Naming Names

An Important Skill to Learn

by Scott Berkey/ November 7, 2014

Just the other day in a staff meeting, my pastor reminded our team of the power of recognizing someone by their name. He pointed out that in Romans chapter 16, Paul ends his letter in a very unusual way. After he concludes chapter 15 with a normal “the God of peace be with you,” he proceeds to add one more chapter where he lists more than 30 of his “co-laborers” in the gospel. I think Paul understood something about leadership that we often forget. He understood the value of using a person’s name and what it could do for the morale of the team and the individual. Let me explain:

In ministry, it is normal to receive compliments from time to time. If we know what is good for us, we quickly learn there is a great deal of wisdom in dispensing that praise on to our teams. Responding with something like, “Thank you, I am blessed with an incredible team that helped us pull off this event,” will go a long way in deepening your team’s commitment to getting things done. Also, using public platforms to say thank you to your team is a very wise thing to do. But what if we followed Paul’s lead and took the casual thank you one step further?

Rather than just saying, “I have a great team,” what if we actually started naming names? I know it is dangerous to name names (what if we forget someone?), but think about how those individuals listed in Romans 16 must have felt when they saw Paul cared enough for them to mention their names in his letter. They had to have been so overwhelmed with excitement that they would have done anything for Paul. None of the volunteers that I have on my team are working for the applause, but there is something that happens in their hearts when they are personally recognized for their hard work. If we want to build teams that are committed for the long haul, we should start being more specific about who it is that is making such a huge impact on our teams. We should name names from time to time, and watch how big an impact it makes!