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  QuikStory Logo l
The adults have seen that they
aren't the only ones who can do
outreach or who really care.
Braden Gogel, church youth group member
CHURCH (click link for website)
  Santa Claus United Methodist Church  
  LOCATION (click link for demographic summary)  
  Santa Claus, IN 47579  
  REGIONAL BODY (click link for website)  
  South Indiana Conference UMC  
  FEATURED RESOURCE (click link to learn more)  
  Ministry Area Profile  
  FULL STORY (click link to
  Reconstructing Santa  
Congregation plans to relocate from 125 year old church building
Pastor used Ministry Area Profile to help identify needed ministries and location for new building
Youth group committed to discipleship, service and outreach
Congregation committed to youth group, each other and making disciples
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l Reconstructing Santa l
After an army of termites destroys a 154-year old Methodist church, the congregation regroups and goes on the offensive—banding together as one unit with a revitalized youth group leading the charge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Jesus. And He's alive and well and living in Santa Claus, Indiana. As to the 350+ members of Santa Claus United Methodist Church, they can tell you firsthand what happens when the Spirit moves you—quite literally. Call it a modern version of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites and all the other biblical "ites" that plagued God's people for centuries—in the case of Santa Claus UMC, it was the Termites that the Almighty would use, not only to help push the congregation out the door, but to rethink the way they do ministry.

Because of the massive damage caused by the termites, Reverend David Blystone, pastor of SCUMC for just over two years, was forced to begin the planning process for vacating the century-and-a-half old building. It was during that period when he received the church's demographic report (Ministry Area Profile). The timing couldn't have been better: Santa Claus was experiencing a mid-life crisis. While the area surrounding their church was experiencing significant growth, the church itself was growing even faster (partly because they were one of only a few Protestant churches in town). After five years of going back and forth on whether they should move or simply remodel, the Orkin man made the decision for them. With or without the termites, one fact had become increasingly obvious: Santa Claus needed a larger base of operations. What was not as evident was where they should build their new church facility and what ministries they would need to develop.

One important ministry, the SCUMC youth group, had already begun making its mark—not just within the church, but in the community as well. "When we began to think of how we could live out our faith in our community, well it was the youth that grabbed hold of it first, saying 'Yes, we're going to do that!'" says Santa Claus's pastor, Reverend David Blystone." And they did. Suddenly their faith at school was no longer being hidden. . ." -Jenni Keast
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