Mystery visitors – none of whom attended church normally – were sent to 70 congregations across the country. Around 90% said the church they visited had a tangible sense of community. Over three quarters said they would be back. And over half said they felt comfortable, involved and genuinely welcome.
Churches were secretly judged on everything from the comfort of seats and volume of worship to the building’s appearance.
Some visitors expected church would be dull, boring and dark, and that the sermon would not speak to them. However the reality confounded their expectations.
One couple prepared themselves for a ‘stuffy’ experience. ‘We thought it was going to be a hard slog,’ they said, ‘but it wasn’t at all. We loved it, and are thinking of going back.’
(Reported in the Bible Society’s ‘Word in Action’. )