulletin board with family photos in the entry area, which has also been helpful to me.  We're a very transient church because we're mostly military. 

It's not classy and is probably wasteful, but the paper stickers are my favorite.  I don't like the insider/outsider feel of some people having lanyards while others just have stickers. 

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Good golly, I did not mean to drop a bomb and run away! My day got very busy after I posted and I have just now caught up with all your responses.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your varying opinions on this matter. I have read each reply with great interest. I am fascinated by the differing opinions between the Catholic/Orthodox points of view, and those from the American Protestant. Two sides of a coin, and I can see valid points on both, having spent many years in each.  

The name tag thing is something our church recently decided to do. I have found myself very much resistant to participating in wearing one, and I am trying to figure out why I might be having this gut level reaction. 

Each reply has shed some light, and as I’ve read I’ve been able to identify some of the things that bother me. This is the largest church we’ve ever attended, and despite having excellent teaching, and being there a number of years, I am still not feeling connected. I get the feeling I am not the only one. I have thought about it much and I am not baffled by it, and have decided on some strategies to better engage. After observing the situation for a number of years, I firmly believe that name tags are not the solution. So maybe right off the bat I am frustrated by what seems like a bandaid approach to a systemic issue, if that makes sense. 

On an individual level, I agree with many that it makes me feel like I am at a business meeting. I stick the name tag on my chest, and ushers and greeters use my name. But they are not looking at my face, they are looking at my chest, for the name tag. It’s a passing experience; the folks who use my name as I walk by immediately set their sights on the next chest so they can speak the next name. There’s no relational time. Now please don’t think I’m being critical of the greeting team - they are certainly doing what they are tasked to do. It just all feels like a very unearned and superficial familiarity, if that makes sense. During announcement time, tag wearers are thanked and congratulated, leaving non tagged folks (at least me) feeling a bit tsk-tsked.  “Please help us out by everyone wearing one.” I find it especially ironic because last year,  the shake-hands-with-your-neighbor during worship time was dropped because “it could make visitors feel awkward.”

I am introverted by nature, and have been hurt by church polity (and human misapplication of it) in the past, so I admit that my knee jerk reaction is to be guarded. I get the feeling from some replies here that my misgivings could be interpreted as a lack of faith (yes, I have been down the hmm, not really saved? road before). Those of you who appear to believe that a reluctance to wear a name tag signals a less-than desire to fellowship with the body, please at the very least have mercy for a weaker believer. Your thoughts and comments, though, have challenged me to further self examination.

Thanks again, I appreciate all that’s been shared. I will go along to get along, but I honestly don’t like it.

Edited by Seasider too
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This reminds me of the recent thing our church started re online giving.  I've been doing my offering online for years, which was a little awkward when they passed the plate, but I got used to it.  They eventually trained the ushers to not offer the plate if there was someone sitting there without an offering in hand.  That was better.  But now they have this yellow card in the pew that you are supposed to put in if you give online.  It says "I give online."  Somehow this bugs me.  First of all, it's none of anyone's business who contributes and who doesn't.  Secondly, nobody has any business judging their neighbor about it.  Thirdly, this feels like just another way to guilt people into giving or feeling out of place if they don't.  So this measure, apparently meant to shield people like me from unfair judgment, just rubs me the wrong way.  And I won't participate.  And nobody'd better ask me why.

Edited by SKL
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But as to the underlying issue they are trying to address with the name tags - I understand it.  I don't know the answer.  I've been attending the same church for 10 years, and I hardly know anyone by name.  I know them to smile and nod hi, but they could be Frank or George and I wouldn't know.  Which probably doesn't help my social situation - though I'm not the type to run up and talk to people in any case.

I dunno - I guess I feel like name introductions aren't the reason for going to church.  In fact, I'd really rather not interact during church.  I'd feel differently if we were talking about a discussion-based Bible study.

Edited by SKL
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I grew up going to two different churches that both encouraged name tag use (permanent, pin-on name tags were made for church members), and I was never a fan. Here's why. Both of my parents were blind, and I know they felt like it was Just One More Thing they couldn't participate in, even though it was expected that they would wear their names tags despite the fact that they couldn't see and read anyone else's. Which is kind of ridiculous when you think about it, because in general, once you meet the blind couple, you don't forget them.

