THE MINISTRY of SHAPE
SHAPE — Sustaining Health And Pastoral Excellence — a gift of God to the Church of God, was born out of the passion of a group of visionary leaders who desired to transform the heart and soul of leadership within the Church of God and the broader Kingdom. In partnership with the Lilly Endowment, Inc., of Indianapolis, IN, and other significant leadersfrom across the country, the SHAPE ministry was launched in 2002. Since that time hundreds of pastors and leaders from the United States and Canada have experienced the principles and practices of SHAPE, are discovering the power of community,and helping build a stronger Kingdom perspective for the coming generations ofthe Church of God.
SHAPE is a national and regional collaborative ministry initiative designed to facilitate Church of God pastors' pursuit of proactive, planned, and sustained strategies to achieve and integrate the hallmarks of good and faithful ministry — spirituality, connectedness, knowledge, leadership, vision, and personal health—into their life and vocation.
SHAPE is about leader development and leadership development. It is also about congregational health and church growth.
SHAPE is rooted in the fundamental conviction that the underlying message of the Bible is found in the Great Commandment of Jesus Christ:
"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest commandment and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandmentshang all the law and the prophets." -Matthew 22:36-40 (NSRV)
The ultimate goal of SHAPE is to provide a holistic, seamless cycle of self-directed and collaborative practices that will sustain and nourish Church of God pastors from the moment of their first calling through the culmination of their pastoral ministry. SHAPE exists to motivate and sustain pastors as they enhance their calling — a "good and faithful ministry"— by becoming more balanced as persons so that burnout andattrition can be avoided and multi-faceted growth can occur. SHAPE exists to build and sustain relational networks that enhance the relational health of pastors and congregations of the Church of God reformation movement, resulting in healthy interdependence.
As the impact of SHAPE continues to be assessed, the overwhelming evidence supports the initial anticipated outcomes that this ministry is enabling participants to move:
From harmful autonomy to Biblical interdependency
From pastoral isolation toconnectivity
From fragmentation in the movement to common direction
From crisis-oriented to purpose driven
The opportunities that now lay before can lead us corporately into a future where these objectives find greater fulfillment in the broader constituencies of the Church of God and impact our congregations as they collectively fulfill the mission of Christ in the world.