Church Growth by Kicking Out Old People

Cranach | 1/23/2020 | Staff
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A vital, growing church has lots of young families. A church in Minnesota wants to be that kind of congregation. So it is kicking out its current, long-term members who are over the age of 60.

Cottage Grove United Methodist Church in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, is trying this approach. The denomination has given them a $250,000 grant to hire a church growth consultant who is overseeing closing the old church and then re-opening it with new membership.

Members - Months - Time - Identity - Church

The older members must stay away for 15-18 months. After that time, they may apply to come back. They might be allowed to, provided that they accept the “youthful new identity” of the church.

To add insult to injury–or injury to insult–the banished old people are still being asked to support the church financially and to continue to help with the maintenance. “They want us to mow the lawn and shovel the snow,” complained one senior citizen. But they are not supposed to come into the sanctuary.

Bob - Shaw - Best - Path - Flock

From Bob Shaw, Best path to a younger flock? Church asks older members to worship elsewhere, Duluth News Tribune:

“Jesus said we are called to reach new people,” said [Rev. Dan] Wetterstrom [pastor of the dual parish of which Cottage Grove is a part].

Methodists - Annual - Conference - Church - Specialist

He said that Methodists’ regional Annual Conference is paying $250,000 to restart the church. They have hired a specialist in starting new churches — Jeremy Peters.

Peters, 30, has moved to Cottage Grove with his wife and two children. He is working with community groups, laying the groundwork for the relaunch, probably in November.

Thing - Mission - Target - Peters - Culture

“It’s a new thing with a new mission for a new target,” said Peters, “and a new culture.”

The older members will not be physically barred from attending, said Peters.


But the expectation is that they will not.

“We are asking them to let this happen,” said Wetterstrom. “For...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Cranach
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