I have always wanted to use a mystery guest, and it finally came true! I paid a young adult (in Thai food) to attend a church and fill out a survey (see below) about the experience. It opened my eyes about the benefits of having a mystery guest attend church. Here is why:
- Because it increases self-awareness.
After 23 years of working with churches of every size I have found that self-assessment only doesn’t work very well. We all have blind spots. The longer you’re at a congregation, the less you notice the imperfections, bad smells, and overtly quirky personalities that can drive people away. After a while deficiencies become normative and that’s not the best way to grow the kingdom. A mystery guest will provide a set of new eyes. Check out the reviews in the aforementioned church
Strong: Well-kept facilities, internet presence.
Growth: No one at the door greeting, no one sat by me all service. (Interesting because I was preaching about the importance of connecting with visitors, people said loud amens, and no one connected with the visitor they were saying amen about!)
- Because it can facilitate change:
It can help your case as a leader, as another voice pointing out areas of improvement as well as areas of strength. People in churches tend to be all or nothing many times. It’s either we are terrible or “nothing to see here everything is fine”. The assessment gives you areas to celebrate as well as confirmation where help is needed. Not everything can be fixed in a day, but several details can be fixed very quickly and that starts the momentum rolling the right way.
- Because it can help you track your improvements.
If I were to go back to a local church (believe me, it’s very much in my radar) I would have a mystery guest come twice a year, every year. It would be helpful to see how much we have grown in an area where a clear deficiency was present and what areas still need to markedly improve.
I’m a fan. Hope you can catch the bug.
Here are some resources that might be helpful:
Here is a sample form for a mystery guest. My thanks to Adam Flint for sending it to me.
Here is a company that does that sort of thing. Haven’t used it, would like some feedback if someone has: https://www.faithperceptions.com/MysteryGuestProgram.aspx
Here is a short version I created myself