Minnesota Church Tells Elders to Stay Home so They Can Attract the Younger Crowd

Many churches around the country struggle with the same thing: attracting the younger generations. One small Methodist church in Minnesota is taking a unique approach that has its older parishioners feeling as though they’re being kicked out.

Grove United Methodist Church, located in Cottage Grove, has closed for the summer with plans to relaunch again in November. The church is only averaging about 29 attendees for every service. In a quest to appeal to younger members, leaders have asked older members to stay away from the church for at least the first year and a half after the church reopens its doors.

Most of the attendees that show up to every service are over the age of 60. Since there has been stagnant church growth within a growing community, leadership has taken a radical approach in order to achieve a younger membership base.

One of the first things that the church did was to hire Jeremy Peters, a church planting specialist. He will be the one leading the “reset” of the church. He plans to work with various community groups as a way of laying the foundation for the relaunch.

The specialist also believes that it’s important for older members to find somewhere else to worship for a while. According to Pioneer Press, older members were told not to return for at least 15 to 18 months on the reopening of the Methodist Church. Once that timeframe has passed, the elderly members can migrate, but only after connecting with Peters to discuss how the transition will take place.

Perhaps the worst part about it is that the church doesn’t want to lose what the older members have to offer. William Gackstetter told the press that the church leadership still expects financial contributions while also having the older members maintain the property. This led Gackstetter to call the plan “evil.” He doesn’t know why anyone would do that and that the whole plan makes him sick. His wife, Cheryl, agrees, stating that the church is discriminating against them because of their age.

The plan was explained to the congregation on January 5 by a visiting pastor. Cheryl Gackstetter called the pastor a hypocrite and that he was kicking them out of their own church.

What happens if older members decide to attend Growth United anyway? While they won’t be physically prevented from entering the church, they are strongly suggested to stay away. Rev. Dan Wetterstrom said that they are asking the older members to “let this happen.” They don’t want to have the core group of 30 individuals, which somehow, they consider would be damaging to inviting younger crowds.

The last thing that the church needs is bad press. After all, how can they possibly grow their congregation when they’re being accused of ageism? However, that doesn’t stop the Reverend from making the less-than-thrilling proposal that they can go to Woodbury, which is another Grove United Church that is located nearby.

The Reverend doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with asking a core group of older individuals to stop going to the church that they have been a part of for so long. Those individuals have volunteered at the church and financially supported it. And now, they’re being shunned as a way of making room for younger believers, though only in physical presence. The church still wants their money.

Other churches around the country have dealt with stagnant growth, too. They’ve had elderly populations consume their churches. However, they haven’t kicked the elderly out. Instead, they appeal to the community, hire a youth pastor, and invite families. They still hold onto their elderly population because they know that church is about community. Those who are 60+ often don’t like change. They don’t want to find another church to go to “temporarily” – and they shouldn’t have to.

If Grove United Methodist Church thought that appealing to the younger crowd would be easy with this new plan of theirs, they’re sadly mistaken. The older congregation didn’t follow orders as easily as expected. They’re angry and they have every right to be. They went to the press to make sure that the whole community knew what they were doing. Now, the church may be spending money on renovations for nothing. They may not be able to attract the younger crowds they’re hoping to because of the bad press and it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to lure the older ones back because of how poorly they were treated.


359 thoughts on “Minnesota Church Tells Elders to Stay Home so They Can Attract the Younger Crowd”

  1. How Truly Stupid, especially expecting the people that are told to stay away, to continue paying financial obligations, and to continue helping maintain the church!

    This is why so many people have stopped going to church!

    1. There is a huge problem with your theory. It is the younger crowd 40s on down who are paying the Bill’s doing most of the volunteering all while the old wish to maintain the status quo. = Old Hymems Permitting no Christian Rock or pop style music. If a church wants to grow the church must reach the youth. An you will not . If the church body resemble the old attitudes that children are to be seen an not heard.

    2. I wowuld be very suspicious of the motives of this Organization that is fronting this movement.
      The youth of this Country are being fed an enormous amount of LIES and MISINFORMATION and the Liberals are directly behind every word of it.
      This is actually a very sad story….and seeing where it originates also makes one wonder how much of it is MUSLIM inspired…..Sad, very sad. Christ is appalled!

    3. I would suggest that the church fast, pray, do evangelistic outreach, make sure they are teaching and preaching the Bible, helping young and old learn to apply the teaching of the Bible to their lives and circumstances, living according to biblical principles, reaching out to the needy, loving each other as Christ loves them. Those things make a church grow.

  2. An example of churchianity with a pastor considering “his” church to be the building rather than the community of believers… If he concentrated on the members, the church would grow. Since his concentration is on “his” church, it will, and deserves to, die.

