Getting in S.H.A.P.E. for C.H.U.R.C.H.

By Discernment Group

Posted September 27, 2006

See also Spiritual Gifts and Community Service


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Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

"With more than 2 billion members, churches have the world's largest volunteer labor force. 'What if half of those volunteers could be mobilized?' Rick Warren said.... 'Church members can be trained to distribute and support HIV/AIDS medications, assist with essential nutrition, give medication education, and more.'" [Press release, "Rick and Kay Warren to Host AIDS Summit Featuring Health Care, Religion, Government Leaders," Wednesday September 27, 11:46 am ET]

“So the nonprofit social sector is where management is today most needed and where systematic, principled, theory-based management can yield the greatest results fastest. Just think of the enormous problems facing the world—poverty, health care, education, international tension—and the need for managed solutions becomes loud and clear.”
        [Re: the church] "The community … needs a community center… I'm not talking religion now, I'm talking society. There is no other institution on the American community that could be the center."
[Peter Drucker, see footnotes 21 & 24, "What’s Wrong with the 21st Century Church? Synopsis - Part 3 by Dr. Robert Klenck]

Okay, you've taken your S.H.A.P.E. test. You've reported to your draft board (your small group leaders). You've enlisted in the billion man army. You're now a foot soldier for the Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. What's next?

You'll be assigned to your "sweet spot." This is, as Max Lucado defined it, "a zone, a region, a life precinct." (Cure for the Common Life, p. 1)

For 50% of you, your assignment has already been determined for you. You will be drafted into working with HIV/AIDS whether this was something that scored high on your interest inventory or not. But first you'll have to learn how to S.L.O.W. and S.T.O.P.

Confused? You won't be by the time this public relations campaign has gone mainstream. The most massive citizens' volunteer movement in human history is just getting off the ground.

Churches are ground zero. They are to become the center of Global Society. And they'll make these inroads via the HIV/AIDS crisis. In today's press release Rick Warren is quoted as saying that "in many communities, churches are the most trusted organizations -- where people would be willing to go for testing and counseling."

So, here is how half of you will be mobilized to fight against the disease of HIV/AIDS:

1. First you have to support the new mission of the C.H.U.R.C.H.

"Warren said that every church, regardless of size, can do six things to address HIV/AIDS:

"Care and comfort.

Handle HIV testing and counseling.

Unleash a volunteer force of compassion.

Reduce the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS.

Champion healthy behavior. “You can’t really talk about poverty without talking about injustice, and it is amazing to me that people would try to talk about AIDS without talking about behavior since it is primarily a behavior-based disease,” Warren said. “You don’t get it out of the air. Even for those who are innocent, it was someone else’s behavior.”

Help with nutrition and medications."

2. Second, you have to engage in S.L.O.W. and S.T.O.P. activities:

"Using the acronym S.L.O.W., Warren detailed strategies various groups have employed to slow the pandemic:

"Supply condoms.

Limit the number of sexual partners.

Offer needle exchange for intravenous drug users.

Wait for sex by delaying the first sexual experience.

"These strategies are popular because they are relatively easy to work on, but they’re not enough, Warren said. They only reduce risk. They don’t eliminate it.

"As they continue to employ some of the S.L.O.W. strategies, people need to work together to stop HIV/AIDS in four ways, he said:

"Save sex for marriage. No logical person can deny that engaging in sex only in the context of marriage would go a long way toward stopping the spread of HIV, he said.

"Train men to respect women. If men around the world had a biblical view of women, lives would change for the better. 'This is a spiritual issue, not a health care issue,' Warren said. 'Lives can change.'

Offer treatment through churches. With 2.3 billion people around the world claiming to be followers of Christ, local churches offer a significant volunteer base for treatment and recovery from the behaviors that further HIV/AIDS, including intravenous drug use.

Pledge yourself to one partner. Labeled as a fringe idea by many groups around the world, having one sexual partner for life eliminates much of the risk of contracting HIV." (Excerpted from "HIV/AIDS won’t be stopped without churches, Warren tells religious leaders," By Manda Gibson.)

