A church near Duluth, Minnesota, has asked its elderly church members to please go worship somewhere else so that it can grow and attract a younger crowd.
“You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32).
As reported in local news outlets, the Grove United Methodist Church in Cottage Grove will close its doors in June and reopen in November in order to “rebrand” itself as a younger, hipper church. Older church members were told they wouldn’t be forced to go to church somewhere else, but it would be appreciated.
With 25 people in the congregation, the UMC congregation couldn’t afford to pay for a minister, so it switched to lay leadership in 2008, with its members bringing ‘a word’ each week. Although the congregation has stabilized in size, it wants to “reach new people.”
The UMC minister who put together the plan to rebrand the congregation, Dan Wetterstrom, said, “Jesus said we are called to reach new people.”
With 250 thousand from the UMC to rebrand the church, the leadership said, “It’s a new thing with a new mission for a new target and a new culture.”
Jeremy Peters, a church branding strategist, said, “The older members will not be physically barred from attending.”
He went on to say, “But the expectation is that they will not.”
Interestingly, there is only one family in the congregation with children, and they love having the older people around. Stella and John Knapp oppose the plan and Stella (34) indicated they would stop attending the church because they kicked out the elderly.
[Update: Ironically, the pastor kicking out the elderly is promoting inclusion of the LGBTQ. Apparently he has to make room for homosexuals]