Anyway, as a confessional Lutheran, I can see both sides of this conversation. The Divine Service is about receiving God's gifts of Word and Sacrament, so there's no socializing going on, and people's focus tends to be on the service. There is socializing going on after the service though (coffee and donuts, anyone?), so that would be an appropriate time for name tags, I suppose. Our church doesn't use them, though, so it's not a personal issue for me. In general, I still don't really like them, but for a much more vain reason...a name tag just does't go with my outfit! 😉

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1 minute ago, Arctic Mama said:

I cannot even imagine being in a church for a decade and hardly knowing anyone by name.  I’ve heard of it happening but why?  Does your church break into smaller discipleship groups or classes and that is where the relationships and being known and knowing happens?

 

Who is this question for?

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2 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

SKL, mostly, but anyone can answer, it’s a free internet 🙂

 

Of course. I just wondered if you were asking me, specifically. 

I know a lot of names of people I attend church with. A lot of people know my name. I just don’t like wearing a name tag for worship service. 

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4 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

I cannot even imagine being in a church for a decade and hardly knowing anyone by name.  I’ve heard of it happening but why?  Does your church break into smaller discipleship groups or classes and that is where the relationships and being known and knowing happens? 
 

How do you participate in praying for one another or discipline a weaker sister (or being under discipleship with an older and more mature woman) if you don’t know people well enough to know their names?  It is just a tiny subset of a massive church? That was a bit how it was at a mega church I attended as a teen - it was too big so the small groups functioned as mini churches.  A bad model but they were trying to do the best they could with their size.

It's a disability I've had all my life.  I take a ridiculously long time to learn someone's name.  And you really don't need to say the name in church activities.

I have attended "Sunday School" classes the entire 10 years, participating in the discussions more than some people.  So I kinda know people by face, but not by name.  Some names I've learned but then forgotten since we haven't talked in a while (I've been required to attend "confirmation parent" classes for the past 2 years).

As for discipline, we don't do that in my church as far as I'm aware.  I don't think I would like that at all ... would probably not choose a church that did that.

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I'm not opposed to name tags, although the idea of it gives me a slightly weird vibe. But my southern baptist church has come up with lots of ideas. Some are good and some a little, well, not good in my opinion.  Someone decided it was a good idea to chop down all the stately ornamental shrubs and small trees that had been part of the landscape for so many years. Now there are little ugly nubs of hardly thriving greenery dotted here and there and it changed the whole look of things. This isn't important in the grand scheme of things, though........just saying sometimes someone says, hey let's do this, and it isn't always a good idea.

I relate to you, Wendy and Milo, when you say that some people feel the way they do because of their recent past experiences, especially trauma. I'm not opposed to name tags per se, but it would personally make me uncomfortable. As someone who has had trauma in the past (and some more recent, including very bad experiences at church), let me just say that this definitely can shape who you are, the way you think, and how guarded you need to be. There will be others who haven't experienced trauma to this extent in their life and are happily engaging with others and loving every aspect of fellowship with others be it in church or otherwise. People who have been though trauma are more vulnerable to ongoing abusive treatment from others. That's just how it is. It happens over and over because an abused person just doesn't know how to assert themselves in a way that averts this. There comes a time and age where you might have a light bulb moment and  say: this is enough. And you want to protect yourself from others and from yourself, too. It's sad, but for some it's just the way it is. One understanding person could make all the difference, but in our society we are put off by people who overshare. We just like to say hi, how are you.

So I don't think a person is necessarily selfish, eccentric, or being unloving in their church body. They are just living with their reality and coping. These are the ones who need more patience and understanding, in my opinion.

So, I'm not against name tags in general. But I just would not be comfortable being handed a basket with stickers and expected to wear one. It would just make it weird and I might take it and say thank you but not stick it on at all. I like to get to know people one on one and go inch wide, mile deep. Stickers are, to me, mile wide, inch deep. It feels like "wear this and conform". Everything inside me at this point in my life just says, "after all the experiences in my life, I want to be in control. I don't have to conform. No matter how seemingly eccentric, I want to be the one who decides where and how high my walls and boundaries are. I also don't expect others to understand nor behave as I do. I'm just trying to explain a bit further what it's like to be someone who feels this way and is shaped this way because of the past (and not so recent past).

