Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Secret Worship

I heard the craziest thing this morning on the radio. You know how there are jobs out there called "Secret Shoppers"? Their job is to go into stores & look at things from a buyers perspective but they also have a check list of things to look over. Like, were products easy to find - was the customer service helpful - was the store clean....that sort of thing.

Apparently, churches are now spending thousands to send in "Secret Worshippers"....huh? Its sort of the same concept. Someone comes in with a check list of sorts & see how a church functions. Especially a new person visiting. The facts showed that visitors look more at why they WOULDN'T come back to a church instead of why they WOULD - so that's why this was set up.

The secret worshippers look at the length of a message, the worship music, how easily accessible the entrances are, can they find the rest rooms, are Sunday School rooms easily marked, is Child care available - just every little thing - its inspected.

But is this a good thing? Granted - it would be nice to find out areas that need to be worked on in a church that may be keeping people from returning - but it's just a little scary to me to think that other things get focused on more than the message that is heard. If you start nit-picking (or in my world KNIT-picking) at every little thing - you're NEVER going to make everyone happy - & then is your focus going to be off the main thing - GOD? Delivering a message that hits home & to the heart? But if no one is coming to your church, who do you deliver a message to? I guess its a fine line that a church has to tread.

So, be on the watch - if you see anyone with a clip board walking in your church....maybe you are being hit by the "Secret Worshipper"!!!!! What a crazy world we live in!


  1. Okay... so... churches will pay people to come in, listen to sermons etc, and then tell them where they need to step it up??? They could save money... just establish a church board! Shhhh!

  2. Wow, what a spirit crusher.

  3. Are you kidding me?

    I was a Secret Shopper for a couple of years, and the questions were pretty cut-and-dried.

    However, there were certainly times when my jobs were subjective, which is what this evaluation of churches would be.

    You cannot measure a church's worth based on the length of a sermon or the number of worship songs sung. What are they going to do...count the number of people moved to tears?

    Sorry, but this just riles me up.

    You can't measure quantitatively measure relationship, which is what Christianity is...relationship between the sinner and Savior.


  4. I'm with auburnchick - I'm feeling all riled up at the mere thought of this idea.

  5. I am not opposed to using things to make the church relevant, visually appealing, technologically up to date, etc. but I feel like there is a danger in approaching it in this way of "secret worship."

    Leaning on secular marketing stategies in this way is a good way to put your focus on "the end" as opposed to "means to get to the end." (Like getting the cart before the horse-kind of)

    The scripture that comes to mind is Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

  6. I agree, Jennifer. It's like my pastor says, "When did church start becoming about us and what we want rather than God and what he wants?..."
    On the surface it seems like a good idea for people looking for a new church, or is it just finding excuse for not going to church?
    It's like my pastor says, "When did church start becoming about us and what we want rather than God and what he wants?..."

  7. I'm a pastor that now helps churches to better represent the Lord that they serve. In other words, "I consult churches".

    Part of what I do involves being that "secret worshiper"...but not only that.

    In my evaluation I don't care about the length of the sermon, but the facility and worship music can be an issue. Too many good preachers and their sermons are not never heard due to other things that turn people off like buildings that are not kept up or music that doesn't appear as if the team put anytime of preparation into it before hand.

    One of the most important things in a church is how open and friendly people are to strangers. BTW...most church get a C - on that in my book.

    Along with my evaluation, I also stay and assist the leaders of the church to improve and most of what I focus attention on is SPIRITUAL GROWTH, which affects everything else in the church.

    When I pastored my churches for over 30 years, I always asked friends to come to our service and then give me their honest opinion. This was extremely helpful in order to put our best foot forward for the glory of God. the way...."I don't charge for doing this".


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