The NextGen Blog:

No, we are not interested in the blog-land of celebrity pastors! They carry an oversized influence in the West for sure, but this is not what we desire. Our passion is you. This blog is a community project. It provides the space for mutual voices within the NextGen Fam to speak and share with one another; a movement of one-another-ness.

Please know I am desperately wanting your voice to be heard in this space.

October 11-15, 2021 will soon be upon us. Over the next weeks you will hear from our speaking team and some from our Envision-discerning team. We will keep these blogs short (of sorts) and hopefully useful to your soul and team.

Why Soul and cultivating healthy teams as our dual theme for this October? Because the Discernment Team felt we are not yet finished dealing the development of the soul in mission nor the cultivation of healthy teams. So, enjoy the ride with us.

A few initial thoughts are in order:

First, let’s face it, we suck at community and team development.

(Did that word get your attention? Suck??? Gag. It’s a common word these days.) It’s no doubt an overstatement. There are spots where teams are healthy.

But let me say, that while the missions industry has been analyzed for attrition, and the stats are not good, could we not say the same of you pastors here in the USA? Do not pastors suck at team development with their elders, deacons, ministry teams? Just notice the high turnover of pastors, staff members, tensions with elders and deacons!! This is not just a missions malady.

It is safe to say that developing healthy teams is not easy.

That’s why I am calling us to a grounding text of Acts 13:1-3. What an incredible picture of the life of the early church. Is this a healthy team? See how diverse the team is? Prophets and teachers. Jews and Gentiles, black and while, upper class and lower. Practices shaped this team. Worship, prayer, fasting, discerning marked their agenda. What do your staff or leadership team agenda items cover? The Spirit pervaded the meeting. Not bad.

So, of all the possible conversations about healthy teams and soul care, how many actually focus on spiritual formation and discernment practices? How are you pastors shaping your leaders rather than just migrating back to the default settings of American leadership power dynamics?

So, journey with us Oct. 11-15 as we press into cultivating the soil and soul of healthy teams. Join us. Saturate yourself in the grounding text of Acts 13:1-3 and seek to apply the practices of soul-caring nurture in preparation for our time together.


Dr. O’Neill and his wife Sterling are the founders of NextGen Leaders and the NextGen Leaders Conference. Partnering with many people(s) and organizations across the globe, Jim seeks to hear and empower the next generation of leaders to reach their people in their space as they are.