“The (shepherd) calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out” (John 10:3).
The evangelist had held a revival in my church one year earlier, just before I arrived as the new pastor, and it had gone well. Since we had been seminary classmates and the congregation appreciated his ministry, I invited him to return a year later for a repeat engagement.
He walked in and began calling people by their first names.
I was floored.
I said, “James, how many meetings have you been in since you were here last year?” The answer was something like 36, as I recall.
I said, “Then how in the world can you remember the names of our members?”
“I work at it,” was all he said. (Looking back, I wish I had not let him off so easily but insisted on learning what he did.)
His words stuck with me. A few months later, I preached a revival in Edison, Georgia, in a congregation that ran 130 in the morning service. By the end of the week, I was calling all the people–every person in the building–by their first names.
Pastor Gene Brock said, “I wish I had your ability with names. How do you do this?”