[Editor’s note: before you read the following post, please take notice of two things:
1. It was originally penned on April 1. (APRIL. FIRST.)
2. And if April 1 does nothing to jog your brain, you should definitely click the link at the bottom. No seriously. Please click it.
Okay, carry on.]
For years now, I’ve encouraged you to get an outside set of eyes when it comes to your church. Those of us on the inside tend to have classic tunnel vision: we are so familiar with our surroundings that we can’t see what needs to be fixed. As Andy Stanley says, “Time in erodes awareness of.”
That’s why I’m a big fan of secret shoppers, those people who come from the outside to inspect what’s going on inside. Secret shoppers view your church with new eyes, hear it with new ears, and experience it with a new sense of anticipation that you may have long since lost.
And believe it or not, there is no shortage of ways to find secret shoppers for your church. You can simply invite an unchurched friend. You can pay a stranger fifty bucks to show up and write a report. You can even hire church consultants to spend several days examining all of the nooks and crannies of your systems.
Or you can let The Summit help.
We’ve spent the last several months developing sQuad: Summit’s Secret Shopper Service. (Get it? S x 4 = sQuad? No? Moving on, then.) We’re taking the traditional secret shopper model and turning it on its head. Yes, we’ll observe the normal ebb and flow of things like parking, seating, and greeting, but we also recognize that today’s churches face new challenges and greater critiques than ever before. We want to go beyond the first level scenarios and catapult your team to be prepared for the discerning, disgruntled, and EGR (extra grace required) guests.
Here are a few scenarios where our team will best help your team:
- Website. We will scour your site for outdated information, irrelevant pages, or lame graphics. Then we’ll send a detailed list of grievances to the church secretary, who probably “doesn’t mess with technology all that much,” but still needs to know how to deal with frustrated info-seekers.
- Parking / Seating. Other consultants act as passive observers. We take it to the next level and let your team know that we’re not interested in parking or seating where we’re directed. This tiny act of aggression will help your volunteers think on their feet.
- Worship. Our trained sQuad is familiar with a variety of worship styles and backgrounds. If you’re worried that your worship leader is a little too regimented, we can bring out the tambourine to teach him the gift of flexibility. If the sound guy is slow with slide changes, we can angry-stare him into rapid submission.
- Sermon. Pastor preaches too long? We’ll walk out. Sermons aren’t deep enough? Our team will jot a helpful note on the bulletin. Spending too much time in the minor prophets? We can plant someone on the front row to “fall asleep” until he gets the hint.
- Communion. Even the best and most seasoned ushers can use some refresher training in dealing with hacking coughs on the communion bread, grape juice hoarders, and “accidental-but-catastrophic tray spillage.” We also offer scenarios for in-depth questioning on which elements may contain gluten.
- Offering. Be honest: how would your volunteer team deal with someone with sticky fingers? A guest who makes change in the offering plate? Someone who insists on paying with Bitcoins? By the time our sQuad is finished, they’ll have seen everything possible.
- Kids’ programming. Our service doesn’t just deal with adults…we bring our kids along as well. We will provide real-life and real-time scenarios to help your check-in teams know how to deal with children with horrible behavior, raging fevers, and an active stomach virus. (We do mean active.)
- Small groups. For an added fee, sQuad will pop in on your Sunday School classes or mid-week Small Groups. We will play the part of the person/couple who has tried out six small groups over the past seven weeks, “and this one is the last try.” We will also introduce long, rambling prayer requests about our cat’s upcoming surgery.
That is just the tip of the iceberg, but it gives you a great idea of how we can prepare your church to deal with even the most difficult guests. Interested in getting started? Want to find out more? Check out our sQuad site today!
Wanna continue the foolishness? Here’s a look at April Fools Days of yore…