In John 10 our Lord Jesus is presented to us as The Good Shepherd. He is the One who cares for His sheep. We read in John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. A shepherd knows his sheep. He knows who they are. When sheep know that the shepherd knows them then the sheep will follow the shepherd.
So elders are called to be shepherds, in fact they are undershepherds of the sheep. And to be effective as a shepherd you need to know the sheep. A basic issue which is sometimes ignored as regards to knowing the sheep is quite simply to know their names. Every elder should strive to know the names of the sheep under his care. It is not good enough to say “I am not very good with names.” To fail to know the names of the sheep is a dereliction of duty.
When you are ministering in a multicultural location then the remembering of names is not an easy task. When you are faced with names which do not slot into your mental structure because they are totally new, then you have to make an extra effort to memorise them. The best thing, I suggest, is to get them down in writing as soon as possible.
It is also good to remember to pronounce names properly. This can mean a lot to people. “This person has bothered to learn my name” they conclude; “he must be interested in me”.
One of the best ways to remember names is to pray for the people by name. In doing so you are showing your care in the best way possible.
And finally, I reckon that this applies in all realms where people have a responsibility for others be that in the family or in the workplace or wherever.