Are We a Friendly Church?

I don’t recall anyone ever saying he or she was a member of an unfriendly church. “Our church is really friendly,” most people tell me. And as an observer at some congregations, they are…to each other with their best friends in the congregation.

[bctt tweet=”Should we be concerned about whether others perceive our congregation as friendly or unfriendly?” username=”@JerrieWBarber”]

Our family served as Shoney’s and Captain D mystery shoppers for six years. We ate at the restaurants once a week and filled out a form, answering questions to report on the restaurant, staff, and food each week. As soon as we ate, we mailed the form to their headquarters to help them know how they were doing. They took our suggestions and made adjustments.

The restaurants wanted to know how they were viewed by their customers. Their problem wasn’t unhappy people who told them they were unhappy. Their problem was someone who received less than excellent service, never complained, and never returned.

Should We Learn If We’re Friendly?

  1. Do we really want to know?
  2. Who would we ask?
  3. What would we do if we learned we weren’t?

While in Houston recently, I had lunch with Benton Baugh. He shared with me a Mystery Guest program. It’s a way for churches to receive a visitor’s eye view of the congregation.

Some people have paid non-members to visit and complete a Mystery Guest survey. One friend gave a man a $10.00 Starbucks card before he attended and promised to meet him at Starbucks with another $10.00 card after the visit. Another brother paid a man $100.00 to attend a local congregation and give him the report. The man attended, liked it, and said he planned to return. He commented “This may be a new form of personal evangelism.  I can assure that MCOC is going to get at least a couple of mystery guests, but hopefully for $50 ea.”

[bctt tweet=”When the church gets suggestions to improve from visitors, they can be more sensitive about how they relate to those who come our way.” username=”@JerrieWBarber”]

To download the checklist, click on this link: Mystery Guest Program.

Benton also publishes The Christian Array: an e-magazine dedicated to sustained scriptural church growth in our generation. You can subscribe by clicking this link: The Array.

Benton and the OCTHINKTANK also provide:

  • Software to help shepherds shepherd and deacons deak.
  • Workshops to encourage church growth and evangelism.

To learn about these services, contact Benton:

Robert Burns wrote a humorous poem, To a Louse. Toward the end, he applies his observation:

O would some Power with vision teach us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notions: (To a Louse, by Robert Burns, modern English translation by Michael R. Burch).

One of the best ways I’ve seen to do this is the Mystery Guest approach.

Are We Friendly in Our Congregation?

  1. Do you know?
  2. Do you care?
  3. What will you do about it?

What have you seen to help us be more inviting to guests?


(Visited 554 times, 9 visits today)
Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

Please comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.