The ship of fools, have a section on their site where they send mystery worshippers, like mystery shoppers to churches sunday services.
I guess we all evaluate church services when we visit them, whether on a sunday or in the most fluid/liquid, non congregational place. In most of the reviews people are charitable, but the process still bothers me.
1. Focus: Why the focus on a sunday service. If we want to know about a church, why is the sunday service visit the place to let us know an asessment of the church? What about the larger life of the church visited? 2. Consuming: The connotations of the mystery worshipper are of the shopper, consuming a church service. Is that really how christians should approach finding a local church community? 3. Relevancy: And the focus is still on how much the church made me feel, was it relevant to me for the assessment.
I'd rather read a site that had mystery servants, people who went undercover to churches, to see what happened when they served, gave, prayed for people. But that takes a lot more effor than turning up and telling others whether we enjoyed it, and is at the heart of the western consumer obsession of church meetng my needs, rather than churches being places to engage in mission to others.