About Our Community
Since 2006, BeADisciple.com has been committed to providing quality, online educational experiences with roots in Wesleyan theology. We offer online studies, workshops, and courses on a variety of ministry, formation, and leadership topics. Our goal is to make rich learning experiences accessible to church leaders and laity, no matter their location or life situation.
BeADisciple is also a community of people who are invested in becoming better Christian disciples. As courses are conducted in small groups with a trained facilitator or a certified instructor, students and instructors have an opportunity to get to know one another. Groups begin together, progress through materials, and end together. Individual students participate at the time of day that works best for their schedule and are not required to be online at the same time as other participants. Our courses are open to anyone, and there’s no membership fee to be a part of our community — simply enroll in a course that interests you! CEU credits are available for all of our courses.
While our background and primary perspective is United Methodist, we believe in an ecumenical mission. Students from any Mainline Protestant (Lutheran (ELCA), Presbyterian (PCUSA), Episcopal, United Church of Christ (UCC), American Baptist, Friends/Quakers, Disciples of Christ, Reformed Church in America, Metropolitan Community Churches, etc.) or Wesleyan (Nazarene, Free Methodist, African Methodist Episcopal (AME), Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME), African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion)) denomination ought to feel at home in most of our courses, and students from any Christian tradition will be able to learn and grow in their faith.
BeADisciple.com is one of several programs of the Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship at Southwestern College, a United Methodist institution in Winfield, Kansas. To learn about all of the Institute’s activities, visit http://www.institutefordiscipleship.org
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Meet Our Staff
Dr. Steve Wilke is the Executive Director of the Institute for Discipleship at Southwestern College, which is committed to bringing the educational online tools of our culture to churches. Steve dreams big and directs the work of the Institute.
Lisa Buffum is the Director of Online Education for the Institute for Discipleship. She makes sure that everything at BeADisciple.com runs smoothly and serves as our resident expert when it comes to online learning, course development, instructor training, customer service, and much more. Email Lisa at BeADisciple@sckans.edu.
Miranda Jones is the Director of Project Management for the Institute for Discipleship. She plans, organizes, and manages other ongoing projects of the Institute, runs the BeADisciple.com store and keeps track of finances and strategic planning.
Britt Bradley is the Director of Marketing & Communications for BeADisciple. She keeps our website and course information up to date, markets BeADisciple classes and projects, curates the From the Branches blog, and is the communicator behind BeADisciple social media.
Beth Galbreath is the Administrative Assistant for BeADisciple. She builds courses and manages course enrollments. She’s also a popular instructor on BeADisciple.com!
Shayla Jordan is the intern for BeADisciple and a current student at Southwestern College. She helps out with a little bit of everything, from writing and transcribing to organizing digital and physical information.
BeADisciple.com is a ministry of the Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship at Southwestern College. The Institute was chartered by Southwestern College, a United Methodist-affiliated 4-year university in Kansas, on April 20, 2001. Named for Bishop Richard Wilke and his wife, Julia, the Institute is dedicated to carrying on the Wilkes’ legacy by providing educational opportunities that build Christian communities, encouraging small groups that sustain and uplift their members, engaging in high quality theological content, and resourcing a global church.
The Institute has a standing board with two members appointed from Southwestern College’s Board of Trustees.
Who are Richard and Julia Wilke?
Bishop Richard (Dick) Wilke is currently serving as Bishop-in-Residence at Southwestern College. With his wife, Julia, Dick coordinated, designed, and wrote the DISCIPLE Bible study, a training for Christian leaders, with nearly three million graduates in more than 10,000 congregations in 30 denominations. The DISCIPLE series is now available in a wide variety of languages, including Korean, Spanish, French, German, two dialects of Chinese, and several Southeast Asian languages.
Elected to the episcopacy of the United Methodist Church in 1984, Bishop Wilke served for 12 years in the Arkansas area. While serving as bishop, he worked to emphasize church growth and evangelism, at all times maintaining his love for the local church. He served on boards of colleges, hospitals, and on general boards of the United Methodist Church. Dick continues to reside in Winfield, Kansas, after Julia’s passing in 2016. The couple has four children, nine grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.