Mystery Guest Program
Paper No. OCCG-015

Larry Wilson, Elder, Memorial Church of Christ, Houston

Download the PDF version HERE

Survey attached in PDF


A method for periodic reviews of your facility and public operations to try to maintain an ongoing friendly experience for visitors so that minor controllable factors do not hinder the spread of the Gospel.


Church of Christ

Mystery guest



Mystery Guest — A Sunday morning visitor from another congregation who is not known to your members and who is casually dressed.


A visitor from your local area has by definition indicated a potential interest in worshiping with your congregation. This is probably the best case scenario for a personal evangelism prospect. Literally a visitor has already shown an interest in your congregation. There are a number of factors which will contribute to or detract from their further consideration of your congregation. Some of these may seem trivial to a member who has attended the congregation 25 years and knows exactly where the restrooms are, but there are a number of issues which can be stress points for an intimidated visitor.

To implement the guest program from time to time volunteers will be recruited from various areas and will be asked to visit local congregations as a visitor, and submit an anonymous report to the congregation. When practical areas for improvement are noted, congregations can make improvements as a part of their personal evangelism program. Most of the changes will not be direct “personal evangelism.” However, we need to understand that all our activities and ministries impact personal evangelism. That being said, if you are receiving this paper, you do not need to wait for a “mystery guest.” Have one or more of your members do it for you. It is probably better for it to be a newer member and one not in the leadership, but most of the points are objective measurements and can be done by anyone. It would be interesting for several (if not all) of your members to fill out a mystery guest form as it will bring all our members to be a little more sensitive to what we need to be doing. The questions need to be filled out from a first time visitor’s point of view. For example, a quality paint icon on visitor’s parking space may seem good to your Buildings and Ground’s personnel, but the visitor may never find them. In that case it would mean that on entering the parking lot, high signs would indicate a visitor’s parking. From visitor’s parking, a sign should indicate front door or entrance if it is not obvious to a visitor. If you do not even have dedicated visitor parking, that can be a whole other problem. Other special considerations are that after years of changes, in some congregations few people actually enter the “front door.” Visitor signage should be appropriate to your situation. It is for sure we do not want some minor factor which we can impede our ability to spread the Gospel.

After a Mystery Guest fills out the questions, they should be e-mailed to [email protected] or mailed to OC Church Growth Institute, 19210 Cohen Green Lane, Houston, TX 77094 with your contact information. The form will be passed on to the congregation from the Institute without your contact information. If the congregation would like to speak to you afterwards, we will make you aware and it will be your choice whether to call them.

Reviewers: Paul VanderLinden, Memorial Church of Christ, Houston

The survey is attached to the PDF version of this article, available for download at the top of this page.