    1. If a church isn’t growing then the pastor isn’t preaching the word or is doing something wrong! It’s not the pastor that grows the church it’s he’s not teaching the word! If he tells some to stay home, it’s bound to fail. The pastor is trying HIS way to grow the church, he needs God to build a church. He better stay home and let God do it! He’s trying to pull the wagon with the horses tied behind. Makes no sense! His church will never grow, and young people need the elders to learn, not a pastor that leaves God out of it!

    1. I agree! There are many “other” solutions without expelling the seniors. They deserve more respect than this and I believe we have to ask ourselves, “What Would Jesus Do?” I am positive this would not be it…on the other hand we should not stand in the way or be an obstacle to the younger generations by demanding the way we conduct church to be attractive only to the seniors. For example: we need to “Sing a New Song” to the Lord – sometimes we may not like the style of the singing, but the words need to be Scriptural. We should be able to enjoy a combination of Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual Songs, as the Bible states. A blend of the old and new is the ultimate. We need to show respect for the younger generations, but also need to respect our seniors. Perhaps 2 worship styles would be welcome…have one traditional and one contemporary worship service in case this is a problem. But there is always a better way to grow a church without excluding any one age.

    2. Actually we are in trouble because of this thing called a church,have you ever read the scriptures that came down in Hebrew,two things you will not find in the Hebrew scripture,is first, a thing called a church second you will not find the word Christianity,the reason is because Christianity was created under Constantine in the late third and early forth century,what Yeshua left was a community of believers,not a church,its was when the church of Rome started controlling its people and for bidding them to follow the scriptures that we ended up with the mess we have today called religion.

  3. This is one “church” that should be left to die… The church is the parishioners, not the building. You don’t need a building to worship or pray. The building (and the preacher) needs the parishioners to pay bills and salaries. I hope Jeremy Peters got his fees up front, as I predict that there won’t be many funds available to him, shortly.

  4. This is unbelievable that God would want to discriminate against the elderly. So those over 60 need to attend another church for a year or more and still contribute financially? During that time I believe they would all find a welcoming church and pastor. In the meantime this so called pastor can pay the bills on his own and welcome the young. Does he not know that the people are the church? It’s possible to have a couple services , one traditional and another with more up to date music ,etc. However, this pastor should look at his homilies or sermons and see how he is preaching the Word of God. We need to honor our elderly and make changes that are with the times but not exclude anyone from attending church. I would check out where this Pastor did his theology education.

  5. Yeh, those new young visitors are going to pay the bills and maintain the property. What a foolish idea. I have belonged to churches that were a lot of older members and they were asked if they would rather try to recruit younger members or have another church built nearby that would try to recruit a younger congregation. The older members were ALWAYS anxious to open their church to younger people and worked hard to do just that. As an older person, I would certainly NEVER step foot in that church again and, unfortunately, it would be hard for me to ever enter a UMC again. So many church leaders have lost their way. Many believe that if they take ALL signs of religion out of the church – no crosses, no bibles, make the sanctuary look like a theater – more people will join their new and improved “church”. Hogwash.

  6. I think we are coming to the end of the world . God must be looking down on us and wondering what is happening.
    I sure hope GOD help all of us, because we are in pile of _____.

    1. Judi,No Yahweh is not looking down and wondering what is happening,He knows what is happening,its called religion rather than a personal relationship with him,that can only happen on a one on one encounter with our creator,it can not happen through a church or pastor,we come to know him through his word and by his spirit in us,He is to be our teacher and instructor as we study the scriptures,so religion is needed here,the church has nothing you need or should want,sense most of their doctrine is man made religious tradition,such as Christmas,easter and other forbidden holidays,most of them are after your money,and an easy work free life,for you see they are professionals at what they do,they will sell you all of the salvation you need,if you allow them to,of course you may not like the out come at the end of your life.

  7. After the 15 to 18 months rejuvenation I sadly predict this Chapel will convert to a Bingo Hall or such-like. We have witnessed this many times over the years in England – old-fashioned as Common-Sense is perceived, outright stupidity becomes the rage it seems.
    Happy New Year of the Mouse ( or Rat if you prefer ).

  8. I am so sorry to hear about this situation. It is hard to believe that my Lord and Savior would approve of Telling the elderly “We want your money but not you”. Hard to believe the Methodist has wandered so far from their founding fathers teachings.


  9. I precisely wished to thank you so much again. I do not know what I would have used in the absence
    of the actual points shown by you regarding that area.

    It absolutely was a real traumatic difficulty in my opinion, nevertheless taking a look at your well-written technique you treated it made me to weep over
    contentment. Now i am grateful for this guidance and then hope that
    you are aware of a powerful job you have been putting in training some other people with the aid
    of your web page. Probably you have never come across all of us.

