Thursday, August 18, 2005 | |

Innovative Church Tip #47: Hire Worshippers

Worshipers for hire boost Sunday excitement

"Praise God!" he shouts, lifting his hands and prompting others to chime in with "amen" and "glory." His infectious enthusiasm is just what the pastor ordered. Kendall isn't a Christian, but he and hundreds of other people across the U.S. are getting paid as much as $12 an hour by temp placement agencies to pretend to be exuberant worshipers. "Praise decoy work is great," says one worshiper for hire who has lent his skills to more than 50 church services. He doesn't mind sitting through services, and considers the praise movements "good stretching exercise, like Tai Chi." In the past five years, the worshiper-for-hire industry has flourished as pastors try to goose the energy level in dwindling churches. Temp agencies train decoys to clap, laugh and make affirmative noises during the sermon. Most prized is the ability to appear authentically engaged, but not overly so." =)