“Spy” Considerations for Easter Sunday

Last year, I published on this blog, “Eight Confessions of Church Spies,” a summary report from the “spies” our church consulting team, the Lawless Group, has used over the years. As we approach the season of Resurrection Sunday—when guests are more abundant at our churches—perhaps these questions will help you consider what guests experience at your church. You might want to evaluate over the next two weeks so you are more prepared for Easter Sunday.

Review the available means to determine the location of the church and times for the church services:

  1. Does your church have a website?  If the church has no website, how would you learn about the church?
  2. If your church has a website, is it helpful?  User-friendly?  Does it provide the information you need to get to the church on time?
  3. What conclusions do you reach about the church based on its website? Does the website make you want to attend your church? 

Having driven to the church and entering the parking lot, consider these questions:

  1. Was it difficult to find the building?  Would a person naturally drive by this building, or must you be intentionally going to this building to find it?
  2. Based upon your first view of the buildings, what is your impression of the church?
  3. Is there a church sign?  If so, is it helpful?
  4. Is guest parking available?  If so, how is it marked? Are there signs directing you to any guest parking?
  5. Are there greeters in the parking lot?
  6. Is the parking lot adequate? Convenient to the main entrance?
  7. Is there a convenient passenger loading/unloading area? Is it covered for use in inclement weather?
  8. Is it easy to locate the main entrance? Do you immediately know where to go to enter for church services?

As you enter the church, consider these questions:

  1. Are there greeters at the door?
  2. What are your first impressions of the entry foyer? Is it inviting and warm? Is it cluttered?
  3. Is there a clearly marked, manned guest/welcome center?
  4. Is there adequate space in the foyer for people to talk and fellowship?
  5. Are there adequate signs to help you find your way throughout the building?
  6. Does anyone other than assigned greeters speak to you?

If you attend an on-campus small group, think about these questions:

  1. Are there greeters who help you get to the appropriate classroom?
  2. What is your first reaction to the education areas?
  3. Are there room identification signs?
  4. If you have children, is there a security/identification process in place to help identify your child/children?
  5. Do the classroom leaders secure needed information from you (e.g., name, address, allergies for children, your location in the building if needed in an emergency)?
  6. Do preschool and children’s rooms communicate a sense of security and warmth?
  7. After attending a small group, rate the experience on the basis of:
    • quality of the teaching, including attention to the Word
    • friendliness of the group
    • preparedness of the group (that is, were they ready to welcome and include a guest?)
  8. Would an unchurched person understand the teaching? the terms used?
  9. Would you attend a small group at this church again?

In the worship center, consider these questions:

  1. What are your first feelings and thoughts as you enter? Why?
  2. Does the worship space say anything to you about this congregation and its priorities?
  3. Is the worship space well maintained? clean?
  4. Does anyone greet you any time other than a recognized “greeting” time?
  5. If the church provides any documents (e.g., bulletin, worship guide, etc.), are the documents high quality? Do they facilitate worship for you in any way?
  6. Rate the overall experience on the basis of:
    • friendliness of the congregation
    • quality of the music
    • quality of the preaching, including clear attention to the Scriptures
    • clarity in instruction – did you know and understand what the church expected participants to do at all points in the service?
    • use of PowerPoint or other media to make announcements, outline sermon, etc.
  7. Would an unchurched person understand the teaching? the terms used?
  8. What one improvement would you suggest regarding the worship service?
  9. Do others greet you as you leave the building?


  1. What are your overall impressions of this church based on this visit?
  2. Would you return to visit this church? Why or why not?

What have you learned about your church? What other questions might you add?


  • Riley says:

    I have a favorable response in thinking through most of these questions, except for church location. We are on a dirt road 11 miles from the nearest town (pop. 200) between a pasture and a cornfield.

    • Jonathon says:

      People in rural areas know that they have to go somewhere specific if they want to get there.

      People in urban areas have the strange idea that where they want to go to will jump into the middle of the road,when they get there.

      So long as your church has a sign saying that it the church, people will know that they are at the right place. (I’ve walked past more than one church that had no signs on the property, that said it was a church. One of them still sported the sign from when it was a sporting house!)

  • Chuck Lawless says:

    That’s quite a challenge, Riley. Just prayed for your work.

  • We are in a 150 year old building smack in the middle of a small town. A building with no parking and no running water. Our toilet belongs on the set of “little house on the prairie”. So although I love this blog… sometimes I just can’t relate. I wish I could have the problems of signage…

    I am praying for brothers standing up and proclaiming the truth week in and week our.

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