What Church Leaders and Consultants Are Saying...
"The Mystery Guest Program was very thorough and we appreciate the hands on approach of the company’s employees. The onsite visit and final report exposed so much about our ministry and the potential for growth that a number of employees now have goals tied to implementing the recommendations this year. We truly believe that we are now on the right track, and it is because of the internal assessment as well as the external assessment through our participation of the Mystery Guest Program. As we continue to improve our ministry, we look forward to partnering with Faith Perceptions in other aspects." - Michelle S. Burney, Faith Chapel Christian Center, Birmingham, AL
“If we are serious about growing healthy churches, then we have to look at what outside visitors think and feel. Great leaders listen to voices outside their own systems. We have used Faith Perceptions from its inception and we find it to be important, valuable information that we just can’t gather on our own and expect it to be valid. The reports are particularly helpful in evaluating hospitality, worship and children’s ministry. I highly recommend Faith Perceptions to any church or denomination interested in reaching the unchurched.” - Bob Farr, Director of Congregational Excellence
“We began a relationship with Faith Perceptions a couple of years ago and it was an excellent decision. They have come alongside of us in our ministry to improve the quality of our hospitality towards guests. It’s been an eye-opening process and very beneficial. Besides the results, what sets them apart is their personal touch and genuine desire to help their clients become the very best they can be. I highly recommend using Faith Perceptions!" - Ron Watts, Senior Pastor LaCroix Church
“Before we started using Faith Perceptions, we did not fully understand what a visitor experienced during Sunday morning worship. As consultants charged with writing prescriptions for growth, we felt this was a real problem that we did not know how to overcome. The Faith Perceptions program has added greatly to our understanding of each church and it has helped us to be more effective. I highly recommend the Faith Perceptions program because it adds a key element to the consultation process and it allows churches to be outwardly focused on creating disciples for Christ.” - Dr. David P. Hyatt, Church Consultant
“A few of our churches in Missouri are taking an interesting step in their search for excellence in hospitality. They’ve contracted to receive in-depth evaluations through an extensive program of engagement with mystery visitors, using methods similar to retail’s ‘Secret Shoppers.’
Any Sunday in any congregation, persons may appear in our midst searching for community, for connection, for care, and for Christ. And as they leave our services and get into their cars to drive home, they will ask themselves, “What will I do about the experience I’ve just had?” How they answer that question will determine whether they return another Sunday, or never show up again. Every Sunday pastors and congregations face mystery visitors, and knowing this should motivate us to excellence and engagement. For the visitor, this Sunday is the only Sunday that counts, and we have to get it right. Are we ready for the mystery visitor?
For Jesus, how we treat the mystery visitor matters!”
Excerpts are taken from Bishop Robert Schnase’s Blog dated October 20, 2008. He is the Bishop for the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church. Read the full entry online at www.fivepractices.org.
“Renaissance Church is a new church start in an urban area of Kansas City that launched on October 2, 2011 with 170 adults in worship. During the first six months of planning to launch the new church we had done little marketing to get the word out about our existence and were averaging 15 people in weekly launch team meeting/bible study and 100 at outreach events. After 9 months, we hosted 375 people at our Easter outreach and worship experience. After 16 months, we launched with 170 adults and now are averaging 90-100 in weekly worship. As a church planter, I am confident that the expertise of the Faith Perceptions team was a significant contributor to launching well. The most helpful resource has been the weekly consultant meetings with Melanie, where we discussed best practices, strategy and execution of successful marketing tactics. Additionally, their designer, Tony has been great to work with. Our printed and online marketing materials fit our urban context well and the community has come to trust Renaissance through our consistent quality design. I look forward to continuing to work with Faith Perceptions as a marketing partner beyond our marketing grant. Thanks so much for your support!” – Pastor Lia McIntosh, Renaissance United Methodist Church
"When we discussed our recommendations for revitalization with the lay leadership of a small congregation recently, we could tell the people were particularly skeptical about the report by their questions, and facial expressions. We told them that every single mystery guest Faith Perceptions sent said they would not return (and why). We then began reading excerpts from the report, highlighting what had been said in each of the categories. It so happened that the thing they had questioned most had been documented by every single mystery guest multiple times as being a reason they would not return - all ages, all genders said the same thing.
