November 6, 2023 — The BeADisciple Study App has been named best in class for internet communications in the 2023 United Methodist Association of Communicators Awards competition.
The app, which began public beta testing in August 2023, is a ministry of the Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship and is designed to be the next generation of small-group Christian study. It combines quality content with the dynamism of digital technology and the power of small-group study. All study materials are on the app, including lessons, videos, readings, and the complete Common English Bible.
In addition to complete personal study information, users attend small-group meetings through Zoom conferencing and have 24/7 connection through messaging and discussion threads.
Judges were impressed by the ambitious scope of the project.
“This app is amazing!” one judge wrote. “Very robust with so many features to engage the user. It’s easy to navigate and very aesthetically pleasing.”
In addition to mobile apps, categories in the internet class included websites (two divisions), blogs, and social media (two divisions).
The app was in development and testing for more than two years before being offered for purchase on the App Store and Google Play beginning in August. Studies available now include the Disciple I and Disciple II Fast Track programs. More Disciple studies will be added soon, and additional authors and topics are expected to be part of the offerings.
“This award is wonderful affirmation of a resource we believe will help us realize our vision of a new generation of small-group studies,” says Dr. Steve Wilke, executive director of the Institute for Discipleship. “Our goal was to bring this new resource to churches and other faith communities across the country and around the world to address the symptoms and causes of our shrinking Christian congregations: declining church attendance and engagement, biblical illiteracy, and social isolation, all exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
App users can form small groups to study the Bible within their own acquaintances or congregations, although many of the groups are made up of people from across the country or around the world. The app makes real-time connections possible without regard to geographical boundaries.
“I am so pleased with the work of the Institute staff and volunteers who have done so much, and for the wonderful development team led by Vince Putera, president of Akar Inti Teknologi in Jakarta, Indonesia,” Wilke added. Putera is an alumnus of Southwestern College, a comprehensive college in Winfield, Kansas, where the Institute is located.
More information is available at BeADiscipleApp.com.
The Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship is dedicated to providing Christian resources and education that build disciples and strengthen ministries. More information is at InstituteforDiscipleship.org.
UMAC is a voluntary professional organization designed to provide recognition, fellowship, and vocational enrichment for professional and volunteer communicators of the United Methodist Church. Each year the UMAC Awards Contest recognizes excellence in print publications, digital publications, writing, internet communications, video production, audio, photography, visual design, publicity/advertising, and media presentations.