Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I have conducted mystery visitor, Sunday worship analysis at hundreds if not thousands of churches. This article by Aaron Wilson is based upon the research of the FaithPerceptions.com group, and an interview with their founder Melanie Smollen. Read the article to find great summation of what I found.
Basically I see there are repeatedly four “missteps” (Wilson class them “blind spots”) in churches, regardless of size, culture or polity. Here is a summation of each with my personal analysis followed by a link to Aaron’s excellent summation.
BLIND SPOT #1: FRIENDLINESS IS ENOUGH
Most churchgoers feel they’re friendly to visitors, because they’re friendly to the people they already know. But as a mystery visitor most Sundays of the year, I found that churches overlook and under engage guests. That is, unless a church is intentional in reaching out to guests and utilizing those people with the gift of hospitality, see 1 Peter 4:9, Rom. 12:9-13, 16:23, Acts 16:14-15, Heb. 13:1-2). Also see the chapter on spiritual gifts in my book Spiritual Waypoints (an overview can be found here: https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/spiritual-gifts-list-how-to-help-others-discover-their-ministry-calling-spiritualwaypointsbook/).
Usually a church leader will have an anecdotal experience about some guest that has been reached. And, I’m sure these are valid experiences. But they are just that, anecdotal and usually outliers. Therefore I agree with analysis number one.
For more read Aaron’s article and interview with Melanie Smollen here … https://factsandtrends.net/2018/08/17/the-4-biggest-blind-spots-of-churches/