This past Sunday our team at Grace Community partnered with Cross Point in Nashville and sent each other staff (with families) to be secret shoppers for the day. Of course we all kept it quiet and we showed up at each others campus to experience the environment as a guest. We have hired secret shoppers to come and visit our church before and give us feedback but this is the first time we partnered with another church to give feedback. We are working up our reports for each other but I think this idea is a great way for churches and ministries to get honest feedback on programing and really it cost us nothing but the time of each staff member (or volunteer if you choose that route). After going through the process here are a few things that make it work if you want to give it a try…
- Partner with a church you believe in. // This is a big deal…if you want feedback that is helpful partner with a church who has a shared mission and shared vales. It does no good to get feedback from people who already don’t believe in the mission, strategy, and structure of your church. Our churches can learn from each other because we respect and believe in each other.
- Partner with a church outside your city if possible. // You will get better feedback when you have people come from outside your city or ministry target. People in the same city might feel bad for comparing environments as they worship with your church. This process is not personal, it’s just simple evaluation and feedback.
- Make sure you bring a family. // It’s just as important to know how kids are experiencing worship as it is to know how your gathering for adults comes across. Most families will choose a church based on how their kids do in the kids programing. Make sure you are able to get feedback from that area as well as “big” church.
- Get there early so you can see every part of the environment and not be rushed. // Make sure you get there in time to not rush, to walk slowly, to ask questions.
- Participate, watch people, and take notes. // Make sure that you think critically and try to participate and worship at the same time. You are a guest for a few hours and not a staff member. Think like a guest!
Our family enjoyed the experience and my kids got dessert at lunch out of the deal at Noshville! Maybe partnering with another church to get feedback on your environment might be what you need. Give it a shot.