I don’t know how this adds up. So this Minnesota church is struggling with declining membership — only about 25 people show up each week, and most of them are elderly — so what they’ve decided to do is tell all those old people to stay home or go to a different church so … they … can … increase the numbers of … young people?
Grove United Methodist Church in the St. Paul suburb of Cottage Grove is closing in June, with plans to relaunch in November. The present members, most of them over 60 years old, will be invited to worship elsewhere, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. The church is asking that they stay away for two years, then consult the pastor about reapplying.
There’s some funky logic going on here. They must have additional plans to reinvigorate the church, other than telling the old folks to stay away, unless they think somehow that older people actively repel the youth. But if they’ve got some dynamic plan to draw in more, younger members, why do they need to kick out the loyal congregation? And do they seriously think the ejected members will want to come back in two years?
They’ve got some new guy coming in as pastor, and I’d really like to know what magic he plans to work to get new people to join the church that just kicked out Grandma and Grandpa. Other Methodist churches are undergoing this peculiar division of their congregations, and it’s associated with deep splits over the inclusion of LGBTQ members. I wonder if that’s the unstated and unreported rationale for showing the membership the door.