 

Edited by Indigo Blue
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My large church (1100) has permanent nametags (magnetic) though not everyone wears them. 

As a staff member, they are helpful because new people (or new to my area) can see my name and my position. No way will most parents remember when they are checking in their kids at a new church. Enough just to manage kids, find the right hallway etc. Nametags help them remember me and make a connection that helps them and their kids feel more secure.

As a church member, I like them because they help me know people and help make a large church feel a bit smaller.

 

 

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And yes, apparently there are differences in what some churches appear to be designed to do.  Wherever I've worshiped, the church service is mainly about one's personal relationship with God.  There will be talk about how people relate to one another, but the actual relating with other humans isn't really done in church.  We do have to greet one another in the services we currently attend - a moment I dislike but tolerate - but no personal information is exchanged.

I feel like a smile and eye contact is kinder than trying to get all up in a stranger's business.  And you don't actually have to know another person's name in order to have a conversation - not at all.  In fact, in some ways, it's easier to have an honest conversation when you're anonymous.

For those who want to take it further, nothing is stopping them from asking and giving names.  I feel it should be optional though.

Edited by SKL
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I hate name tags in general, but especially at church.  It feels like a lie, invasive, it's false intimacy. If you don't know me well enough to remember my name don't pretend you do.

I am perfectly fine telling people my name, even over and over again.  But not name tags.

I've never twice visited churches that require them.  And all those that do seem overly controlling in other areas too.

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2 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

I cannot even imagine being in a church for a decade and hardly knowing anyone by name.  I’ve heard of it happening but why?  Does your church break into smaller discipleship groups or classes and that is where the relationships and being known and knowing happens? 
 

How do you participate in praying for one another or discipline a weaker sister (or being under discipleship with an older and more mature woman) if you don’t know people well enough to know their names? 


People have different expectations and experiences of church.  Because, same as always, different people are different.  
 

The Catholic Churches we have attended have classes, groups and charitable volunteer opportunities and activities.  Those would be the people we knew by name.  The people my dad was in the choir with, the families who also worked in the food pantry and Friday lunch program from homeless people, the families of the kids in the same classes and activities as the kids in my family.  We usually had dinner with different families from church at least once a month, if not more often so it’s not that we didn’t know any one, it’s that we didn’t know everyone.  At a large church (NOT a mega church, just a large church with 3-4 full masses each Sunday), how could one meaningfully know everyone.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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I would not wear a nametag.

I go to a largish church and I know a lot of people there.  Just yesterday I met a family who has been going to our church for a while.  I talked with them for a few minutes and then I asked them what their names were.

I saw another couple that I talked to several months ago.  They usually sit on the other side of the church, so I don't get a chance to talk to them every week.  I don't remember their names.  And it's ok.  The next time I get a chance, I will apologize for forgetting their names and ask again.  It will actually encourage me to talk with them again.  If they were wearing name tags I wouldn't need to say anything other than "hi".  Asking their names will open a conversation.

Also: I would not want everyone watching our church via livestream to be able to see my name.  That is a privacy issue that I'm not comfortable with.

Edited by Junie
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1 hour ago, Seasider too said:

Good golly, I did not mean to drop a bomb and run away! My day got very busy after I posted and I have just now caught up with all your responses.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your varying opinions on this matter. I have read each reply with great interest. I am fascinated by the differing opinions between the Catholic/Orthodox points of view, and those from the American Protestant. Two sides of a coin, and I can see valid points on both, having spent many years in each.  

The name tag thing is something our church recently decided to do. I have found myself very much resistant to participating in wearing one, and I am trying to figure out why I might be having this gut level reaction. 

Each reply has shed some light, and as I’ve read I’ve been able to identify some of the things that bother me. This is the largest church we’ve ever attended, and despite having excellent teaching, and being there a number of years, I am still not feeling connected. I get the feeling I am not the only one. I have thought about it much and I am not baffled by it, and have decided on some strategies to better engage. After observing the situation for a number of years, I firmly believe that name tags are not the solution. So maybe right off the bat I am frustrated by what seems like a bandaid approach to a systemic issue, if that makes sense. 

