ONE kingdom: Discipleship is the way!

By Heather Auker

Discipling people around the world to become a “transforming power of one” for the kingdom of God.

As Christians, God has commissioned each of us to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”(Matthew 28:19).

This Great Commission compels everyone belonging to the kingdom of God to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.

In our world today, more than 4 in 10 people still live without access to the gospel — that’s billions of people — including entire communities, cities and regions — who don’t know Jesus. As Global Partners (GP), we exist to reach them.

We take a prayerful and strategic approach to launching and growing local churches in global communities. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the result is a ripple effect of disciples making disciples and churches planting churches, until the gospel is spread from everywhere to everywhere.


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Discipleship is a pivotal step of inviting people to join God’s kingdom, and a pivotal step of helping people discover who God created them to be. Because of that, discipleship is an opportunity we seek all over the world. In fact, “Making Disciples” is central to our 5-Phase global strategy.

One day at a time, people are coming to know the Lord. They’re finding themselves transformed in the presence of our great God. They’re discovering their callings into ministry and global service.


Discipleship is taking place across the nations.

Barry and Christy Van Steenburg, former missionaries in Panama and current regional mobilizers in the Southeastern region, actively journey with individuals who are discerning their kingdom role.

This journey itself is very much a discipleship process.

“At various stages along the way, they are confronted with entrusting more of themselves, their will and their plans and dreams to the Lord,” the Van Steenburgs said. “Recognition of the Lord’s calling in one’s life and the commitment to pursue it only comes about through the discipleship process.”


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In the summer of 2023, the Van Steenburgs were able to connect with an individual whom God radically transformed less than a year prior. Within that transformation, God called the individual to missionary service.

Through engaging in discipleship, the Van Steenburgs had the opportunity to walk alongside the individual in their mission journey, validate their transformation and confirm the Lord’s calling. Eventually, they also guided the individual toward a NEXT internship.

“Because of their growth through discipleship, even when outside circumstances, voices of doubt and funding struggles began to rise up, they were able to keep their eyes and heart fixed on Jesus and his calling in their life,” the Van Steenburgs wrote.

Discipleship is a necessary focus in South Asia as well. Tom explained that this is an essential understanding in South Asia, where there can be serious repercussions to becoming a Christian — like being rejected by your family or persecuted.


“Because of persecution and rejection, discipleship and a relationship of trust are a prerequisite to making a decision for Christ, different than what we see in the Western world,” Tom wrote. “Discipleship is the way! It was Jesus’ way as well.”

As Global Partners, if we are to truly make a difference among the 4 in 10 who are living without access to the gospel, the Van Steenburgs added we need to be raising up and sending out Christ-followers who are living transformationally.

“That doesn’t happen without a commitment to discipleship — both on their end and on ours,” they wrote.

We long for the day when every tongue, tribe and nation will join in praising the one true king of kings. Until then, we must remain committed to the work ahead.