Category Archives: SHAPE

Virginia Takes Steps to Address Pastoral Health and Excellence


By Carl Stagner

Pastors, you are not alone. Across the country, in your state, and likely even in your community there are other men and women called to preach the gospel just like you. They spend countless hours in study, sermon prep, visitation, counseling, event planning, fundraising, and cleaning the bathrooms, too. Like you, they shepherd a flock with its beauty and its imperfections. So why do so many pastors go it alone? In the Church of God, state assemblies and regions have discovered the power of SHAPE—Sustaining Health and Pastoral Excellence—to bring pastors together in fellowship, networking, and accountability. About twenty state or regional assemblies have been encouraged by the impact of SHAPE on their pastors and, by extension, their congregations. Now SHAPE is on the move, and its destination is Virginia. Continue reading

Church of God in Barbados on Cusp of Turnaround


Photo: Paul Dreger, honored to help baptize believers in Barbados.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God enjoys a rich heritage of ministry in the island country of Barbados. Over time, however, new growth has waned and demographics have shifted to the middle-age and senior adults. But in recent years, signs of new life have begun to emerge. This winter, forty percent of the entire constituency of the Church of God in Barbados attended the closing service of their annual believer’s convention. Knowing they simply could not remain on their current trajectory, pastors and leaders made several important decisions at the conclusion of the convention. The two thousand that make up the eighteen Barbardos congregations are beginning to discover the need for systemic change in their methodologies and ministerial approaches, but most of all, in their relationships. Continue reading

The First One to the Cross Wins


By Alfred Ells, M.C.

Ever have a conflict with your spouse, associate, or family member? Who won? Susan and I have had many conflicts in our marriage, especially when we were younger and more immature. Her common refrain was, “You just want to win!” At first I didn’t agree—I thought she was the one who always wanted to win. Over the years I’ve become convinced we both want to win and so do most people in conflict. Continue reading

SHAPE Expands to Jamaica


By Paul Dreger

The first SHAPE training outside of the United States and Canada took place November 6–8, 2014, in Kingston, Jamaica, as nine pastors from across the country gathered for three days of intensive training as SHAPE cluster leaders. Gathering at the United Church Center Conference and Retreat Center in Meadowbrook, the group spent long days in relationship building, being introduced to the core values of SHAPE, and experiencing the SHAPE journey. Continue reading

Here and There: SHAPE Happenings across North America

  • 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. Continue reading

The Heart of Worship, Part 1

When is the last time you worshiped? No, I don’t mean the last time you went to church for a worship service. I mean, when have you done the Romans 12:1–2 worship experience of being a “living sacrifice” for the Lord? Worship in the Bible is not a one-size-fits-all experience or a mono-focused event. It is a multifaceted experience that in many ways is not reflected in what we call worship today. Continue reading


“Daddy, let’s go play!” was the daily cry after the dinner table had been cleared. And play we did. Every evening the girls’ bedroom was transformed into a den of raucous laughter and delight. The mundane activities of the day gave way to shrieks of excitement as games of “The Incredible Hulk”, “Belly Monster,” and “Belly Bouncer” took center stage. “Belly Bouncer” was a favorite as the girls would run from one end or side of the bed to the other, leap fearlessly toward me and bounce off my belly back onto the bed. Time after time, night after night, the play—the bouncing, the shrieking, the laughter—went on. Continue reading

Into the Future

Years ago I remember watching a story on television about a boy who was stuck in a laundry chute between the second and first floors of his home while playing hide and seek with his siblings and friends. The fire department was finally called when all attempts to free the boy had failed. The boy was finally freed when the wall was dismantled and the chute cut open. The segment ended with an interview with the boy, who concluded his remarks with, “All I could think of while stuck there was, ‘I don’t want to die younger than Elvis!’” Continue reading

SHAPE on the Go!

January–February 2014

27–29 Carolinas Cohort 1 Orientation Retreat
27–29 W PA Cohort 2 Orientation Retreat
30–Feb. 1 Northeast Ohio Cohort 1 Orientation Retreat

1 Northeast Ohio Cohort 1 Orientation Retreat
6–7 Louisiana Cohort 3 Leader Training
10 New Castle, Indiana, SHARE
12 Illinois SHAPE Planning
19 North Central Region Training

Please contact Paul for winter and spring scheduling.

Spread the Word Team Brings Discipleship Training to Kenya


By Bryan Hughes

On September 30, just a few days after the Westgate Mall shootings that killed sixty-seven in Kenya, a team of adult leaders and two high school students from Spread the Word left Chicago, bound for the country where this incident occurred. This team would be training leaders from Kima International School of Theology (KIST), yet they would soon become students themselves. Continue reading

SHAPE on the Go!

5–8 North Central Region SHAPE Orientation, Albert Lea, MN
10–11 Northeast Ohio SHAPE Training
13 Western Pennsylvania SHAPE Training
14–16 Tennessee SHAPE Retreat
17–20 Colorado SHAPE Orientation Retreat

1–3 Western Pennsylvania SHAPE Training
4–7 Oklahoma SHAPE Orientation Retreat

January 2014
12–13 SHAPE Carolinas Cohort Orientation Retreat
27–28 Western Pennsylvania Cohort 2 Orientation Retreat
30–Feb. 1 Northeast Ohio Cohort 1 Orientation Retreat

SHAPE Happenings

• Leader training continued for the launch of cohort 1 in the Carolinas, September 30–October 1, in Myrtle Beach. The Cohort 1 orientation retreat is scheduled for January 12–13, 2014.
• Training began for SHAPE cohort 3 in Louisiana, October 24–25, at Camp Pollock, near Alexandria, Louisiana. Present were Michael Brady, Shawn Waggoner, and Michael Williams. Regional coordinator Ray Jones also attended. Training and the launch of cohort 3 are anticipated to take place in early 2014.
• Please be in prayer for the remaining 2013 training and orientation events and for the first ever international SHAPE events, which will take place in 2014.

Shape Up and Ship Out

SHAPE in the United States has responded to a Macedonian call from pastors in Barbados to “Come over and help us!”
Paul Dreger, national SHAPE coordinator, will come alongside two indigenous Barbadian certified coaches currently pastoring in the United States to shape up a plan and ship out SHAPE to Barbados in the Caribbean. Continue reading


Back in my younger adventurous days I attended a five-day conference sponsored by Rev. Moon and his Unification Church. We attended plenary sessions regarding their theology and participated in small group sessions led by members of the Unification Church. My small group comprised parents of young people who had become involved with this group and Christian pastors who had been invited to the conference. Emotions ran high as parents sought to understand why their children would embrace this perspective of spiritual life and as pastors sought to defend their theology. I have never been good at arguing my point (well, don’t ask my family about that!) and chose to spend the first small group sessions just sitting, observing the group dynamics at play, and listening. In fact, I listened for two full days, not saying a word, except for asking for clarification regarding certain points of conversation. Continue reading

SHAPE on the Go!


4–6 Tennessee Assembly Meeting
8–11 SHAPE Carolina Training Orientation
22–25 SHAPE Western Pennsylvania Training
26 Quarterly SHAPE Regional Directors and Coordinators Meeting Conference Call
29–Oct. 2 SHAPE Carolina Training


2–5 SHAPE Oklahoma Orientation Retreat
7 Indiana Ministries Annual Meeting
15–16 24 Conference—Anderson, Indiana
22–26 Intimate Life Ministries Conference—Austin, Texas
24-25 SHAPE Louisiana Leader Training