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Global Disciples Appoints Josh Keefer as Interim CEO
Global Disciples
June 12, 2024

LANCASTER, Penn., June 12, 2024 /Standard Newswire/ -- Galen Burkholder has stepped down as CEO of the Lancaster-based missions organization, Global Disciples, after a 7-year transition period planned together with the Board of Directors. Josh Keefer has assumed the role of Interim CEO effective today.

Burkholder founded the near-culture missions organization in 1996 and has served as CEO since. The 67-year-old wanted to step down while in good health and at a time when the organization is flourishing. Global Disciples currently has 3,535 training programs running in 76 countries. Its mission is to equip indigenous churches of more than 1,200 fellowships or denominations to make Christlike disciples and establish locally-sustainable fellowships.

"The Board thanks Galen for his leadership and for serving Global Disciples well over the past 28 years," says Chairman of the Board of Directors, Nelson Longenecker. "He has multiplied leaders who are well-equipped to carry Global Disciples forward into the next season."

Under Burkholder's leadership, Global Disciples developed a near-culture approach to missions in response to churches worldwide asking for discipleship training for young leaders in their nations. Global Disciples provides practical training for leaders living near the one-third of the world considered least-reached. The least-reached are people groups who have never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that they can understand and respond.

Burkholder turns leadership over to Keefer, who previously served in an operational leadership role at Global Disciples. The former CEO will continue as Ambassador and Founder, nurturing long-term relationships with donors, speaking on behalf of the missions group, and exploring collaboration with other missions agencies. Keefer will serve as Interim CEO for nine to 12 months, while the Board conducts a search for a new CEO.

Keefer is a Sr. Consultant and Partner of North Group Consultants of Lititz, Pennsylvania. He left Global Disciples for the consulting group at the end of 2017. His diverse background includes nonprofit leadership, business, real estate, and ministry. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.

"I can't think of anyone I'd rather have step in as Interim CEO than Josh. We worked together for six years before Josh's time at North Group," says Burkholder.

The Interim CEO will oversee the missions organization at a time when it's experiencing phenomenal growth. It took Global Disciples 21 years to reach the first 1,000 training programs, four more to reach 2,000, and just two more to surpass the 3,000 milestone.

Keefer says he will focus his tenure on listening and learning as he leads. He is tasked with assessing the current needs of the organization while pledging to keep the missions' model simple and reproducible.

About Global Disciples
Global Disciples assists in the development of locally-sustainable trainings in discipleship-mission, small business, and leadership, which result in reproducing fellowships of believers. We equip, connect, and facilitate cooperation in the global Body of Christ among clusters of churches in 76 nations focused on reaching those least-reached with the Gospel. We believe that local expressions of the Body of Christ in close proximity to least-reached people are best able to reach them to see every person have an opportunity to choose and follow Jesus Christ. For more information, go to

SOURCE Global Disciples

CONTACT: Sherry lee, 404-903-0380