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Discussion Forum : News and Current Events : CHURCH POLICE?

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Joined: 2006/5/22
Posts: 2670
Nottingham, England


Heard this item on the news and did a search for it. This is what I found.

Undercover Team Inspects Churches.

Churches across the Midlands are being checked by "mystery worshippers".

The 13, normally paid to inspect stores while posing as ordinary shoppers, report on issues such as sermons, music and the warmth of welcome.

They have been hired by the Heart of England Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE).

Five churches in Telford, Shropshire, have so far been rated by the mystery shoppers, none of whom are regular church-goers.

The idea of the visits on 13 January is to find out how people's needs can be better met by the churches in the region.

'Genuinely surprised'

Benita Hewitt, from the Christian Research Association which is organising the study, said: "Although the churches in Telford were given no advance warning, several scored more than 90%, with two achieving 100%.

"Most of our mystery worshippers were genuinely surprised by the warmth of their experience in church and some were even keen to go back for more."

Churches in Telford visited by the team were; St Mary and St Leonard, Wellington Methodist, Telford Christ the King, St Matthew Telford and Union Free Telford.

The CRE, which is described as the church equivalent of the Ideal Homes Exhibition, is sponsoring the pilot programme.

The exhibition will take place at Telford International Centre from 21 to 23 February 2008.

Steve Briars, CRE event director, said: "The project in Telford, and especially Mystery Worshipper in the Midlands on Sunday 13 January, will help us monitor where there are needs in churches."

Anglican Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Right Rev Alan Smith, has welcomed the research.

 2007/12/19 14:07Profile


I suspect this is a joke article from a website like, or some other satirical site.


 2007/12/19 14:11

Joined: 2007/6/14
Posts: 562
Indiana, US


Five churches in Telford, Shropshire, have so far been rated by the mystery shoppers, none of whom are regular church-goers.

are these people believers or not?? it doesn't really tell you whether they profess to be believers or not.

i guess my questions are...are they going to evaluate the annointing or power of God in the service? will they measure the unction through the preacher?

or will they just see how many programs the church has and how many felt-needs are met there?

those were my questions after reading this. i guess i don't understand that.

sorry for babbling.


 2007/12/19 14:32Profile


uhmmm... I'll say it again... I dont think this is a serious article. Before we spend much time discussing let's try and determine if this is even a serious article. There are joke news websites that write up things like this just for humor...

If it does turn out to be a joke, how dumb we will all look if we end up with 15 pages of discussion about this.

Enid... where did you find this?


 2007/12/19 14:47

Joined: 2006/11/10
Posts: 279
North Carolina, US


I thought it was onion-like also but:
BBC reports

 2007/12/19 15:01Profile


Well... I guess life is funnier than comedy some times!


 2007/12/19 15:15

Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


A "Mystery Shopper" program is a common way for companies to measure the quality of their customer experience. For instance a company like Coca-Cola will have a "Mystery Shopper" drive through all the fast-food chains in their territory to test how well the cashiers represent the Coke brand. If the cashier does a good job, the Mystery Shopper will disclose their real purpose and reward the cashier with a coupon/number to go online to a dedicated website and order prizes like t-shirts or portable electronics.

It makes sense that a large church organization would contract with mystery shopper agencies, as the trend is popular within the hospitality industry, which has many resemblances to some church denominations (or chains) these days. Many of these organizations consult with professional marketers to handle other aspects of their 'customer relationship management', and this is simply another tool in the CRM tool box.

I don't find this to be too controversial given the times we live in.


Mike Compton

 2007/12/19 15:57Profile

Joined: 2006/3/22
Posts: 963
Wheaton, IL


Heard of churches doing this in the United States way back in 2002ish time.

There's even an online athiest blogger who'd written a book evaluating and critiquing churches that he'd visited for that specific purpose.

Ian Smith

 2007/12/19 17:31Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7497


hmmmm, don't we'll do this (evaluate it in areas we deem important), consciencely or unconsciencely when we visit a church? (EDIT) So if we do it, it should not surprise us when someone else would figure out a way to do it and make money on it! (I tried to fiure out a way to limit the use of "it" in this sentence, but am either too lazy to think that hard or feel like I need to get on with the day!)

Have a blessed Christmas!


Sandra Miller

 2007/12/24 8:30Profile

Joined: 2004/10/16
Posts: 528


Blessings to you all as each of our families remember and celebrate the reason for our very being!!!


 2007/12/24 12:56Profile

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