Anyone go to church yesterday and notice a strange face in the crowd? Maybe it was a “secret worshipper” paid to evaluate your church, pastor and congregation.
Yes, The Wall Street Journal reported on a new kind of communicator—the church consultant. Like mystery shoppers at department stores or mystery diners at restaurants, these unknown worshippers evaluate everything from the church’s cleanliness to the pastor’s sermon and warmth of the congregation.
In the story, WSJ featured Thomas Harrison, a former pastor, who opened his own consulting firm in 2005, Media Embassy, to help churches “polish their media and public-relations skills.”
“In an increasingly diverse and fluid religious landscape,” WSJ said, “churches competing for souls are turning to corporate marketing strategies such as focus groups, customer-satisfaction surveys and product giveaways.”
Sound familiar, kind of like your job?
Of course, the flip side, which WSJ touches upon, is what certain theologians call “spiritual consumerism.” Grading churches for superficial reasons might lead worshippers to congregations for the wrong reasons, the story said.
The story also discussed measurement. Apparently every church that’s used one of the six or so church consulting firms has seen an increase in congregants. But, really, aren’t the measurement criteria two-fold—physical and metaphysical? Sure you’re getting them in the door, but what about saving their souls?
I’m dying to see those results.
(The video is audio only.)