  10. I can relate to the older generation at that church. The church I attend curtailed a beautiful song I’d heard on a Christian radio station that I wanted to sing around easter last year. Pastor said it sounded appropriate but the music director after listening to it said it didn’t fit into the program. Things like this are one reason that people get disillusioned about going to church. The old standard songs are great but I think that the introduction of more modern songs can liven up as well as bring in younger people. Most that go to my church are all over 60 years of age with some that do bring in the grandchildren when the youngsters come to visit. We are lucky to have 30 attendees every Sunday. I myself have visited another church were they have a more upbeat message and modern songs that any one can hear on a christian radio.

    1. Simply wish to say your article is as surprising. The clarity in your post is just great and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

  11. como ganhar na lotofacil, acertar na lotofacil, ganhar na lotofacil, como ganhar na lotofacil de verdade, como ganhar na lotofacil sempre, como ganhar na lotofacil 2020, como ganhar na lotofacil 100 garantido, dicas lotofacil, como acertar na lotofacil, dicas para ganhar na lotofacil

  12. Its such as you learn my thoughts! You appear to understand so much approximately this, such as you wrote the book in it or something. I feel that you simply could do with some percent to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is great blog. A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.|

  13. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100 certain. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you|

  14. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  15. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

  16. Wonderful work. That is the kind of information that are meant to be shared across the net. Disgrace on the search engines for no longer positioning this post higher. Come on over and consult with my web site . Thanks.

  17. Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any helpful hints for rookie blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.|

  18. What you published was actually very logical. But, what about this? what if you were to write a awesome post title? I ain’t suggesting your content is not good., but what if you added a headline that makes people want more? I mean BLOG_TITLE is a little vanilla. You should glance at Yahoo’s front page and watch how they write news headlines to get viewers to open the links. You might add a related video or a related pic or two to get people excited about everything’ve got to say. In my opinion, it might make your posts a little livelier.|

  19. I like what you guys are up too. Such smart work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my web site 🙂

  20. Si estás corto de dinero, Phil, definitivamente te recomendaría tomar la cuenta gratuita de inicio primero. Recibirás un montón de tutoriales junto con dos sitios web gratuitos (¡además de todas las herramientas del oficio!). No hay nada que perder realmente – salta directamente! Empecé a ganar dinero en 6 semanas pero fue un trabajo muy, muy duro. Cuanto más trabajo pongas, más rápido verás los resultados 🙂

  21. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all people you really recognise what you’re speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Please additionally seek advice from my website =). We could have a link change contract between us|

  22. It is the best time to make a few plans for the long run and it is time to be happy. I have read this submit and if I may just I desire to counsel you some attention-grabbing things or advice. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read more things approximately it!|

    1. I think this is one of the most vital info for me. And i am glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The website style is wonderful, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers|

    1. Hello! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My website discusses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Wonderful blog by the way!

    1. We stumbled over here from a different page and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking at your web page yet again.

  23. Hey there, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, terrific blog!|

  24. Supongo que todos necesitamos conocer mejor a nuestros clientes. Siempre he luchado con esto, sabiendo el tipo de audiencia a la que apuntar para mis sitios web. Esto no es fácil, pero necesita ser investigado.He tenido sitios web que ganaron muchos visitantes pero no pude convertirlos. Obviamente eran los clientes equivocados para lo que estaba promocionando. Acabo de ver el video que dura más de una hora, pero vale la pena.

    1. Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and in depth information you present. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed information. Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  25. Thank you, I have recently been looking for info approximately this topic for ages and yours is the best I have discovered till now. But, what about the bottom line? Are you positive in regards to the source?

    1. hey there and thank you for your info – I’ve certainly picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise some technical issues using this web site, since I experienced to reload the web site many times previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will very frequently affect your placement in google and can damage your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of your respective exciting content. Make sure you update this again very soon.

  26. Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if
    you get a lot of spam feedback? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can recommend?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any support is very much

    1. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very difficult to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and visual appeal. I must say you have done a amazing job with this. Also, the blog loads super quick for me on Opera. Superb Blog!

  27. I have learn a few just right stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot attempt you place to make any such magnificent informative web site.

  28. I have read some just right stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you set to make this type of excellent informative web site.

  29. 1.I don’t know what Cersei will do but this season has set Jamie up as a smart general, so some one Team Breathing could really use. Jamie has lost everything – children, secret of incest – he pushed Bran off the tower to protect. Except his affair with Cersei. When he loses that, his true redemption can begin. Brienne will be there to help him make the right choice.2. Nothing good. I hope Ed, Beric & Tormund survive. 3. A Marriage might convince people JS & Danny have a strong alliance. /span>Quote Reply

  30. We stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought Ishould check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you.Look forward to going over your web page for a second time.

  31. Thanks so much for giving everyone a very superb opportunity to read in detail from this web site. It really is very brilliant and as well , packed with a good time for me and my office co-workers to visit your site at the least three times per week to read the newest guidance you have got. Of course, I am actually contented concerning the astounding concepts served by you. Selected 3 tips in this posting are indeed the most efficient we have all had.

  32. My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

Leave a Reply to http://globalelist.com/ Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *