November 6–7, leaders from the North Central Region met in Albert Lea, Minnesota, to begin training as SHAPE cluster leaders. Chris Current (ND), Jesse Elkins (IA), Charles Hundley (IA), Stan Rone (NE), Mike Smith (SD), Dale Steele (MN), and Brent Waldemarsen (MN) will serve as cluster leaders in this geographical region of the United States.
This two-day face-to-face meeting was followed on December 13 by a video conference call attended by all of these leaders. While not as effective as a face-to-face experience, this meeting helped alleviate the time and expense of coming together physically; we hope that this will provide the needed opportunity for effective training and preparation for launching SHAPE in the future. Monthly video conferencing will be strengthened by several other face-to-face meetings throughout the training time. At the close of training, each pastor will lead clusters of pastors in their region. Please pray for this group as they undertake a new approach to training. The second video cluster meeting took place on January 22.
Leader training continued in Northeast Ohio (November 10–11) and Western Pennsylvania (November 13 and December 2). Western Pennsylvania’s second cohort will have their orientation retreat January 27–29. Northeast Ohio will launch their first cohort January 30–February 1.
A new SHAPE cluster was launched as a cooperative effort between Colorado and Kansas in Lamar, Colorado, November 18–19. Pastors Larry Borthwick, Danny Jackson, Earl Heath, Gary Murrell, and Mike Schneider, as well as Colorado Regional Pastor Larry Taylor, spent two days being introduced to the core values and practices of SHAPE and building the relationships that will be nurtured in the years to come. Danny Bryant, who is part of this cluster, was unable to attend.
Paul met once again on December 10 with the leadership team of the South Memorial Drive Church of God in New Castle, Indiana, as they incorporate the principles and practices of SHARE (Sustaining Health and Relational Excellence) into their leadership paradigm. A final meeting in this phase of the experience will take place on February 10.