This weekend I visited our Irvine campus and saw something so simple but surprisingly effective. I was standing at the check in center and could hear a constant stream of voices. Our Irvine Children’s Director, Kecia, said “you should go check out what our 5th and 6th grade leader is doing.” So I walked around the corner and watched the action.

Here is what I saw. As each pre-teen came into the room, our volunteer would greet them by name and then do something very interesting. She would announce them to the rest of the group. So it went something like this. Cameron walked up to the entrance of the 5th and 6th grade room. Our volunteer said “Hi Cameron, it’s great to see you today.” Then she would turn to the group and say “Cameron is here” and all the kids would say “Hi Cameron.”

I watched the faces of the kids as they walked in expecting them to be embarrassed or irritated, after all they are pre-teens. But to my surprise as that volunteer called out their name, and then the other kids did the same, you could see that kid’s face light up!
nametag blog
Something so simple communicated a great truth to each child, you belong here. Isn’t that what we all want? To feel like we belong. It made me think of that old sitcom Cheers. Every time the character Norm walked into the bar, everyone would turn to the door and say “Norm!” Regardless of how his day was going, Norm felt like a king when he heard his name called out.

You may not be able to call out each kid’s name as they walk in, but we can all be intentional about making the kids who walk in our doors feel welcome and know that they belong. It seems so simple, but it is such a big deal.

What can you do this weekend to help the kids that attend your church know that they belong?


  1. Kecia Jones says:

    That’s my new favorite post!

    Thanks so much, Steve. 🙂

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