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 develops relationships with partners, dreams big, and directs the overall work of the Institute.

Lori Richey is the Director of Online Education for the Institute for Discipleship. She oversees BeADisciple.com courses and certifications, as well as the work of the entire BeADisciple team. She loves connecting learners and instructors to the quality educational content found at BeADisciple.com.

Kathy Armington is the Director of App-Based Learning. She leads the technical, community, and content development of the BeADisciple Study App, a new mobile platform promoting spiritual growth of Christian disciples via paced personal study and facilitated small group interaction.

Dr. Cheryl Rude

Dr. Cheryl Rude is the Director of Campus Programs and Operation. She coordinates the Institute’s on-campus programs, including oversight of the Visiting Scholars, Bishops Scholars, Summit, Builders in Ministry, and Bridges to the Future conference. Cheryl also works with the Institute’s Board of Directors, Southwestern College faculty and staff, and supports church relations efforts with the United Methodist Church and its clergy.

Melissa Hanson is the Administration & Finance Manager for the Institute for Discipleship. Her responsibilities focus on administration relating to BeADisciple.com (including managing course schedules and creating the content of the BeADisciple website), as well as being in charge of the overall financial operations of the Institute.

Britt Bradley is the Digital Systems Manager for the Institute. She oversees all of the Institute’s websites as well as its data and communications systems. Britt also assists with content for the BeADisciple Study App, designs promotional materials and graphics for the Institute’s ministries, and manages the Timothy Circle project alongside Steve.

Sara Weinert is Communications Manager for the Institute for Discipleship. In addition to writing and sending all of the Institute’s regular newsletters, she also manages press communications.


Krysta Wood is the Administrative Assistant for the IFD, covering all the tasks that keep us running smoothly.


Dr. Michael Beardslee is the Advanced Christian Studies and LMS Administrator. He manages partnered certifications such as the Wesley Academy and most things related to BeADisciple’s learning management system, Blackboard.

Rev. Beth Perry is the Instructor Support Specialist for BeADiscple.com.  Beth comes alongside brand-new and experienced instructors to provide support in all areas of course creation, design, implementation, and evaluation, providing coaching, instructor training, and monthly instructor meetings. She has been a popular instructor on BeADisciple.com since 2008.

Rev. Beth Galbreath is the Registrar for BeADisciple.com. She provides customer service for BeADisciple, manages course enrollment and certification records, and supports instructors and learners. She herself is also a popular instructor on BeADisciple.com!

Sarah Wilke is the Coordinator of Global Relations. Her role is to support the Institute’s growing focus on international ministry, helping expand the reach of the Institute beyond the United States geographically, beyond English-speaking persons, and beyond white/European backgrounds. Sarah also provides content and communications support for the BeADisciple Study App.

Rev. Dr. Paul R. Wilke is a newly-retired United Methodist pastor with 41 years of experience in churches large and small. Paul gained his D.Min from United Theological Seminary in the area of group life. Paul brings passion to help churches with virtual group life to supplement their discipleship activities. He is on the staff as a volunteer.


Rev. Jacob Maforo is the director for the Building for the Future conference.