Time to SHAPE Up! Ministry to Pastors Expands Reach
By Paul Dreger
Changed lives. Revived ministries. The renewal of hope and trust. The building of a strong community that reflects the heart and passion of Christ. These results and many more reflect the impact of the ministry of SHAPE within the Church of God, an impact which continues to grow.
Introduced in seventeen regions across North America, SHAPE—Sustaining Health and Pastoral Excellence—touches the lives of pastors, drawing them into safe, supportive communities where greater health and ministry effectiveness can be nurtured. Expansion of the ministry continues this year, as Western Pennsylvania will launch its first cohort* in early December. About every twelve to eighteen months, new cohorts, such as the one in Pennsylvania, are formed.
SHARE—Sustaining Health and Relational Excellence—is currently being developed as a companion ministry for congregational leadership. Focusing upon the elements that foster healthy relationships and ministry effectiveness within a congregation’s leadership team, SHARE brings the principles and practices of SHAPE to the local congregation, aiding in the development of a mission-focused, God-honoring congregational experience. Currently being piloted by congregations throughout the United States, we are pleased to announce that SHARE will be made available in 2013 to pastors who have experienced the SHAPE journey.
SHAPE is an initiative that began in 2003 through a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis, Indiana. It continues to change the lives of pastors throughout North America. In its tenth year, SHAPE continues to generate stories of life change that is leading pastors to a fresh understanding of what it means to “be the body of Christ fulfilling the mission of Christ in the world” in healthy, supportive community.
As one SHAPE participant recently testified: “The Lord has used SHAPE in my life to bring me healing by better understanding myself, my story, who I am in Christ, and accepting complete forgiveness. I have learned to trust others and become vulnerable in a safe environment. SHAPE has improved my relationship with all those around me by enabling me to better understand who they are and how God created them. What I have learned from SHAPE I use every day. It has become who I am and how I live life and do ministry.” Beyond the blessing of the fellowship of others involved in vocational ministry, the desired outcome of SHAPE is to lead pastors to active participation in the fulfillment of the Great Commission in the passion and power of the Great Commandments.
Directed by regional leadership and resourced by Church of God Ministries, SHAPE is open to all pastors and associate pastors. Please contact your regional pastor to see if SHAPE is available for you.
*A cohort is a group of pastors who begin the SHAPE experience together. A cohort, depending on its size, will be divided into clusters of three to four persons, with one or two leaders for each cluster.