Tag 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

MACU, Ministries Council, and Missional Ministry with John Carney

By Kerry Park

Pastor John Carney is a 1982 graduate of Gulf Coast Bible College (GBC), one of the previous names of Mid-America Christian University, (MACU). He also earned a master’s in leadership from MACU in 2009. He’s married to GBC alumna Kay (Gustin) Carney, who is also a 1982 graduate of GBC. John is the senior pastor of First Church of God in Hutchinson, Kansas, where he has served since 1999, and is serving his second term with the Church of God Ministries Council. In this interview with MACU, John opens up on each of these formative experiences. Continue reading

Why You Should Be in SHAPE


By Rev. David I. Shrout

One of the great blessings the Lord has given me was to call me to minister in Oregon. I love this state. It is full of mountains; it has gorgeous coastal beaches, powerful rivers, and even deserts. It is a land populated by wonderful people who still have that pioneer spirit. More than 150 years ago, Oregon was at the end of the Oregon Trail, the greatest migration of people since the exodus in the Bible. Continue reading

Bible Belt Basics


By Carl Stagner

Nestled in the heart of the Ozarks, about a hundred miles southwest of Saint Louis, Missouri, you’ll find the sprawling heartland community of Rolla. The culture oozes traditional values, country kindness, and down-home hospitality. So when Daniel Phillips was called there to pastor, the question on his mind wasn’t whether or not the church’s nativity would be vandalized, but whether people who are familiar with church would move beyond rote religion to revival. To grasp the ministry behind the man, you have to understand the journey that led him to Central Community Church of God. Continue reading