As the assistant junior high pastor in a large Southern California church, Mike Nappa was used to seeing visitors. And he was intentional about connecting with them.
“I was determined to greet them all,” he remembers.
One evening, he spotted a little guy standing alone while the rest of the kids shouted, played, and drew pictures on a white board.
Intent on making the guy feel at home, Mike made his way across the room and planted himself in front of the wallflower.
“Hi,” said Mike. “I don’t remember seeing you before. Is this your first time here?”
“The guy looked at me, puzzled,” remembers Mike. “He said, ‘Actually,
I’ve been attending for three months now. In fact, you just wrote me a letter this week telling me how you were glad I was coming.’
“I struggled to regain my composure. I said, ‘Oh, yeah! Right! You’re Brian, aren’t you?’
” ‘No. My name is Jeff,’ he said. Then he went to join some friends who’d just arrived. I wanted to go soak my head in the toilet.”
Forgetting a student’s name is bad enough. But forgetting a student? So much for building self-esteem.
But it happens: We forget kids, miss birthdays, and lose track of who’s dating whom. Letting facts central to our kids’ world escape us hurts our ministries.
What sort of record-keeping do you have in place to help you stay on top of names, dates, and faces? Paperwork may be boring, but when it helps you be more effective, it’s worth the pain.