“Stay Away If You Are Old" Church Tells Congregation Looking To Attract Young People

Yep, you read that correctly.

“A struggling Minnesota church is asking its older parishioners to leave in hopes of making it more attractive to young families.”


I guess this place believes that older people turn off younger people. Is this a religious tenet, or just personal ageism?

This is not an employment-related story, but (1) it is, at least to me, startling, and, moreover, (2) imagine if this happened in the workplace and older employees were told to stay away. Not legal, not good.

“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.”

MPR news noted that “church officials said the congregation needs a reset and the best way is to appeal to younger people.” The congregation hired a 30-year old “specialist in starting new churches” who said that “It’s a new thing with a new mission for a new target and a new culture.”

Holy moly!

A religious turnaround specialist – who uses the most blatant ageist shout outs — “new thing,” “new mission,” “new target,” and “new culture.” He forgot “high energy,” “cyber savvy,” “longer runway,” “fun loving” “party atmosphere” and “frat boys.”

But don’t fret, ol’ geezers won’t be “physically barred from attending.” But, said the young turnaround specialist, “the expectation is that they won’t” attend.

What a welcoming message!

Gee, won’t these long time worshippers feel the warmth of the congregation if/when if they show up. The door won’t be barred …


If you are a member of this congregation, God forbid that you get old!

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Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]