A legacy of faith, scholarship,
and innovation

The BeADisciple Study App and the digital version of Disciple Fast Track is the culmination of decades-long collaborations among educators, scholars, content producers, and information-technology specialists, led by these key individuals and organizations:

Richard and Julia Wilke

Authors of the original DISCIPLE Bible Study

Richard Wilke, a United Methodist bishop, and his late wife, Julia, a gifted Christian educator, wrote all four studies in the original DISCIPLE series, first published in 1987.

For 30 years of his ministry, Richard Wilke served several United Methodist pulpits in his native Kansas before being elected bishop in 1984 and going on to serve for 12 years in Arkansas. He gained a national profile in 1986 with his influential best-seller, And Are We Yet Alive?, a prescription to address pressing issues in the denomination.

A native of Texarkana, Texas, Julia Wilke was a lifelong student of the Bible and a partner in her husband’s ministry, playing pivotal roles in Christian education at the churches they served. Committed to growing and strengthening the church through biblical literacy, the couple identified a pressing need for long-term Bible study and, in 1986, brought it to the attention of the United Methodist Publishing House.

After participating in planning with several leading biblical scholars, the Wilkes were invited by the United Methodist Publishing House to write the study. Released in 1987, “DISCIPLE: Becoming Disciples Through Bible Study” proved so successful that the Wilkes went on to write three more studies in the series: “Into the Word, Into the World” (1991), “Remember Who You Are” (1996), and “Under the Tree of Life” (2001). Combined, the series has been taken more than 3 million times by participants around the world.

Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship

Creator of the BeADisciple Study App

Chartered in 2001 to carry forward the Wilkes’ legacy, it is dedicated to providing quality Christian resources to both lay people and clergy. Located at Southwestern College, a United Methodist school in Winfield, Kansas, the institute specializes in distance learning, and the app is its latest step toward expanding the power of the Bible and small-group study. Other ministries include Christian continuing education courses at www.BeADisciple.com and call discernment and resources for youth, young adults, and the ministries that serve them at www.TimothyCircle.com.  Learn more about the work of the Institute at www.InstituteforDiscipleship.org.

United Methodist Publishing House

Publisher of DISCIPLE and Disciple Fast Track series

The UMPH is the publisher of the DISCIPLE Bible Study series and Disciple Fast Track, and it has formed a collaboration with the Institute for Discipleship to produce the digital version of Disciple Fast Track. With roots reaching back to 1789, the publishing house is the oldest and largest general agency of the United Methodist Church. As the official publisher of the denomination, it develops, produces, and distributes a wide variety of Christian curriculum, books, Bibles, and multimedia resources and supplies.

Susan Wilke Fuquay

Developer of Disciple Fast Track and digital version

The daughter of the DISCIPLE authors, Fuquay is an accomplished Christian educator who was among the first trainers for DISCIPLE leaders, and she adapted the original curriculum into a youth version of DISCIPLE, published in 1988. In 2016, she developed the Disciple Fast Track series for the United Methodist Publishing House. Most recently, she has led a team of scholars and writer/editors to revise, expand, and update the Fast Track curriculum, and she has directed the creation of the digital version of Disciple Fast Track.

Bruce Birch, Ph.D.

Lead consulting scholar

The dean emeritus and professor emeritus of biblical theology at Wesley Theological Seminary, Birch was the lead consulting scholar in the development of the digital version of Disciple Fast Track. An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, he is a former chair of the Council for the Society of Biblical Literature and the author and co-author of numerous books, including A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament. He also served as an editor for the New Interpreter’s Bible and contributed commentary.