How Are You Shaped to Serve?

Over the years I have seen several resources and assessments that look at how God has prepared us to serve Him, the church, and the world. Many of those focused on spiritual gifts. But some of them deal with more. A couple of anagrams explaining ways you are shaped to serve come to mind SPADE (Lifeway) and SHAPE (Saddleback). The letters in Saddleback’s anagram represent Spiritual gifts, Heart (passions), Abilities, Personality, and Experiences.

Shaped to Serve

Most Christians recognize that the Lord provides spiritual gifts. But do you also recognize that God gives and wants to use your heart, abilities, personality, experiences for Him? Let’s take a quick look through your SHAPE:

  • Spiritual gifts. Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 lists the spiritual gifts. Some include the offices in Ephesians 4. The Lord gave us gifts for the body of Christ. Every born-again believer has at least one gift. The gifts include service, teaching, exhorting, giving, leading, mercy, and more.
  • Heart. Heart is a way of describing places in life where someone is most passionate. What areas of life cause the mind and heart to race? God wants to use our passion for Him.
  • Abilities. Biblical examples range all over the map, from artisan skills to construction. God gave and wants to use these abilities in service to Him.
  • Personality. The Lord wired us all uniquely. Some are introverts; others are extroverts. Some are feelers; others are thinkers. Personality forms early. God wants to use our uniquenesses in service to Him.
  • Experiences. These include the good and bad. God will give us opportunities to use our experiences in His service if we will allow Him to do so.

Your Disciple’s SHAPE

How are you helping your disciple to discover and use his/her SHAPE? I have talked with many senior adults over the years of ministry who had no idea what their spiritual gifts were. Through trial and error, some found ways to use their SHAPE, but disciples may have been more fulfilled and fulfilling to the Kingdom if they had learned about their SHAPE early in their Christian walk.

This does not have to take an inordinate amount of time during disciple-making sessions. Lifeway Christian Resources offers a free spiritual gifts assessment which is self-scoring. You can also read information about the 16 gifts included in the assessment. You can find the free assessment here:

Spiritual Gifts Assessment Tool: Discover Your God-Give Spiritual Gifts

Saddleback Church offers a free SHAPE test. It is completely online, and the site will send you a copy of the results. It is a little lengthy, but the results can help you and your disciple to have great conversation. You can find the free SHAPE test here to discover how you and your disciple are shaped to serve:

Free SHAPE Test

This will vary by the individual disciple, but I lean toward having conversation about SHAPE relatively early in your disciple-making sessions together. If the individual is a new Christian, some basics should be covered first. If he/she is not a Christian, then the conversation about SHAPE may be premature–unless questions are being asked.

Early conversation can enlarge understanding to flavor much of the Christian worldview developed through your disciple-making efforts. You will come back to pieces of SHAPE time and time again. Take the test yourself. Then lead your disciple(s) to do the same. Then have conversation about how you both are shaped to serve. Make disciples!

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