On an individual level, I agree with many that it makes me feel like I am at a business meeting. I stick the name tag on my chest, and ushers and greeters use my name. But they are not looking at my face, they are looking at my chest, for the name tag. It’s a passing experience; the folks who use my name as I walk by immediately set their sights on the next chest so they can speak the next name. There’s no relational time. Now please don’t think I’m being critical of the greeting team - they are certainly doing what they are tasked to do. It just all feels like a very unearned and superficial familiarity, if that makes sense. During announcement time, tag wearers are thanked and congratulated, leaving non tagged folks (at least me) feeling a bit tsk-tsked.  “Please help us out by everyone wearing one.” I find it especially ironic because last year,  the shake-hands-with-your-neighbor during worship time was dropped because “it could make visitors feel awkward.”

I am introverted by nature, and have been hurt by church polity (and human misapplication of it) in the past, so I admit that my knee jerk reaction is to be guarded. I get the feeling from some replies here that my misgivings could be interpreted as a lack of faith (yes, I have been down the hmm, not really saved? road before). Those of you who appear to believe that a reluctance to wear a name tag signals a less-than desire to fellowship with the body, please at the very least have mercy for a weaker believer. Your thoughts and comments, though, have challenged me to further self examination.

Thanks again, I appreciate all that’s been shared. I will go along to get along, but I honestly don’t like it.

IT seems that the Protestant churches that I have been a part of fully embrace extroverted expressions of faith but often struggle to relate to more introverted ones.

For instance. We are told to "be still and know that I am God." This, as an introvert, is my wheelhouse. I LOVE being alone with just me and God. 

And yet, we are also told to "go into all the world and spread the Gospel." and all those "one another" verses where I'm supposed to be speaking life into others and allowing them to speak life into me. Because the extroverted actions can be SEEN, in many churches those are emphasized as important parts of faith.

BUT WE ARE CALLED TO DO BOTH. Yeah, even me, introverted persona that I am, need to reach out and allow others to impact me as well (which means I need to slightly lower my defenses and let people in sometimes) 

It's like in the church overall there's a huge appreciation for the extroverted Sunday School teacher, youth worker who corrals large mobs of people on a regular basis, but the understated introverted Christian who has one on one discussions with co-workers, who quietly prays with intensity for the needs of others, who has in depth knowledge of scripture because they LOVE being alone with the Bible are just kind of invisible. (and many introverts like the invisibility of it) And by emphasizing certain extroverted characteristics, the introverts who are new to a congregation want to run screaming from the building each week. 

It took my dh and I (both introverts) years to feel connected, like we were a part of the congregation that we've attended now for almost 20 years. And we were okay with that. But I couldn't blame that on the congregation. I just take time to warm up to people. I also think that when we got a more introverted pastor it really helped with the dynamics of our church.

Overall, what has helped out church was:

A variety of Sunday School classes with a variety of sizes with varying ages in each one. Some people don't want to be cataloged by their age. (I had a wide range of ages with my kids, so when I had a toddler and a high schooler, a group based upon parenting stage was just not applicable.) Also, adult classes that vary by interest and depth of the Scripture. To get to know one another, my dh and I preferred different ways to meet people. Big bustling church fellowships felt overwhelming to us. (we still skip them) While smaller trips to a ball game or get together are better. And no, the trendy thing of meeting for bible studies and prayer meetings in someone's home won't work for me. By the time I figure out who is leading, which group is a good fit, which one is close to my house and find directions for it, I'm done. Too much work. 

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21 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

IT seems that the Protestant churches that I have been a part of fully embrace extroverted expressions of faith but often struggle to relate to more introverted ones.

For instance. We are told to "be still and know that I am God." This, as an introvert, is my wheelhouse. I LOVE being alone with just me and God. 

And yet, we are also told to "go into all the world and spread the Gospel." and all those "one another" verses where I'm supposed to be speaking life into others and allowing them to speak life into me. Because the extroverted actions can be SEEN, in many churches those are emphasized as important parts of faith.

BUT WE ARE CALLED TO DO BOTH. Yeah, even me, introverted persona that I am, need to reach out and allow others to impact me as well (which means I need to slightly lower my defenses and let people in sometimes) 

It's like in the church overall there's a huge appreciation for the extroverted Sunday School teacher, youth worker who corrals large mobs of people on a regular basis, but the understated introverted Christian who has one on one discussions with co-workers, who quietly prays with intensity for the needs of others, who has in depth knowledge of scripture because they LOVE being alone with the Bible are just kind of invisible. (and many introverts like the invisibility of it) And by emphasizing certain extroverted characteristics, the introverts who are new to a congregation want to run screaming from the building each week. 

