by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director
What is that smell?
Walking into churches across the country, I am struck by three things:
- hospitality of the people
- hospitality of the building
- hospitality of the experience
Oddly enough, all three are impacted by what I can only call: The Church Smell.
You are probably used to or may even like the smell of your church. Most people don’t realize how the smell of their own home gives them the “I belong here” feeling. It’s that feeling that can make us immune to the smell of places we love, like our church buildings.
This is not true if you are new to the place. Smells hit me like a shock wave when I enter these sacred spaces.
Friends, the smells in our church are often, well, let me just say it: stinky.
But the good news is that we can detox our churches. Let’s not wait; I say act now and act fast!
Do the Sniff Test:
- Ask 5 people of different ages who have never been in your church before how it smells.
- Like nothing at all
- Like a place you can relax and want to stay
- Like yesterday’s meal
- Like mold and way overdue for deep cleaning
- Like you just want to leave
Do this test in the sanctuary, fellowship hall and education spaces.
- Talk about smells: Ask them what they expected the buildings to smell like, what they wish they smelled like and what bothered them the most.
- Take care of business. Make a detox plan to rid your building of stink. Is it the carpet? The ancient banners? The pews (no pun intended)? Or is it something harder to manage like mold or rot?
You may be smiling right now, as I am while writing this, but that is only because we both know…
This is true. And it matters.