Duluth, Minnesota - With churches struggling to attract new members these days, many denominations have begun trying new "creative" ways of recruiting visitors to their churches. Examples include various churches in one town offering "coupons" to church shoppers, a church holding a weekly "solid rock" concert to attract old rockers, and one church holding a "throwed communion" service. And recently the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Duluth joined the ranks of churches attracting new younger crowds through "creative outreach."
"We had been looking for ways to attract more youth" said pastor Røger Märrïs. "I began looking up things on the internet that kids were attracted to, and one thing in particular caught my eye - Scandinavian rock bands. It turns out lots of kids love these hard rock heavy metal bands. Well, all of them had one thing in common, they all had these awesome looking characters in their logos like slashed o's and umlauts. I saw that and I said, 'that's our answer right there.'"
Märrïs, immediately spoke with the church council about how the church could utilize this idea. The decision was made to start by changing the church sign.
"Changing the church sign was a good place to start because it was so easy" said council member Ëlïzäbëth Løwrëy. "We just added some dots here and there and a couple of slashes to make it look really serious."
The next decision that was made was that the pastor and other members of the church would alter their names to include the characters also.
"We felt to make things more genuine that some of us needed to change our names a little" said member Ålbërt Møønïë. "That way this new crowd would really be impressed with how hip we are here."
While many have been excited about the changes, the results have not been what they had hoped for.
"Unfortunately we really haven't attracted the young heavy metal crowd that we though we would get" said Märrïs. "What we have attracted is more Scandinavians, which we're really not equipped to minister to here since no one here speaks a Scandinavian language. Last week we had three couples show up from Finland, one from Sweden and a guy from Denmark, all thinking we were some kind of special Scandinavian church. When we told them what we were doing they didn't seem to understand."
"We're going to give it a little more time" said Møønïë. "What we might have to do is just better publish information about our Wørshïp Sërvïcë in the local newspaper or something.