It took my dh and I (both introverts) years to feel connected, like we were a part of the congregation that we've attended now for almost 20 years. And we were okay with that. But I couldn't blame that on the congregation. I just take time to warm up to people. I also think that when we got a more introverted pastor it really helped with the dynamics of our church.

Overall, what has helped out church was:

A variety of Sunday School classes with a variety of sizes with varying ages in each one. Some people don't want to be cataloged by their age. (I had a wide range of ages with my kids, so when I had a toddler and a high schooler, a group based upon parenting stage was just not applicable.) Also, adult classes that vary by interest and depth of the Scripture. To get to know one another, my dh and I preferred different ways to meet people. Big bustling church fellowships felt overwhelming to us. (we still skip them) While smaller trips to a ball game or get together are better. And no, the trendy thing of meeting for bible studies and prayer meetings in someone's home won't work for me. By the time I figure out who is leading, which group is a good fit, which one is close to my house and find directions for it, I'm done. Too much work. 

 

So much I agree with here!

Oh my goodness, thank you for taking the time to write this all out. 

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I wish everyone wore name tags all the time. I try really hard to remember people’s names, but I need to see/ hear them pretty frequently to remember.  And that rarely happens.  And it’s awkward to ask someone’s name more than once.  So I get into situations where I have been interacting with someone a lot for many years and maybe know lots about them, but I don’t know their name.  And I can’t ask.  I’ve actually quit going to churches and dropped out of activities because of the constant anxiety not knowing the names of people I should know causes.  And really, during worship it’s not strictly necessary, but it’s an opportunity to see and put names to faces and then name tags are on in preparation for Sunday school or coffee hour or what not.  The worst is then running into someone from church in a different context.  I just really wish we all had name tags all the time.  It would majorly reduce my anxiety.  

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Another thing about Catholic parishes (that is now really changing for a variety of reasons) is that you used to be literally surrounded by your fellow parishoners.

The Sobieskis lived next door: Stan, Stella, and all the little Sobieskis. And you knew who they were because mom or dad would shout their names out the door when they needed to come home. LOL They often went to the parish school and all the kids walked there about the same time. Everyone went to Mass, everyone went to CYO, everyone was in Altar and Rosary. 

You generally didn't *need* name tags.

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1 hour ago, fairfarmhand said:

IT seems that the Protestant churches that I have been a part of fully embrace extroverted expressions of faith but often struggle to relate to more introverted ones.

For instance. We are told to "be still and know that I am God." This, as an introvert, is my wheelhouse. I LOVE being alone with just me and God. 

And yet, we are also told to "go into all the world and spread the Gospel." and all those "one another" verses where I'm supposed to be speaking life into others and allowing them to speak life into me. Because the extroverted actions can be SEEN, in many churches those are emphasized as important parts of faith.

BUT WE ARE CALLED TO DO BOTH. Yeah, even me, introverted persona that I am, need to reach out and allow others to impact me as well (which means I need to slightly lower my defenses and let people in sometimes) 

It's like in the church overall there's a huge appreciation for the extroverted Sunday School teacher, youth worker who corrals large mobs of people on a regular basis, but the understated introverted Christian who has one on one discussions with co-workers, who quietly prays with intensity for the needs of others, who has in depth knowledge of scripture because they LOVE being alone with the Bible are just kind of invisible. (and many introverts like the invisibility of it) And by emphasizing certain extroverted characteristics, the introverts who are new to a congregation want to run screaming from the building each week. 

It took my dh and I (both introverts) years to feel connected, like we were a part of the congregation that we've attended now for almost 20 years. And we were okay with that. But I couldn't blame that on the congregation. I just take time to warm up to people. I also think that when we got a more introverted pastor it really helped with the dynamics of our church.

