A great post by Rick Warren.
S.H.A.P.E. is an acronym I developed years
ago to explain the five elements that determine what a person’s ministry should
be. I believe every believer is uniquely shaped for a particular ministry.
SPIRITUAL GIFTS: The Bible clearly
teaches that God gives every believer certain spiritual gifts to be used in
ministry (1 Cor. 12, Rom. 8, Eph. 4). However, I believe spiritual gifts
are only one part of the picture. In my opinion, spiritual gifts are often
overemphasized to the neglect of other equally important factors. Natural
abilities that you were born with also came from God. So do your experiences
and inborn personality traits. These factors were also planned by your Creator.
Spiritual gifts reveal part of God’s will for your ministry, but not all of it.
HEART: The Bible uses the
term “heart” to represent the center of your motivation, desires, interests,
and inclinations. Your heart determines why you say the things you do (Matt.
12:34), why you feel the way you do (Ps. 34:7), and why you act the way you do
(Pr. 4:23). Another
word for heart is "passion." There are certain subjects that you feel
passionate about and others that you couldn’t care less about. Some things turn
you on while other things turn you off. That is an expression of your
heart. God had a purpose in giving you your inborn interests. Your
emotional heartbeat reveals a very important key to understanding His
intentions for your life. Don’t ignore your natural interests. People rarely
excel at tasks they don't enjoy doing. High achievers enjoy what they do.
ABILITIES: These are the natural talents that you
were born with. Some people have a natural ability with words. They came out of
the womb talking! Other people have natural athletic abilities. They
excel in physical coordination. Exodus 31:3 gives an example of how God gives
people “skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts..." in order
to accomplish his purposes. In this case, it was artistic ability to be
used in building the Tabernacle. It’s interesting to me that musical talent is
not listed as a “spiritual gift,” but it certainly is a natural ability that
God uses in worship.
PERSONALITY: It's obvious that
God has not used a cookie cutter to create people. He loves
variety----just look around! God made introverts and extroverts. He made
people who love routine and those who love variety. He made some people
“thinkers” and others “feelers.” Some people work best when given an individual
assignment while others work better with a team. We need all kinds of
personalities to balance the church and give it flavor. Your personality will
affect how and where you use your spiritual gifts and abilities. For
instance, two people may have the same gift of evangelism, but if one is
introverted and the other is extroverted, that gift will be expressed in
EXPERIENCES: God never wastes
an experience. Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that in all things
God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to
his purpose.” At Saddleback, we help people consider five areas of experience
that will influence the kind of ministry they are best shaped for: (1)
Educational experiences: What were your favorite subjects in school? (2)
Vocational experiences: What jobs have you enjoyed and achieved results while
doing? (3) Spiritual experiences: What have been the meaningful or decisive
times with God in your life? (4) Ministry experiences: How have you served God
in the past? (5) Painful experiences: What are the problems, hurts, and trials
that you’ve learned from?
was sovereignly determined by God for his purpose, so you shouldn’t resent it
or reject it. "What right have you, a human being, to cross-examine
God? The pot has no right to say to the potter: ‘Why did you make me this
shape?’ Surely a potter can do what he likes with the clay!" Rom.
9:20 21 (JB) Instead of trying to reshape ourselves to be like someone else, we
should celebrate the shape God has given to each of us.
determined your own SHAPE? That’s essential for you to know as you minister to