SHAPE, Finding, Fulfilling Unique Purpose in Life


Eric Rees, S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose in Life. Zondervan, 2006.

Referenced in: Ministry Involvement and Gift-Based Ministry Summary

S.H.A.P.E. and S.H.A.P.E. Resources, a division of Serving Central, describe the member mobilization process promoted by Purpose Driven Ministries, an extension of the ministry of Saddleback Church and Dr. Rick Warren.

S.H.A.P.E. stands for Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences. It is a comprehensive set of tools designed to help members understand and express their S.H.A.P.E. into some form of meaningful ministry, and to help church leaders facilitate this process for their congregations. It includes a full array of online assessments for adults and teens, books, small group curriculums, and sermon series, as well as helpful kits for coaching, church campaigns, and starting new ministries.

At the foundation of this approach are two inventories. The first is the S.H.A.P.E. Inventory (free online access comes with Rees’ book) which measures five areas of personal giftedness that are addressed in Rick Warren’s thirty-million-plus bestseller, Purpose-Driven Life.

  • Spiritual Gifts - A set of special abilities that God has give to you to share his love and serve others.
  • Heart - The special passions God has given you so that you can glorify him on earth.
  • Abilities - The set of talents that God gave you when you were born, which he also wants you to use to make an impact for him.
  • Personality - The special way God wired you to navigate life and fulfill your unique Kingdom Purpose.
  • Experiences - Those parts of your past, both positive and painful, which God intends to use in great ways.

The S.H.A.P.E. inventory answers, “Who Am I?” The second inventory, “Serving Sweet Spot Profile” (free online access comes with Rees’ book) goes a step further by helping persons determine the best place of service in which one’s S.H.A.P.E. may be expressed. It helps to identify four important areas:

  • Your Serving Strengths: The spiritual gifts and natural abilities that God has given you to serve others
  • Your Serving Group: The people you love serving and impacting for God’s glory
  • Your Serving Desires: The needs you love meeting in another persons life?
  • Your Serving Setting: The ideal place that maximizes your personality so you can make the greatest impact for God

By combining the insights of the two profiles, participants begin fulfilling their Kingdom Purpose, defined as the “specific contribution to the Body of Christ, within your generation, that causes you to totally depend on God and authentically display his love toward others - all through the expression of your God-given S.H.A.P.E.”

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

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