Ministry leadership begins with a discontent about the status quo and a compelling desire for change. A leader lives in the midst of several tensions: between the past and the future, between the desire to move forward and the desire to stay, and between uncertainty and safety. No wonder leading is so full of risk and failure.

The wilderness is one of God’s primary places of preparation for or renewal of leadership. An examination of the stories of people like Moses and Paul suggests several human realities that put a leader into a wilderness experience: physical challenges, enemies in opposition, the siftings of Satan, and personal desires.

Ultimately, behind the scenes, Father God is at work; He calls me to “count it joy” when I experience these temptations and trials because this is how I grow in faith and endurance. (James 1:2-3). Only as I look through the lens of faith and see my future eschatological hope can I make sense of this paradox.

I believe the reasons why God allows me to experience the wilderness are to know Him more intimately and understand myself more completely. Grasping His intent requires discernment and a heart open to learning. The impact of the wilderness on me physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually may confuse me, but as I allow God to address me personally, I embrace my awareness both in terms of who I am and what He wants me to become. As His beloved child, I am free from self-condemnation because Christ bore my sins; I can now serve Him in a response of love, not fear or guilt. I find freedom from self-censorship and fear of the judgment of others. I open myself to discover what God desires to teach me in my wilderness experience.

Three elements are essential in this discovery process:

My willingness to seek God in the midst of my fears and in the context of His love and grace.

My willingness to let God renew my mind which changes my thinking and social behavior patterns from the inside out.

My willingness to embrace safe companions who will provide guidance, nurturing, and mentoring.

Welcome to the heart of the Next Gen Leadership experience.


Marvin has journeyed with NextGen many years in ministry. He carries the cross of Jesus with us and knows the path of suffering for the sake of Jesus. And his love and passion for you are demonstrated by all those who are mentored by him. Each of you can testify to his love, wisdom, prayer, and persistence to be a friend to your soul. He is the Canadian director for