3. Third, you can take more tests, etc. (The first test is here)

If you are still itching to take more tests, you can log on to a "quick quiz to test your awareness of HIV/AIDS." And, if you really feel like divulging lots of personal information, you can take a longer "Purpose Driven HIV/AIDS Survey at And if you feel the urge to immerse yourself in the media frenzy launching all of this, you can visit

4. Finally, put it all into perspective.

Are you ready to pass out condoms, dispense drugs, hand out needles, offer counseling, and discuss the most intimate details of the deviant types of sexual behaviors that lead to HIV/AIDS? Are you prepared to counsel people to "remain with one partner" without saying anything about what Scripture says on this topic? Are you prepared to become an arm of the State and the Pharmaceutical Industry -- following their guidelines, mandates, reports and instructions? And, have you counted the cost -- are you prepared to speak the Truth even if you are forbidden to do so in this context?

Once again, the mission of the Church has been changed. Notice the disappearance of the Gospel. Rick Warren explained how "the world's largest volunteer labor force" will work:

“Government has a role – no doubt about that – but it’s highly overrated. Businesses and NGOs have a role. But the Churchis the missing leg of the stool, and we will never, never resolve this pandemic until the Church – and I mean local churches – is mobilized.” [emphasis added]

This is business guru Peter Drucker's 3-legged stool concept of Society. In his model, the secularized and commercialized Church becomes an arm of Society, i.e., the State. And this Church becomes a mega-center, the hub of the Community in which all of one's life needs are met, duties are prescribed, standards are set, and outcomes (results) are required.

The Truth:

"Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His Own Right Hand in the Heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, Which is His Body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all." (Eph. 1:20-23)

Part 1:  40 Days of S.H.A.P.E. (September 22, 2006)

OK, you have a purpose. Now what?
Learn how God wants you to use it!
You not only have a purpose, you also have a unique
set of skills, talents, experiences… and a heart like no
other. It's your "shape," the way God made you to fit
into his plan. It's yours to discover, develop, and use
to bring greater glory to God!
40 Days of S.H.A.P.E.
Grace Community Church -

Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and Purpose-Driven fame has officially launched the 40-Days of S.H.A.P.E. program. He writes in his Ministry ToolBox Issue #227 (9/20/06):

"At Saddleback, we talk about the five different factors that make up a person’s S.H.A.P.E.: Spiritual gift(s), Heart, Abilities, Personalities, and Experiences. Why is this important? Why should we bother figuring out how God has shaped us? I’ll give you five benefits."

Warren then promises these 5 benefits from understanding your S.H.A.P.E.:

reduces stress
increases success
determines how you learn
deepens satisfaction
builds self-esteem

The 40 Days of S.H.A.P.E. will be launched at the Roswell, New Mexico, Grace Community Church beginning on October 1, that culminates in a "Only You Can Be You! Conference" with Erik Rees, November 10-12, and concludes with a Celebration Sunday on November 19th.

Erik Rees is author of the newly-released book S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose in Life. This isn't just a single book, but an entire curriculum that includes a package with bulk rates for the main book, study guides, and a DVD.

40 Days of S.H.A.P.E. is looking for H.O.S.T. Homes:

Here's what it takes to be a HOST:

Have a heart for our church family.
Open your home for a six week video seminar.
Serve some coffee or soft drinks.
Tell your friends to come.

40 Days of S.H.A.P.E. includes a Commitment Card where the attendant agrees to participate every Sunday morning, join a small group, read Erik Rees' book, memorize a weekly Bible verse and attend the finale conference.

40 Days of S.H.A.P.E. was inaugurated with a letter from Senior Pastor Rick Hale of the Grace Community Church, dated August 30, 2006, which called for the members to commit to the forty days. It stated that

"The goal of this campaign is to help you find the key that unlocks the door to your God-given shape for service."

This letter explains the overall context of this 40 Days of S.H.A.P.E. Campaign:

Do you remember the Purpose-Driven Baseball Diamond that illustrates God's five purposes for our lives? The "40 Days Campaigns" are designed to help us deepen our understanding and application of God's purposes. Think back to our previous campaigns:
40 Days of Purpose - helped us connect (1st base) with God's five purposes.
40 Days of Community - helped us grow (2nd base) together by joining a small group.

