Here and There: SHAPE Happenings Across North America
- The first Missouri SHAPE Retreat was held March 11–12 at the Tan-Tar-A Resort on the Lake of the Ozarks. Twenty-four pastors gathered for fellowship, inspiration, sharing stories of their SHAPE journey, and refocusing for the months ahead. In recognizing the challenges that face SHAPE clusters in light of the transiency of pastors, a plan was initiated to incorporate new cluster participants into existing SHAPE clusters. This retreat was an opportunity to bring together first cohort participants from each of the original clusters and to introduce new cluster members to the SHAPE experience. Guidelines were established to help clusters implement the transition process. Those guidelines will be shared in this newsletter later this year. Thirty-two Missouri pastors are currently involved in SHAPE.
- The fourth SHARE—Sustaining Health and Relational Excellence—pilot project was started at the South Memorial Drive Church of God, New Castle, Indiana, where SHAPE cluster leader Chris Gamello serves as pastor. Members of the congregation’s leadership team have committed to the SHARE journey and will meet monthly with Paul Dreger as SHARE moves toward a national launch later this year. The New Castle congregation joins congregations in Hermitage, Tennessee; Roseburg, Oregon; and Pendleton, Indiana, in the SHARE pilot project.
- The quarterly SHAPE National Steering Committee conference call took place on March 21. This quarterly call keeps regional directors connected and able to share ideas and stories of the impact of SHAPE among the pastors of their region as well as plan for future ministry.
- Paul was privileged to attend the annual Western Area Regional Ministerium in Sacramento, California, April 9–10. He led two conferences during the meeting. The first conference, following the meeting’s theme, “Revive, Renew, Refocus,” invited pastors to revisit the gospel’s focus on what it means to be the body of Christ from a relational perspective. The second conference, “A Relational Foundation for Congregational Life,” encouraged pastors to develop stronger relationships and healthier lifestyles for more effective life and ministry. This conference also provided an opportunity to introduce the ministry of SHARE to West Coast pastors.
- A daylong SHAPE retreat was held on April 12 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for pastors who have completed a three year SHAPE experience, as well as for several pastors interested in becoming part of the SHAPE journey. The day concluded with an affirmation by all in attendance of the value of life and ministry in community. Regional Pastor Larry Taylor and the SHAPE leadership team in Colorado will be working on next steps for pastors in Colorado in the months to come.
- The cohort 3 orientation retreat in Michigan took place May 2–4 at the Michindoh Retreat Center in Hillsdale, Michigan. Two clusters of twelve pastors from northern Michigan began their SHAPE journey together under the leadership of Regional Pastor Bill Jones and cluster leaders Mike Stadelmayer, John Mellish, and Dennis Cole.
- The first leader training orientation in Ohio occurred May 6–7 at the Northeast Ohio Retreat Center at Berlin Center. Participants included Brian Smith, Michael Jones, and Shannon New-Spangler. Launch of the first Ohio SHAPE cluster is anticipated later this year.
We celebrate the continuing ministry of SHAPE in bringing pastors together in healthy community. Pray regularly for this vital ministry.