Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mystery Worshippers?

Tonight, I got in a conversation with a friend about church. Apparently, he’s not too keen on the idea of attending church. Mostly because he feels like it’s too many times treated like a business transaction. Of course, my defensive walls come up. But I have to agree with him. For the most part, he’s right. We talked about churches using gimmicks to get people to attend, marketing techniques, and how sometimes Christians can be the most un-Christ-like people around. And sadly, I can’t argue. I can only hope that I’m different. That my friends are different. That my church is different.

Then, he sent me this article from today’s Tennessean.

The person sitting next to you in church today may look like an average visitor, but be careful, he might be taking notes.

A growing number of churches are using mystery worshippers, consultants giving congregations the same kind of unbiased, unfiltered feedback that secret shoppers give retail stores or restaurants. The mystery worshippers give churches the kind of honest responses that newcomers almost never do. From angry parking lot attendants to boring sermons, they let the churches know what they are doing right and wrong.

click here for the rest.

I think sometimes we worry too much about impressing people. Instead of letting the word of God speak to their hearts. Instead of letting the music soak their soul. Instead, we offer distractions.

I was reminded this summer in the Dominican Republic that the place we worship and the manner in which we do it are not the most important. I had an amazing experience in an unfinished church with cement walls, dirt floors, in a language I couldn’t understand. But God was just as present.

I don’t think that the secret shoppers are necessary if the church is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. If we are welcoming visitors, if we are showing the love of Christ, if we are being the hands and feet, then it seems unnecessary.

But on the other hand, if there are churches that are not doing such a good job in these areas, then I guess it’s good that they’re seeking help.


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