Now …
40 Days of S.H.A.P.E. - will help us be equipped (3rd base) to serve by discovering our unique ministry in the church.

40 Days of S.H.A.P.E. is a prelude to the P.E.A.C.E. Plan, which is recruiting an "army of believers sitting in churches waiting to be mobilized." In a key article, "How to mobilize your church for ministry" by Kristine Noelle, she explains:

When a church family discovers and celebrates its spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences (S.H.A.P.E.), it becomes focused, fulfilled, and fruitful.

The major pathway to taking the S.H.A.P.E test is by purchasing Erik Rees' new book, S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose In Life. The test is generally taken online. The S.H.A.P.E. test is psychological self-report inventory of interests, which generally falls into the category of vocational and educational counseling, and is used in vocational selection and classification. It is a form of testing that originated in social psychology to

The Truth:

In the days to come, Lord willing, this blog will analyze this issue in more detail.

"But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:9)

Part 2: S.H.A.P.E. & the Sweet Spot  (September 25, 2006)

"The times in which we live call for fundamental change, not merely incremental change. Millions of people feel called in their souls to the task of global transformation, wanting to be its agents in a monumental shift from a world of fear to a world of love.…

"How can we best participate in a task so huge and idealistic?… Books arrayed in bookstores proclaim a better way to love, to lead, to live. Seminars and support groups keep us working on ways to improve ourselves, practicing spiritual disciplines…. But somehow, still, we don't seem to be hitting the sweet spot, the miraculous key to turning the world around."
(Marianne Williamson, The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life (HarperCollilns, 2004) [emphasis added]

*   *   *

"The greatest need in the 21st century is to release the pent up latent power of the average believer in local churches around the world. There aren’t enough doctors to solve all the issues in the world, there aren’t teachers to solve all the issues in the world, and there aren’t enough missionaries to solve all the issues in the world. But there is an army of believers sitting in churches waiting to be mobilized.
[emphasis added]

"The P.E.A.C.E. Plan is a lay movement designed to mobilize average church members to do normal task that can make a difference in the world.


"…to stop debating and start doing
"…for the church to be known for love, not legalism
"…for what we are for, not for what we are against [emphasis added]

It is time for the church to be the church!"

*   *   *

Warren Smith, an ex-New Ager, in his newly updated on-line book Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel, spends considerable time examining the strange phenomena of what he calls "overlapping language" between Rick Warren and his cohorts and that of the popular New Age leaders -- one of whom is Marianne Williamson, who is quoted above.

This perplexing terminology isn't just a matter of using similar vocabularies. Many of the words and symbols also seem to have the same underlying semantics.

For example the term SWEET SPOT. According to Wikipedia, this term means:

"A sweet spot is a place, often numerical as opposed to physical, where a combination of factors suggest a particularly suitable solution. When used in the context of a racquet, bat or similar sporting instrument, sweet spot is often believed to be the same as Center of percussion." [emphasis added]

Erik Rees, author of S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose in Life, which was discussed in the previous Herescope, defines "sweet spot":

"When you are able to serve in a setting that best expresses your strengths
and allows you to meet the needs of the people you are most passionate about,
you are in your sweet spot."
[emphasis added]

Max Lucado popularized this term recently in his book Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot (W Publishing Group, 2005). Lucado defines the term as:

"A zone, a region, a life precinct in which you were made to dwell." (p. 1) [emphasis added]

Interestingly, Marianne Williamson elaborates on this term in her 2004 book The Gift of CHANGE: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life (HarperCollins, 2004). This quoted material below illustrates some disturbing overlapping semantics with the neo-evangelical authors cited above:

"Eternal things become our compass during times of rapid transition, binding us emotionally to a steady and firm course. They remind us that we, as children of God, are still at the center of divine purpose in the world.…" (p. 9)

"…When I am centered within myself, I become part of the solution. And that phenomenon, multiplied many times over, is the force that will save the world." (p. 10)

Williamson's comments indicate that one meaning for "sweet spot" is "centering," a New Age contemplation and meditation practice. Of particular relevance to this definition is the Chapter 5 update to Reinventing Jesus Christ, in which Warren Smith explores the overlapping language and practices of New Age leaders and Christian business leadership gurus.

