If you’re on facebook, you’ve probably seen or played the name game where you create new names for yourself based on specific directions. For example, your “witness protection name” is made by combining your mother and father’s middle names. Your “superhero name” is your second favorite color, your favorite drink, and then you add “the” to the beginning. Try it! It’s especially fun with a group of people.
We all know that names are important. In fact, The LOGOS Ministry was begun by a man who, when he was younger, couldn’t seem to do much right in the eyes of the church. That all changed with a new pastor who called him by name!
Our names identify us and even define us. That was even more the case in Jesus’s day when your name really did express what kind of character or personality you had. There are many stories in the Bible of name changes and they are usually linked to a new mission, or direction or promise. Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, Jacob was changed to Israel, and Simon was changed to Peter.
Well, I was thinking about names the other night while at our LOGOS program. I saw two visitors, each whom I had met before but who didn’t know me well at all. The first was a high school student. I greeted her at dinner with, “Hi Julie! How are you?” She looked at me with huge eyes and asked, “How did you know my name?” I told her it was because she had been to LOGOS before! She still was pretty blown away! Then in the hallway I saw a fifth grader who had lived across the street from me a couple of years ago and I said, “Hey Laurie! Thanks for coming to Buddy Night! We wish you’d come every night to LOGOS!” She was just as surprised and opened right up to tell me about her evening. At the end of LOGOS she caught my eye and smiled and said, “Good bye!” How amazing it is to “do ministry” just by remembering and using names! It’s not always easy to do, but it does always make a difference.