Why does the Institute exist?
Christians of all kinds struggle to know how to grow closer to God. To help light the way, the Institute for Discipleship creates and supports ministries that provide Christians with training and opportunities to become better disciples of Jesus.
This tri-annual newsletter tells you what we’re working on — both online and on the ground at Southwestern College. If you’d like to support or become involved with any of our programs, we’ve included an easy way to help under each item. Thank you for being on our team.
Executive Director, Institute for Discipleship
BeADisciple reaches 10,000 learners & adds a new certification
Being a disciple of Jesus is more than simply going to church every Sunday. BeADisciple.com gives laypeople a way to grow in their faith that works with their busy schedules. As of this year, BeADisciple has helped over 10,000 people go deeper in their faith and become stronger disciples!
Another exciting announcement — BeADisciple has recently partnered with Wesley Theological Seminary to host a lay certification. Hosted through Wesley’s lay academy, online classes begin in January and feature videos and discussion material hosted by seminary professors and experts in their field. This certification is perfect for laypeople who want in-depth instruction on deeper theological topics from trusted experts.
> Watch for people who would like an easily-accessible way to take their faith development to the next level, and tell them about BeADisciple.com.
Timothy Circle launching next year through partnership with Foundation for Evangelism
The Timothy Circle, a website for young people wanting to discern God’s call in their lives, is in development and will launch in 2017. Multiple design teams are working together to provide content for youth, parents, mentors, and supporting organizations. A training course is being built for mentors and will open for enrollments in early 2017.
The Foundation for Evangelism, which underwrites the program, is providing resources to help churches strengthen their culture of nurturing call in their members. The Foundation will be developing a workshop for pastors and church leaders as a part of the project.
> If you would like to be involved in the design process of the Timothy Circle, please sign up. Nominate a church that is already doing a good job of nurturing call for a Culture of the Call Award on the Foundation website.
New cohort for master’s in youth ministry starting in January
Who will fill our pews in 30 years if we’re not effectively reaching young people with the gospel of Jesus? The Institute is overseeing an affordable master’s degree in youth ministry to ensure that youth directors in our churches are well-trained to be high-quality leaders and educators as they develop young disciples. This degree focuses on practical, applicable approaches to youth ministry based on the latest research and techniques. A new cycle of classes for the Master of Arts in Specialized Ministry is starting this January.
> Forward this email to someone you know who would benefit from a master’s in youth ministry and highlight this section. All the information about applying for the degree can be found at www.beadisciple.com/masm/youth.
The Institute celebrates the 30th anniversary of DISCIPLE with international celebrations
The Institute for Discipleship hosted seven celebrations at major Methodist gatherings from May through September to celebrate the 30 th anniversary of DISCIPLE Bible Study. In addition to each of the United Methodist jurisdictional conferences this summer, the Institute and the Wilke family were at General Conference in Portland and the World Methodist Conference in Houston.
The General Conference celebration featured speakers such as Dick Wilke, who co-authored the studies; original DISCIPLE video host Dr. Zan Holmes; Winnie Grizzle, who managed the DISCIPLE office at the publishing house; Rev. Niam Kai Huey, who directs the Singapore DISCIPLE office which is actively translating DISCIPLE into several additional Southeast Asian languages; and the first person to sign up for a DISCIPLE training in 1987 — now-bishop Michael Watson.
> See photos from the events and access DISCIPLE trivia and stories on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DISCIPLE30. Consider starting or revitalizing a DISCIPLE program in your church using the original study, Disciple Fast Track, or DISCIPLE Online.
Dates set for the first Summit Youth Academy: July 23-29, 2017
We believe everyone has a call from God to do meaningful Kingdom work in this world. W e’re helping young people hear their call and follow God so they can live fruitful lives of faith.
Young people especially struggle to find their unique passions, strengths, and purpose. The Summit will give them the tools to hear their calling and establish mentoring relationships that will help them pursue their calling into the future. The academy takes 56-64 rising high school juniors and seniors through a study of Wesleyan theology, vocational discernment, and service/mission experience. The first Summit will be July of 2017 on the Southwestern campus, and is being made possible through a grant from the Eli Lilly Foundation.
> If you know a current sophomore or junior in a 350-mile radius of Southwestern College who would benefit from the Summit, please send them our direction. You can recommend a young person at this link. Learn more at www.summityouthacademy.org.
Amp It Up camp prepares young people to lead worship
Many churches would like to have thriving worship bands, but it can be hard to find musicians trained to lead worship. Amp It Up camp is changing that.
For the past three summers, Amp It Up has hosted high school students for one week on Southwestern’s campus to teach worship leadership and musical skills. The experience pairs campers with Southwestern’s Worship Outreach bands and professional musicians as adult mentors.
“It’s good to have the experience of talking to other [musicians] and get some insights on what they do to get a different perspective so you know how to push yourself,” said Emma Bathurst, a participant from the 2016 camp.
The next Amp It Up camp will be June 1-5, 2017. Registration is already open.
Stephen Gunter joins IFD board
The Institute is pleased to announce a new member to itsboard. Dr. Stephen Gunter earned his Ph.D. in historical and systematic theology in The Netherlands. He currently is Associate Dean and Research Professor of Evangelism and Wesleyan Studies at Duke Divinity School in North Carolina.
Dr. Gunter specializes in the life and thought of Jacobus Arminius and John Wesley. In addition to supervising global exchanges at Duke, he teaches courses and oversees programs that relate specifically to the Methodist and Wesleyan traditions, with special emphasis on evangelism and discipleship formation. Dr. Gunter has authored over seven books. The Institute is glad to have his guidance, vision, and expertise!