January 17, 2012

Nametags: Opposites attract

If you’re still debating the merits of nametags, then this post isn’t for you.

I’m a fan. I think nametags are a sign of welcome to visitors, making it easier for them to focus on conversation instead of imprinting names into memory.

Sunday was our first day at the new church. More than 200 people shook our hands, welcoming us to the community and church. And at every turn, I was thanking God for the nametags.

What I wanted to share here though was their clever twist on nametags.

First, they use two strong magnets instead of safety pins, tape or lanyards. The first magnet is, of course, part of the nametag, while the second one slips under your shirt or collar. This technique means no pin holes in shirts or awkward lanyard competing with my necklace. It was easy for the kids to put on, and the magnets were strong enough to stay connected through the service and reception.

Secondly, instead of everyone taking the nametags off as they left worship – the typical action for most churches – they left them on during the reception. As folks left, they placed the nametags on the metal closet doors of the fellowship hall. An usher planned to take them back to the foyer before next Sunday.

Most places hang the nametags for easy access as you enter the nave, which makes sense. But the drawback is that folks hang up their nametags before they’re at coffee hour – the time when people most need the nametags to facilitate connections.

I suspect this church isn’t always so committed to nametags, and that their careful attention to this was in large part due to our arrival. But I’m hoping we can make this a lasting practice.
It was a great way for me to literally put names to faces and a good first step to feeling a part of the community.

What are your nametag practices? I look forward to hearing how your congregation addresses these issues. Share them here.