Let a Church Secret Shopper Help You Get Ready for Christmas


As a church secret shopper or mystery worshiper consultant, I stay pretty busy in the Spring and Summer. I do some secret shoppers in the Fall, but a lot of churches get busy with all the Fall promotions and initiatives.

I understand this, I really do. However, the Fall is a crucial time to prepare for all the guests you will receive during the Christmas season, and especially if you have a Christmas Eve service. The pastors and executive pastors that have brought me in in the Fall in the past can vouch for the validity of this concept.

I have some openings for October and November, and early December. I’d like to fill these openings with great churches (of any size) around the country. I take what I do seriously and know how valuable my feedback and suggestions have been and are for churches that hire me.

So, what’s involved? Well, honestly, it’s not very time-consuming and won’t take you away from your Fall programs. Once you reach out to me and we agree this is something that you want to do (and I’m available), we make travel arrangements. This can be done by you, your admin, or a volunteer.

After the travel arrangements have been made, you just go on about your business. In very large churches, the Executive Pastor usually handles this and doesn’t even both the Senior Pastor with the details and the pastor doesn’t know until I introduce myself on that Sunday.

After I get back home, I’ll work on a report of my findings, which I’ll email the Senior Pastor or Executive Pastor (or the person that hired me) for he or she to look over. Once he or she sees it and doesn’t have any questions for me, he or she sets up a video conference with key leaders.

The video conference takes about an hour. After that, we’re done on my end (though I believe in long-term relationships and you can always reach out to me and ask me follow-up questions).

In the report and during our video conference, I will give you action items and next steps. I will point out things that I think could be done better and help you see the percentage of first-time guests that turn into second-time guests rise.

In the Fall, I really focus on immediate improvements that you can make and instruct your guest services or hospitality team on so that they make these changes before the Christmas season.

We all know how many guests will visit local churches during the holidays. Let me help you welcome them, so you can encourage them to return. Email me today to start the short and easy process.

*** On another note: My brand new book Secrets of a Secret Shopper comes out this month! Sign up for my newsletter here and follow my blog and this website for details on when my new book becomes available.


Digital Real Estate for Churches to Consider


You are all very aware of real estate when it comes to selling or buying a home or business. But what about buying things online? Do you own your name on all the social media channels and websites, whether it be your personal name or your church’s?

In 2009, I wrote a blog entitled “Digital Real Estate.” In it, I pointed to people like worship leader Matt Redman and pastor Rick Warren, as well as churches like Life.Church and Willow Creek – that had claimed their name on Twitter, but were not yet tweeting. They just wanted to reserve their name in case Twitter took off. It did and they started to tweet. This, my friends, is what I call Digital Real Estate.

Years ago, I had to wait for another Greg Atkinson to let his domain expire and then I jumped on it. I’ve been blogging at GregAtkinson.com ever since. I have my name (@GregAtkinson) on Twitter and Instagram.

I mentioned in 2009 that when Facebook started offering vanity names I was on vacation and missed grabbing my name by 2 days. On Facebook, my personal web address is www.facebook.com/greg.atkinson1, instead of www.facebook.com/gregatkinson. Another Greg Atkinson beat me to it!

Call me paranoid or egotistical, but I prefer words like intentional and strategic, which are used all throughout my writing.

In this blog post, I want to share with you something that has been on my mind for over two years now. And that is: You need to reserve your church’s name on the .church domain. You can purchase your church’s name here (if it’s still available).

I was consulting with a church in February of this year and told them to buy it and they didn’t. Now their name has been taken. I told another church to buy their church’s name on the .church domain about 2 years ago. They purchased their church’s name, but didn’t quite grasp the concept. Instead of getting Grace.church (I’m making up a name), they purchased GraceChurch.church. The “church” is redundant.

I see smart and wise churches around the country grabbing their church’s name on .church. I strongly suggest you do the same. Follow the example of Life.Church and so many others.

Allow me to tell you what I tell churches that I consult with (and if I’m wrong then I’m wrong, but if I’m right…). I tell church leaders and pastors that in the near future when people think of churches on the web, they will automatically associate the name of the church with the .church domain.

So, for example when I told a local church (Let’s say GraceChurch.org for example) that in the future when someone hears about your church from one of its congregants, they will say something like, “Cool. I’ll check you guys out online. It’s Grace.church, right?” “Right.”

Just trust me: As familiar as we are with .com and .org, it will be just as normal and familiar for .church.

BOTTOMLINE: Go today and grab your church’s name on the .church domain. What do you have to lose?

PLEASE NOTE: I am in no way affiliated with the .church domain, nor do I receive any payment for writing about this. My link for you to buy it goes to GoDaddy.com because that is who I personally use, but I really don’t care who you go through to purchase it.

This is about future-proofing your church, which I talk about a lot in my consulting. 

Here is what Life.Church and Willow Creek’s Twitter account looked like when I first wrote about this in 2009:

lifechurch2009 willowcreek2009

I think they have no regrets in reserving their “digital real estate.” Now go grab yours! Trust me.