Special Guest Contributors

Our special guest contributors are men and women who have an exceptional expertise in the field in which they write.

James O’Neill, D.Miss.

Faith Contributor

Professor at Liberty University & President of the Center for Global Mission (CGM)

CGM is designed to facilitate mission movements among all peoples and host yearly Next Generation Leadership Conferences for younger leaders growing in ministry capacity serving the global church. Jim is married to Sterling O’Neill for 35 years. They have 4 grown children, three now happily married with 4 grandchildren. Jim and Sterling served in Asia for 13 years primarily involved in developing church planting movements, leadership development for the church movement and aided in compassion ministries. Jim has given time since then to training tomorrow’s leaders at Liberty University and Tennessee Temple University. It was during the days of teaching and equipping future leaders that their work with Next Generation Leaders took shape. As well, Jim and Sterling have served in mission leadership for two key North American mission agencies over a period of 13 years, CrossWorld Mission and ABWE. Sterling works with women preparing for mission service through her blogs, sterlingoneill.com and her work as a coach for ministry leaders. The Global Focus Curriculum is a key tool God is using to equip churches all over the world. Jim has taught Global Focus to seminaries all over North America and looks forward to joining Ralph Canada and the Global Focus Team to serve the church.


Jim has a graduate degree in theology from Grace Seminary in 1995 and a doctorate in anthropology from Western Seminary in 2000.

Monte Shanks, Ph.D.

Faith Contributor

Assistant Professor of New Testament at Liberty University

Dr. Monte Shanks is currently an Assistant Professor of New Testament at Liberty University, and as also taught for other educational institutions. After earning a business degree at the University of South Florida, he began his theological training at Dallas Theological Seminary where he earned a Th.M. with a double major in Biblical Exposition and Christian Education. Afterwards he served as a campus chaplain with an Evangelical para-church ministry for 11 years while ministering at various secular universities throughout the mid-west. He then returned to school and earned a Ph.D. with a double major in New Testament Studies and Early Church History from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife have 2 sons and been married to for approximately 30 years. He is also an ordained minister, and has published several articles in various theological journals, and is the author of Papias and the New Testament, which was published by Pickwick in 2013. He also maintains “Ologos Weblog” website, which can be found at mashanks.wordpress.com; this website is dedicated to addressing important biblical and cultural issues facing today’s Evangelical church.

Joseph Butler, Ed.D.

Faith Contributor

Joe and his wife Hannah live with their three precious children in Upstate New York. God changed the direction of Joe’s ministry after their youngest, Benji, was born at 26 weeks and with Down Syndrome.  Joe is a strong advocate of the role of the Church and family to support those who do not have a voice to speak for themselves. This may be the result of physical and mental disabilities or individuals who come from a background where they did not have the needed support. Joe and his wife are currently in the middle of an international adoption for a child with special needs. As well, Joe has served with a local para-church organization who focuses on sharing the Gospel and providing a safe environment for Middle & High School students. Joe serves as a Youth Pastor within his local Church.  As well, Joe serves as an Instructional Mentor and Assistant Professor at Liberty University’s School of Divinity.

Ashton C. Smith, D. Min.

Faith Contributor

Dr. Ashton C. Smith has been a pastor for 33 years and an online professor at Liberty University since 2007, teaching leadership, evangelism, and research and writing. He’s been married to the love of his life, Lori, since 1985. They met while working in Christian radio. A native of Richmond, Va., Smith currently resides in Kennesaw, Ga.


Travis Thompson

Travis Thompson is a student of Christian Ministry at the New Orleans Baptist
Theological Seminary. He has a calling from the Lord Jesus to pastor a church and teach the Word of God. As to his call to ministry, he has preached several times at his home churches in the Greater New Orleans Metropolitan area. He plans to finish his bachelor’s degree at Leavell College at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and also earn a master’s of divinity in theology. Travis has been involved in the political process for nearly four years. During this time, he has volunteered on many campaigns, both local and national. Travis’s main goal is to please the Lord by serving Him and equipping the saints in the local church.