If you’re interested in becoming a Mystery Worshipper, here’s some essential information. The aim of the project is to review worship services and give people an idea of what goes on in a wide variety of churches – and also to hold up a mirror to churches to let them see how they looked on a particular Sunday to a visitor from outside.
What do we look for in a Mystery Worshipper? Well, here are four of the most important qualities.
Observation – If you have an eye for detail, then you’ll be able to write a Mystery Worship report that people will enjoy reading. It’s capturing the incidental details that helps bring our reports to life: the limp handshake from the minister at the door; the shade of shocking pink that decorates the ceiling; the moment during communion which makes your spine tingle.
Objectivity – We have no hidden agenda. The members of our team come from a variety of different faith traditions, and their reports vary from the glowingly positive to the gloweringly negative. What we ideally look for are honest, searching and (above all) amusing reports which are critically aware of the good and bad aspects of worship as it actually happens.
Nerve – Visiting a church as a Mystery Worshipper can sometimes be nerve-wracking. As part of the mystique of the feature, we ask all our Mystery Worshippers to put a calling card into the plate or bag during the collection. This lets the church know that they have been visited, and it also gives them the Ship of Fools web address so that they can read about themselves.
A picture – We also ask Mystery Worshippers to take photos of the church they’re visiting. A simple exterior shot of the building is fine. Our worshippers mostly give us photos taken on their phone.
If you think you have these qualities and would like to apply to become a Mystery Worshipper, please visit our Apply to be a Mystery Worshipper page.