Overall, what has helped out church was:

A variety of Sunday School classes with a variety of sizes with varying ages in each one. Some people don't want to be cataloged by their age. (I had a wide range of ages with my kids, so when I had a toddler and a high schooler, a group based upon parenting stage was just not applicable.) Also, adult classes that vary by interest and depth of the Scripture. To get to know one another, my dh and I preferred different ways to meet people. Big bustling church fellowships felt overwhelming to us. (we still skip them) While smaller trips to a ball game or get together are better. And no, the trendy thing of meeting for bible studies and prayer meetings in someone's home won't work for me. By the time I figure out who is leading, which group is a good fit, which one is close to my house and find directions for it, I'm done. Too much work. 

 

This introvert/extrovert thing is where smaller or house churches have the advantage.  Like a small group there are only a handful of families there, so everyone gets to know everyone somewhat intimately over the course of a few years.  And by intimate I mean hopes/dreams, strengths/weaknesses, background, faith struggles, etc.  So you can get strength and support from having genuine relationships.

And as far as evangelism, I'm not sure we're all supposed to go witness to people on the street or go door-to-door trying to recruit strangers.  And I don't think that chatting up strangers who happen to be in the same church as you on Sundays is all that different. Friendly, sure.  Assuming you're going to get or give relational type support to a relative stranger because you have a name tag on is bordering on the ridiculous IME.

Also IME the sort of random large evangelical churches that do this sort of thing aren't good for anyone.  Maybe it's not always true but they are rife with spiritual abuse.  There isn't enough oversight, groups start competing instead of cooperating, they attract a lot of what I would call "spiritual vampires" or even people with outright personality disorders (BPD, NPD) who can manipulate people who are under the impression that co-dependence with minimal boundaries is a healthy spiritual state.  You have to be in a relationship with someone for a while to figure out that they are manipulative, or that they are a black hole of self-created chaos who don't want to be healthy, just want to drag as many people as they can into their own chaos.

To be fair the large church with required name tags I've spent the most time interacting with was okay (even if the sermons were condescending and overly political), but the small group of 18-29 year olds was a hot mess of people who would often go out as a group and then walk out without paying, which burned me on them.

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5 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

I cannot even imagine being in a church for a decade and hardly knowing anyone by name.  I’ve heard of it happening but why?  Does your church break into smaller discipleship groups or classes and that is where the relationships and being known and knowing happens? 
 

How do you participate in praying for one another or discipline a weaker sister (or being under discipleship with an older and more mature woman) if you don’t know people well enough to know their names?  It is just a tiny subset of a massive church? That was a bit how it was at a mega church I attended as a teen - it was too big so the small groups functioned as mini churches.  A bad model but they were trying to do the best they could with their size.

There are prayers for categories of people: Pope Francis and our bishop by name, government officials, people at war, the sick, the despairing, the dead for whom the mass is offered by name, those who have died and those who will die today. Really it covers billions of people but only a couple by name.

Parishioners do not discipline anyone. There is the sacrament of Reconciliation, formerly known as Confession. That is a secret the priest must keep or he himself would commit a mortal sin. The priest assigns a penance as a help for the sinner but it's God who forgives the sin through the sacrament.

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On 2/10/2020 at 5:26 AM, maize said:

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.

Me too.  I have been to churches and other groups that had name tags.  It did help and it is only your first name.

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INTJ
I would be happy about it, not because I'm a compliant personality, quite the opposite, but   I need the visual to learn names faster, and since I moved to a new church last year, I know what a challenge it is to learn hundreds of new names.
And I would argue that it's a great way to learn names without having to interact with anyone if you don't want to.
No one is suggesting everyone learn every name, but if you're going to learn any names, this is an efficient and thorough of doing it.

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5 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

I cannot even imagine being in a church for a decade and hardly knowing anyone by name.  I’ve heard of it happening but why?  Does your church break into smaller discipleship groups or classes and that is where the relationships and being known and knowing happens? 
 

How do you participate in praying for one another or discipline a weaker sister (or being under discipleship with an older and more mature woman) if you don’t know people well enough to know their names?  It is just a tiny subset of a massive church? That was a bit how it was at a mega church I attended as a teen - it was too big so the small groups functioned as mini churches.  A bad model but they were trying to do the best they could with their size.

 

I’ve got this problem now. It’s been a little less than a year...but I’m not sure what will happen in the next 9 years.  I can see things continuing this way for the next 3 or 4 years though as time flies so fast right now.

