I've always wanted, since starting Cobblestone Community Church, to achieve a worship experience that incorporated all five human senses. But, truth be told, we are a lotta sound, a lotta sight, occasional touch, and (on communion Sundays) occasional taste. But smell? Not so much. Which made this blog post from Scott Hodge of The Orchard all the more interesting to me:
What are you doing to create an environment that says to people, “We KNEW you were coming and we were EXPECTING you!”
At The Orchard, there are a handful of things that we consider to be non-negotiables when it comes to creating a great environment for our guests.... Here are a few of them:
GREAT MUSIC. When people walk into The Orchard, they’ll hear music. Everything from Coldplay to Matt Kearney to Hillsong United. The only rule we have is that it needs to be positive, upbeat and stylistically consistent with who we are.
GREAT SMELLS. There’s no reason that churches should smell like Ben-gay and mothballs. So we use Henri Bendel Scentports scattered throughout our auditorium using a scent called Firewood - which is a mix of birch, cedar, sandalwood with a slight hint of tobacco. This fits the wood-beamed architecture of our auditorium perfectly. (On a side note - please leave the flowery smelling potpourri at home. And DON’T spray Lysol before starting a service. That makes the room smell like someone just threw up minutes before people arrived.)
GREAT COFFEE. There is something incredibly disarming about walking into the auditorium with a latte or cappuccino in hand. Plus, one of the first things you'll notice when you walk through our front doors is the smell of coffee. It’s familiar, comforting and sends a huge signal to people that we understand coffee's place in our culture.
GREAT PEOPLE! I’m convinced that we have THE MOST welcoming church in our community. I’m serious! And that’s due, in large part, to our Welcome Teams - who are intentional about making sure that people have a great experience when they walk through the doors at The Orchard. They greet people authentically.... They walk people to their destination (instead of POINTING).... They help people find seats when they walk into the auditorium... They do WHATEVER is needed. They are a HUGE part of creating a great environment on our weekends.
I can honestly say we have all those pieces at Cobblestone, except "great smells." We did something once with smell and unfortunately whatever we used (I can't remember) irritated some saints who have a sensitivity to fragrances of some kind or another. But particularly since we worship in "The Loft," I think a few well-placed "Firewood" scentports would be fun to try.