About Our Community

Since 2006, 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. 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

Are you interested in joining our community as an instructor? Sign up for our newsletter, send us an email, or sign up for our next instructor or facilitator training. Learn more >



Meet Our Staff

steve wilke headshot

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 profile

Lisa Buffum is the Director of Online Education for the Institute for Discipleship. She makes sure that everything at 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



Miranda Priddy is the Director of Project Management for the Institute for Discipleship. She plans, organizes, and manages other ongoing projects of the Institute, runs the 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!


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.

 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?

dick-and-julia-wilkeBishop 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.


What others are saying…

“Please keep adding new courses.  BeADisciple is an invaluable resource for lay and clergy.”

I am HOOKED on I started taking courses for my Certified Lay Speaker certification but after taking 3 courses with your amazing instructors, I love the classes. I have started taking classes for other areas of my responsibilities in the church and even signed up for some classes just for my own faith. I am sitting here between classes and bummed that I don’t have a class I can post to. I will be taking classes from BeADisciple as long as they keep coming up with them.

I never imagined this format would work so well in how we learned from each other. Its refreshing to know God is calling so many others to his kingdom work.”
MICHAEL BEASLEY, North Carolina Annual Conference

I’ve taken many lay servant level classes before – and I can honestly say these two classes were the most interactive and informative classes I’ve been engaged in. EVER. I would highly recommend these courses to anyone who simply wants to grow in their faith journey. Worth every penny.”

BeADisciple is such a wonderful place to grow! I have taken more than a few classes from BeADisciple and have developed friendships from around the US that have continued long after the courses have ended and these relationships continue. I give thanks to God for these relationships and the opportunity given to create them through!

I was skeptical of this process, but I think I may have gotten more out of this workshop than a lot of real world/traditional classes that I have taken. It takes a little more time than a regular class, but you do not have to drive there and you do it when you have the time, including break time! Recommended!”
WILLIAM PATTON has been probably been “the” most important continuing education experience I have had in the last decade. With the online format, I had the flexibility to log on in my own time zone in line with my personal schedule. The real-time class discussions were fast, fun, and invigorating. The content of the courses has been relevant and continues to inform my ministry.”
PAMELA NELSON-MUNSON, Pastor, Trinity UMC, Eugene, OR

“I like taking courses from BeaADisciple. On-line learning matches my time availability and budget, and the courses match my interests.”

Thanks for all that BeADisciple provides in training courses.  I’ve had good success and appreciated the use of this training venue for 5 courses since last June and have enjoyed them all.”

I could have taken this same LSM class live at the UMC retreat center in my area, where on-site tuition, room, and meals run $200. As my congregation is paying for this, I consider the $70 online class to be a much better use of church funds. I also think the online class goes into much more detail than what you get at a live event, so is a better value on content as well.”

I’ve been very favorably impressed by the instructors and very grateful for the interactions with fellow followers of Christ from around the country. I enjoy getting to know people from other areas, to listen to their faith journeys and perspectives, and to learn more about their churches.

It was such a blessing to get those credits online!”

I am exceptionally pleased with the very real sense of being in a small group of friends, reasoning and praying together.”

In our local classes, I rarely say a word as I don’t always think fast on my feet. On-line gives me time to think things through and re-read and delete before I commit to speaking.”