It was like a tipping point for this group of people. Their conversation changed: they started talking about who would be leading the changes and how it should be done. They started talking about what they needed to do to grow again and ending up accepting our recommendations for growth which was significantly influenced by the mystery guest report." – Karen Powell, Church Coach for Indiana Conference UMC
"We really enjoyed working with Faith Perceptions. Everything was easy to understand and very clear on how the process would work. They were very responsive to any questions we had. When we set this up it was really "Fire and Forget." They really delivered on making it happen on time with great data. They are serious about the reports that they received from the mystery guests and if something looked out of place they will not hesitate to find another guest. They spent a lot of time going over the data with us and answering our questions. They were also receptive to our input and were honest about trying to make the reports even better. They are constantly looking to refine the data to make it the best it can be for churches. I really believe in their efforts, so much so that I've asked them to join me in presenting a workshop at an upcoming national conference so that other churches can take advantage of this service." – Ron Fischer, CPM, CCA Church Administrator, Covenant Presbyterian Church
"I have found the staff at Faith Perceptions to be extremely helpful. The insights of the Faith Perceptions staff, as well as the excellent service, have made them a trusted partner in the work to accomplish the mission of our Conference." – Steven Paul Clouse, Associate Director of Church Development, Indiana Conference UMC
"Flexible and professional are
words that describe our experience with Faith Perceptions. Our request was
somewhat different than their typical client so after an initial phone consultation
they responded with a plan that provided all of the information we desired at a
price we could afford. The reports generated are thorough and insightful and we
are confident their research will be a valuable tool in our upcoming campaign." - John Kyle, Director of Communications, Louisiana Baptist Convention
Testimonials From Our Mystery Guests...
"I have been a "mystery guest" for almost two years now for Faith Perceptions. I find it to be an exciting opportunity to help churches improve in the areas of hospitality and how they communicate to people outside of the church. In my travels as a mystery guest I have seen many churches and met several nice people. This program is beneficial in helping the churches find both strengths and weaknesses within their congregation and provides the church with a fresh outside perspective. I feel good knowing that I'm providing feedback to help them make changes so that new visitors feel welcome and return which ultimately increases their membership and attendance. I am privileged and honored to be a part of this process." - Luis C.
I look at my visits like little adventures. There is a chance to experience some communities I probably would not have otherwise. I've also met some very nice people. - Michael H.
Faith Perceptions makes it easy to schedule visits right on your computer. You pick the time and place. After visiting the church web site, completing the survey, and scanning the program (you can take a picture on your phone and email to yourself), a check is mailed directly to your home. Easy! Faith Perceptions keeps track of your visits so you don't duplicate them. Plus - have a question? They are quick to respond to any concerns or questions you might have. Faith Perceptions is very easy to work with, their web site is easy to navigate and of course I really enjoy seeing different churches and congregations. - Valerie F.
I have had the pleasure of visiting more than a dozen churches over the past two years for Faith Perceptions…I approached the task of completing each church survey as a great responsibility in helping that church reach its maximum potential in spreading God's Word to its people. - John H.
I joined Faith Perceptions just over a year ago and have been pleasantly surprised with the professionalism of this company. I honestly was a bit fearful when I decided to answer an ad that mentioned getting paid to attend church! However, that fear did not last! Faith Perceptions has given me, as a " Mystery Guest," an opportunity to travel to surrounding towns, to attend churches that I never would have, to meet some wonderful servants within these churches and then to get paid for doing this! Joining was easy, navigating the website is not difficult and applying for a service is just a 'click' away! My job is to give truthful answers to this company so that they can then help the [church] committee to be better prepared to meet the needs of those who attend their church. It is my responsibility to think through each question, carefully, so that my perception is conveyed through each answer. - Teresa K.
I have been a mystery guest for a few years now. I have really appreciated the experience because I get to meet a wide range of people. Being a mystery guest really allows me to see what I value in a church and even in people, in general. I really like being a mystery guest and I would highly recommend it to anyone else. - Skyler S.