I went to a large church for 16 years and made a core group of friends and knew many others in the church. But then, for important reasons, we had to leave that church.

But I still live in the same area.

This means that I have a substantial friendship network of the people from my original church (half of them have left to go to other churches now, too.). It’s all I can do to maintain these friendships I already have. These are active friendships where I meet with these people regularly.

I do NOT want to create new relationships with a new set of people. Not because I don’t like them, but because I just don’t have the time.  Literally. I meet with 2 friends weekly, 7 friends (as a group) monthly, 1 friend and her family twice a month plus other times with the friend alone, a group of 5 every couple of months, and 4 other friends one-on-one every few months.  This means that I’m with someone at least every other weekend and/or during the week to get together.  I honestly don’t want to add in more than the 19 people I already have active friendships with.  And that’s not counting the relationships with my husband, kids, and parents/in-laws.

So, at this new church I don’t go to discipleship groups or classes or stay after for events.  It’s really weird and I don’t like it, but I’m not sure what else to do. I honestly do not have the hours in the day to add in new relationships. I am not going to drop my current Christian friends that I’ve been walking through life with for 16 years.  

And yes, it’s weird and lonely. For example, I was going to volunteer for an event the church did this past Friday, but I would have been completely alone at the event with 400 people.  I just couldn’t handle the lonliness of being alone in a crowd of 400 strangers.  Part of what made me back out of joining as a volunteer was a big meeting that was held before the event.  The leader kept saying things like, “And if you need to know about X, talk to Cathy.”  “If you have questions about Y, ask Jeff.”  And I’m sitting there like...who?  Who??  (Name tags would have been helpful that day!)

On a good note, one of my current friends who left the old church now goes to my new church...and another old friend is thinking of going to my new church, too...so maybe I’ll start to have people to hang out with at church during events.  They won’t be new friends, but will be current friends who changed churches, too.

The problem for me is that my husband does not have 19 friends.  He has 2.  And he wants more friends, so he wants to join a small group so we can get to know more people. And I’m like, “MORE people?!?” The church has a men’s breakfast routinely, and I think he needs to join that!

 

Well...that was rambling. But my situation is one where after about a year, I go to a church and don’t know anyone there just because my plate is already too full.  And I don’t see that changing in the next year.  Maybe in 2 or 3?

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21 minutes ago, Katy said:

 

This introvert/extrovert thing is where smaller or house churches have the advantage.  Like a small group there are only a handful of families there, so everyone gets to know everyone somewhat intimately over the course of a few years.  And by intimate I mean hopes/dreams, strengths/weaknesses, background, faith struggles, etc.  So you can get strength and support from having genuine relationships.

The thing is... I can be in genuine relationship with people for a pretty long time and still not know their name.  And it is super awkward to know someone’s hopes, dreams, fears, failures, traumas, and family experiences and not know their name.  And you can’t ask anyone because you’ve been together for three years every week.  But you only heard their name once.  It is so stressful and humiliating.  

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I happen to love nametags and picture directories. Whenever we move, if our new church has a picture directory I study that thing like it's my job. I often get people or kids confused with each other, especially at first and we move a lot. I appreciate the crutch of a nametags or picture directory, especially if it's a larger church, but even in smaller ones. Usually I am in a position where I feel like I should know people's names by a certain amount of time attending but am behind the 8 ball. At some point it becomes embarrassing to ask.

Oh, and when people interact with my kids a lot but I don't have the same amount of time with them, like a Sunday school class, nametags really help save me from being embarrassed that they know me and I entrust my kids to their class but don't know their name.

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1 minute ago, Terabith said:

The thing is... I can be in genuine relationship with people for a pretty long time and still not know their name.  And it is super awkward to know someone’s hopes, dreams, fears, failures, traumas, and family experiences and not know their name.  And you can’t ask anyone because you’ve been together for three years every week.  But you only heard their name once.  It is so stressful and humiliating.  

Same.  Also, a couple weeks ago, I completely forgot one of my kids' best friend's name.  I've taken this kid camping (among other things) and I couldn't remember her dang name.  (Also I've seen and heard and even typed her name plenty ... but still forgot it.)

Maybe it's a work-around I've developed, but I manage to interact a lot without names.  I have to.

