Your SHAPE for God’s Service aims to enable church members to understand the unique SHAPE God has made them, the gifts he has given them and how he might want to use them.
This is so that God’s Kingdom may be built up as each person finds the ministry to which God is calling them in the Church and in the world.
Hopefully this will enable participants to live and serve with more joy, satisfaction and fruitfulness. This should build a healthy growing church, and will affect the way each person engages with their family, friends, job, local community, and voluntary / leisure activities.
The core topics
The sessions involve looking at your:
- Spiritual Gifts (God’s unique gifts to you)
- Heart’s Desire (what motivates and excites you; what you love to do)
- Abilities (your talents, knowledge and skills)
- Personality (your character, personal qualities and strengths)
- Experience (your life experiences and what you’ve gained from them)
for God’s Service.
Your SHAPE for God’s Service is most effective when used regularly as part of a church’s long term strategy, though it can be used as a one off with small groups of interested people.
Ideally, the strategy would be to encourage most of the congregation to do the SHAPE course before too long (e.g. over a period of 2 years, though this depends on how many leaders you have available and how large the congregation is). After this, it should be run regularly to draw in recent church members, newly confirmed adults etc. It consists of six 2-hour sessions.
It is recommended that short term groups are set up specifically to do Your SHAPE for God’s Service, however, it could be done as a slightly extended Advent or Lent course. The material could be used in an existing home group if it is not too large, though experience has shown that this does not work as well as a new / specially created group. Each group should have two leaders and six to eight members.
The materials give full instructions for the group leaders, so that anyone with experience of group leadership would be able to lead.
After the course ends, each group member has a private Individual Review session with the Vicar / Parish Priest / Minister (and / or one of the group leaders), in order to explore what has been discovered, suggest possible areas of ministry, and make practical arrangements for action.
This is essential, as it can be very frustrating to discover one’s gifts and then to be unable to find ways of using them! Of course people need to be helped to see ways of using their gifts in all areas of their lives, not just in a church context, and in ways appropriate for their particular SHAPE.
Your SHAPE for God’s Service aims to create an informal, accepting and relaxed atmosphere, where people feel safe to share things at a personal level. There will be some input from the leaders on the topics, and an exploration of Biblical teaching. There will also be practical exercises, discussion and application to each person’s life situation, and prayer together. At the end of each session, a practical personal reflection exercise or questionnaire is given out, which will take about one hour to do.
The following session will begin by discussing and applying the results of it. By the end of the course, each person will have compiled a profile of their SHAPE for ministry.
Introduces the aims and outlines of the Your SHAPE for God’s Service; establish an atmosphere of openness and trust; explores Biblical material on gifts, vocation, every member ministry and our role in building God’s church and Kingdom on earth.
Takes each of the aspects of our SHAPE. This starts with Experience (which is the easiest to explore), and work backwards to Spiritual gifts.
Concludes by looking at each person’s profile and its implications, encouraging and praying for each other’s ministries.
Taste and See
The first session of SHAPE is provided as a download so that you can see how it works, just click on the links below to have a look.
- Leaders' Notes Session 1
- Session 1 Handout 1A
- Session 1 Handout 1B
- Session 1 Personal Reflection
- Session 1 Members Handout
Your SHAPE for God’s Service was created by Canon Amiel Osmaston (Ministry Development Officer for the Anglican Diocese of Carlisle), and can be obtained, free of charge from Andy Griffiths