Pertaining to "sweet spot" and Max Lucado's new book, it seems no accident that his book's theme complements the launching of 40 Days of S.H.A.P.E., the media/training campaign accompanying the release of Erik Rees' book. Max Lucado has been associated with Rick Warren and Ken Blanchard for a number of years, significantly in 1999 through a joint connection with Bob Buford's Leadership Network. Max Lucado joined Rick Warren at a "Purpose Driven Church National Seminar" in April 1999. And in September he spoke with Ken Blanchard at a significantly named "Celebrating the Emergence of a Lay-Mobilized Church."

It seems more than coincidental that this same 1999 NEXT, a publication of the Leadership Network (Vol. 5, No. 1), contained a lead article by C. Peter Wagner launching the New Apostolic Reformation, entitled "Another New Wineskin… the New Apostolic Reformation." This information places the launching of S.H.A.P.E. into a broader context of the overall Leadership Network and its pervasive influence upon neoevangelical culture. Wagner details the marketing strategies for the NAR that would be used to sort out those "traditionalists who are threatened by these changes." He also wrote about "change" and the "shape" of the church:

"The greatest change in the way of doing church since the Protestant reformation is taking place before our very eyes. I have come to label this phenomenon the 'New Apostolic Reformation.'

"The New Apostolic Reformation is an extraordinary work of God at the close of the twentieth century, which is, to a significant extent, changing the shape of Protestant Christianity around the world.…

"In some aspects, these change in the life and ministry of the Christian church are more significant than anything we have seen since the days of the Protestant Reformation. This is not only radical change, but the change is also coming more rapidly than many think.…"
[emphasis added]

And Wagner, who has invented more doctrines than perhaps any other neoevangelical leader these past several decades, disingenuously remarked that:

"The radical change in the sixteenth century was largely theological. The current reformation is not so much a reformation of faith (the essential theological principles of the Reformation are intact), but a reformation of practice." [emphasis added]

This statement above is parallel to that of Rick Warren, noted in a Discernment Ministries newsletter (July/August 2005), which reveals the comprehensive nature of this entire global P.E.A.C.E. Plan:

"The Global Day of Prayer appears to be a chief mechanism for launching a “Second Reformation” in Christianity. The GDOP provides a convenient vehicle to transition the church from the old order to a new global order.

"Rick Warren is quoted as saying at the Global Day of Prayer event, 'The first Reformation was about belief; this one’s going to be about behavior.' ( [emphasis added] An official press release from Saddleback Church states that if 'Christians mobilize to confront the five ‘global giants’ of spiritual emptiness, egocentric leadership, poverty, disease, and lack of education, it could spark a second Reformation.'"

[Part 1 - above] explained how S.H.A.P.E. is the prelude to the P.E.A.C.E. Plan. It is an assessment mechanism to sort people and position them into their respective roles (ranks?) in this emerging "army of believers."

In the same 1999 Leadership Network NEXT newsletter, C. Peter Wagner described the new "shape" for Christianity, which is the apostolic/cell hierarchical structure that most closely resembles the Amway-type multi-level marketing pyramid. This particular structure gives new meaning to the term "sweet spot," particularly as defined by Max Lucado above. Because after one takes the S.H.A.P.E. vocational-style interest inventory, one may be plugged into a "zone, a region, a life precinct."

This particular "shape" of the church as a whole, which will happen as people become catalogued, databanked and defined by the assessment, appears to be regimented and utilitarian. And this "shape" is, as C. Peter Wagner suggests, a perfectly designed vehicle for marketing the New Apostolic Reformation's agenda.


"Woe unto them who … put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20)

"And I took the little Book out of the Angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter." (Revelation 10:10)

Part 3

How to take the S.H.A.P.E.

"Just imagine if you knew the serving sweet spot of every member!
As an added bonus, a free code is available in the back of Erik’s new book, S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose. Take a sample of the test today by logging onto
and enter bookcode pdc19285."
( Advertisement for Erik Rees' new book S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose)

[bold & red in original]


Before you take this test, consider the following questions:

1. Who is scoring this test? What company? What agency? What entity? How are the scores being scored and databanked?

2. Who truly constructed this test? Under what auspices, contract, agency, etc.? For what general and specific purposes?

3. Who owns these scores? What will be done with these results? Are these results being sold? If so, to whom and for what purpose?

