The Institute for Discipleship is dedicated to providing Christian resources and education that build disciples and strengthen ministries.

Guiding Principles

  • The primary work of the Institute is to assist disciples of Jesus in gaining a deeper understanding of God, themselves, and their relationship with God.
  • The primary strategy of the Institute is to make accessible learning opportunities known for quality content, community and good leadership.
  • The primary organizational structure of the Institute is to work within Southwestern College in a way that is mutually beneficial.
  • The primary focus of the Institute is twofold: one involving direct contact with the campus in Winfield, and the other global in nature with programming online.
  • The primary role of the Institute is to be the connection point for Southwestern College to the church at large.

These guiding principles are a reflection of the values held by Richard and Julie Wilke, for whom the Institute is named.

Background and Direction

In the first ten years of the Institute’s history, much of its time and effort was spent on building capacity and finding the best ways to fulfill its mission to address church leadership needs and expand the educational reach of Southwestern College. For the next decade of its existence, the Institute will work to strengthen its financial position, integrate further into the life of the college, and expand globally.

Educational Focus

1) Student Ministries

Student Ministries are for persons primarily in junior high, high school, and college. The age range is approximately 14 to 24 with most of the students served being 16 to 22 years of age.

The Institute supports the following programs in this area: The Summit, the Visiting Scholar, Bishop Scholars, Amp It Up, and the Timothy Circle. The primary purpose is to extend the mission of the college to serve students as they explore their faith, their calling and come to understand their leadership abilities. The Institute programs help students:

  • hear the call of the Holy Spirit in their lives
  • to be identified and nurtured by persons in their communities as they grow in their faith
  • find outstanding discipleship-building opportunities
  • have the programming, mentoring, peer interaction, and guidance to grow into thoughtful, highly committed disciples of Jesus.

2) Adult Ministry Continuing Education

The Institute’s main effort in adult continuing education is to expand online classes and workshops globally through BeADisciple.com. Most of the classes offer continuing education units (CEUs). These classes provide a value-added option in the church world for online educational experiences which have rich content (often copyrighted), instruction or facilitation, and group discussion. The focus in this area is to assist other continuing education ministries (teachers and organization) by providing them administrative, instructional, technological, and marketing support.

The Institute provides continuing education for a visiting scholar. Continuing education for adults in the areas of mission and international Methodist relations is the focus of the Building for the Future conference. The Institute also supports a Builders in Ministry network to assist Southwestern College alumni who are in ministry network with each other and with continuing educational programs and resources.

3) Adult Degree Education

The College offers a Master of Arts in Specialized Ministries, which is supported academically and administratively by the Institute. This degree is highly accessible in terms of location, time, and cost, and is designed for working adults. The first emphasis being offered with this degree is youth ministry. In coordination with the overall College plan, we anticipate adding additional areas of emphasis as we identify markets and as demand grows.