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6 minutes ago, Garga said:

 

I’ve got this problem now. It’s been a little less than a year...but I’m not sure what will happen in the next 9 years.  I can see things continuing this way for the next 3 or 4 years though as time flies so fast right now.

I went to a large church for 16 years and made a core group of friends and knew many others in the church. But then, for important reasons, we had to leave that church.

But I still live in the same area.

This means that I have a substantial friendship network of the people from my original church (half of them have left to go to other churches now, too.). It’s all I can do to maintain these friendships I already have. These are active friendships where I meet with these people regularly.

I do NOT want to create new relationships with a new set of people. Not because I don’t like them, but because I just don’t have the time.  Literally. I meet with 2 friends weekly, 7 friends (as a group) monthly, 1 friend and her family twice a month plus other times with the friend alone, a group of 5 every couple of months, and 4 other friends one-on-one every few months.  This means that I’m with someone at least every other weekend and/or during the week to get together.  I honestly don’t want to add in more than the 19 people I already have active friendships with.  And that’s not counting the relationships with my husband, kids, and parents/in-laws.

So, at this new church I don’t go to discipleship groups or classes or stay after for events.  It’s really weird and I don’t like it, but I’m not sure what else to do. I honestly do not have the hours in the day to add in new relationships. I am not going to drop my current Christian friends that I’ve been walking through life with for 16 years.  

And yes, it’s weird and lonely. For example, I was going to volunteer for an event the church did this past Friday, but I would have been completely alone at the event with 400 people.  I just couldn’t handle the lonliness of being alone in a crowd of 400 strangers.  

On a good note, one of my current friends who left the old church now goes to my new church...and another old friend is thinking of going to my new church, too...so maybe I’ll start to have people to hang out with at church during events.  They won’t be new friends, but will be current friends who changed churches, too.

The problem for me is that my husband does not have 19 friends.  He has 2.  And he wants more friends, so he wants to join a small group so we can get to know more people. And I’m like, “MORE people?!?” The church has a men’s breakfast routinely, and I think he needs to join that!

 

Well...that was rambling. But my situation is one where after about a year, I go to a church and don’t know anyone there just because my plate is already too full.  And I don’t see that changing in the next year.  Maybe in 2 or 3?

I hear you.  Right or wrong, I am extremely reluctant to invest in new relationships.  Being a single parent, I have enough to do keeping up with clients, co-workers, my kids' many interactions that also involve me, extended family, folks working on my house, etc. etc.  I have had to drop things because it was too much.  We do church so that my kids can have a church family, and maybe someday it will be a comfort to me when I'm old and have little other company.  I do the minimum needed to sort of blend in there.

People time takes a real toll on me.  Honestly I dread it much of the time.  Name or no name.  Just let me sit quietly in the pew!

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2 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

IT seems that the Protestant churches that I have been a part of fully embrace extroverted expressions of faith but often struggle to relate to more introverted ones.

 

YES!

Have you read Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh? He opens with the idea that walking into a Sunday morning service at many Protestant churches feels like walking into a cocktail party without the benefit of alcohol (my paraphrase).

Name tags say, essentially, "Hey there! Hi! Here's my name! Talk to me!" Which isn't what I always want/need/have to give on a Sunday morning. 

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I'm all for the name tags to help learn names, but I wish the evangelical churches I've attended were much more compartmentalized with everyone quiet before the services and reserving socializing for after. I think socializing before is too "man focused".  It's challenging enough to keep things God focused before and during the corporate worship. Contemplative types need quiet time to immerse deeply into a God-focused mindset, which is what sanctuaries were originally for, but  in most of them it's become a lounge for chatter before services.

My current church is sort of like this with people needing quiet sitting silently in the sanctuary, but invariably a few extroverts who have no clue what's going on wander in with their introverted spouses and feel the need to go introducing themselves and chattering between themselves. Sigh. Instead they could hang out with the literally hundreds of people in the foyer and outside chatting giving those who need silence a chance. We'll chat with them after the service has ended. 

I wish churches customarily ate lunch together after services on a regular basis to encourage unhurried fellowship, but modern living seems to put too much strain on most people to add that to their Sunday worship routines. I'm betting preparing/buying a picnic lunch on Saturday to eat at church (indoors or out) after services on Sunday is something few people would respond favorably to.

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