4. Are there contractors and/or subcontractors who have access to these scores? If so, whom?

5. To what other commercial, governmental or ecclesiastical entities are these scores provided and for what purpose?

6. Is there a personal identifier that marks this test as your score? If so, how will you be monitored? What kind of follow-up will you experience? Do you mind many people seeing your personal scores?

7. How has this test been normed? Were the various versions of this test the past several years being used as part of a research project to construct this test? Is there statistical Reliability? Validity?

8. Are these test results being used for research purposes? If so, for what purpose? For what agency or entity? What is the long-term goal of such research? Is it to "shape" evangelical culture?

9. Does the test actually measure (assess) what it purports to measure? That is, "your personal blend of Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences."

10. Are things of the Holy Spirit measurable by human psychological and sociological methods, which are imprecise and variable?

11. Is this test free of cultural, theological, ethnic, age, handicap and gender bias? Or, does it discriminate against those who are of a different culture, race, gender, handicap, life situation, age, economic class, or who hold more traditional beliefs?

12. Does this test contribute to the promulgation or perpetuation of an American upper middle class white evangelical Christian culture?

13. What are the test's true underlying assumptions about 1) the nature of man and 2) the nature of God? Can a tool devised according to humanistic psychology, which has its own underlying assumptions which run counter to biblical Christianity, truly be an effective measurement of gifts of the Holy Spirit?

14. Does this test penalize creative and unique Christian individuals who may not fall within its pre-set categories and criteria?

15. Does this test stereotype certain attributes, traits, abilities, aptitudes and talents? If so, how and for what purpose?

16. Does this test represent an attempt to create national and/or international standards and norms for Christian personality? For Christian service?

17. Are there embedded "threshold" questions in this test?

18. Is this test a vocational interest inventory type personality assessment? Does it measure and identify occupational groups whose interests and attitudes the individual shares most closely, thus becoming a way to classify personalities?

19. Is this test a spiritualized placement test to classify people into their "sweet spots" -- i.e., "zones," "regions" or "precincts" (Max Lucado's words)?

20. Does taking this test help to promote the dominionist "advancing the kingdom of God on earth" theology? Can you support that agenda? The promotional literature states that it will:

And it also states that: "…Rees shows you how to uncover God’s most powerful and effective means of advancing his kingdom on earth…"

21. Does the test promise more than it can deliver? The same promotional literature claims that you will "discover the path to a life of unimagined purpose, impact, and fulfillment" and that you will gain" confidence, freedom, clarity, and significance that can only come from your Creator."

22. If you don't gain what this test promised, and still feel unfulfilled, will you be tempted to visit the webpage and read from these troubling resources?

23. What if your life purpose is not defined, measured, prescribed, or covered by the content of this test? What if you don't fit into the "box" or "zone"? Does that mean God isn't using you or that you aren't doing Christian service? Will you be "remediated" until you conform?

24. Can you do Christian service in your church, family or community without taking this psychological placement test? If not, why? Is this test a "passport" to Christian service?

25. Have you read Chapter 11 about the S.H.A.P.E. -- "Personality Profiling" -- in James Sundquist's Who's Driving the Purpose Driven Church? If not, there are hundreds more unanswered questions in those pages.

The Truth:

"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the Rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times; you people, pour our your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us. Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity." (Psalm 62:5-9)

© 2006 by Discernment Group

Posted with permission

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   See also New Spirituality: A portion of the truth? | ONE world, ONE faith, ONE plan

Inclusive Spirituality - New Age Transformation | The Emergent "Jesus Worldview"

Creating a "Community of Purpose" | Using CHANGE to facilitate TRANSFORMATION

C. Peter Wagner Redefines Genesis 1  &  Wilkinson's Dream For Africa is Shattered

Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism | The Newest Heresy of the NAR: Orality

A Blinding Darkness | Global Day of Prayer | The Second Reformation

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