Minnesota United Methodist Church Denies Trying to Push Our Older Members to Attract Younger People

A sign at the Grove United Methodist Church in Minnesota. | Screenshot: KARE11

Leaders of a Minnesota church accused of trying to get rid of older adult members from one of their campuses in order to attract a younger crowd say the allegations are not true and “everybody is welcome.”

“Everybody is welcome. Our hope is they’re not going anywhere. This is their church,” Lead Pastor Daniel Wetterstrom of the Grove United Methodist Church told KARE 11 of older adult members of the church’s Cottage Grove location, which has been struggling to attract members.

Wetterstrom explained that regular attendance at the Cottage Grove campus had been struggling with long-term viability with just 30 members. In consultation with other church leaders, a decision was taken to employ a strategy known as the “relaunch,” which had been used by other struggling Methodist churches in Minnesota with positive results.

“We, for over the past decade, have struggled,” Wetterstrom said. “Struggled to grow. Struggled to reach people.”

Under the relaunch, the Cottage Grove location is expected to close in June temporarily before reopening in December with a young new pastor named Jeremy Peters to help attract a younger crowd and create an intergenerational church.

That’s not the message longtime member and older adult Bill Gackstetter said he and other older members received. He said he and other members were asked to go worship at The Grove’s second Woodbury location, if they would like, for 15 to 18 months after the relaunch as the church transitioned to new leadership.

“It made me feel sick that they would treat other Methodists like that,” Gackstetter told KARE11.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair