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SHAPE gave me the opportunity to develop deep, lasting friendships with other people in ministry. Ministry can often be a lonely endeavor but we celebrated together when things went well and listened to each other when life was difficult. We engaged monthly with others who experienced similar challenges in ministry which gave me the support I needed.
I greatly enjoyed the pastors in my SHAPE group. We became a close knit group. Our monthly meetings provided ideas, prayer support, encouragement, fun, and fellowship. We had times throughout the year where our spouses were included in activities. I was very thankful for the opportunity to have this connection with other pastors.
When it came to problems that I faced with the church and emotions that I experienced as a pastor, I used to think it was just me. My SHAPE group friends helped me to see that I am not alone. By learning the stories of others who could relate to the unique challenges of a pastor as well as being able to safely share my stories with supportive friends who could understand has been a great encouragement to me.
As a Pastor who in the last 3.5 years has gotten married, had my first child, bought my first house, and had my role at church change 4 times, SHAPE has be so life giving. In the midst of lots of change and challenge my cluster has been relationships that I have truly needed, they have been a steady source of encouragement, wisdom, and love. Ministry is hard and can be lonely but I am thankful so thankful for a group of friends who listen to me and who are with me and for me.