Bishop Wilke prepares DISCIPLE study guide for UM men

April 12th, 2010


NASHVILLE, Tenn.––Bishop Richard B. Wilke, the principal architect and author of DISCIPLE Bible Study, has produced a “Meditation and Action Guide” for UM men studying DISCIPLE II. The guide offers personal meditations for men and weekly calls to action.

Nearly two million people in 10,000 congregations have completed at least one of four DISCIPLE courses. The men’s guide is designed to accompany DISCIPLE II “Into the Word and Into the World,” a 16-week study of Genesis, Exodus and a 16-week study of Luke-Acts. Participants are encouraged to evaluate and reorder their priorities in response to God’s call. The study guide suggests weekly actions that provide services to others.

“While DISCIPLE Bible Studies were designed for both men and women, there are issues and actions that are particularly focused on men,” said Wilke. “I hope this new study guide––especially designed for men––will encourage active churchmen and men who don’t normally attend church services to engage in a study of the beginning chapters of the Hebrew Scriptures and Luke’s story of the beginning of Christianity.”

The booklet is produced in cooperation with the General Commission on UM Men.

“The commission is excited to partner with Bishop Wilke and the UM Publishing House to offer a men's ministry resource to complement the powerful and popular DISCIPLE II curriculum,” said Larry Malone, director of men's ministry. “We are pleased to encourage deep disciple-building resources that come from within the UMC. This supplement may also be used as a small group exercise for men using personal meditations for spiritual growth.”

“It is a privilege to provide the DISCIPLE constellation of resources for the holy work of living as faithful followers of Jesus Christ,” said Neil Alexander, president and publisher of the UM Publishing House. “We continue to hear stories from all over the world that reveal spectacular evidence of faith strengthened, hearts opened, minds engaged, and lives transformed through DISCIPLE BIBLE STUDY. It is our hope that this new study guide, when paired with INTO THE WORD, INTO THE WORLD, will help men read Scripture with new eyes and commit to live vital and faithful Christian lives.”

Good beginning

While the study guide is designed to be used with the second of four DISCIPLE Bible studies, the bishop suggests this is still a good beginning point for UM Men. The study begins with creation and men are asked to find ways to protect God’s magnificent creation by clearing up a street, a river or a vacant lot.

As the second 16-week study begins with Luke-Acts, Wilke reminds his readers that Luke was a physician who gave us good news in his gospel and in his history of the early church. He then invites men to think of the times they have received good news from a doctor, pastor or employer. They are then invited to think of the good news of Jesus’ love, forgiveness, new life and life beyond death.

Persons leading DISCIPLE groups for men may want to substitute Wilke’s suggestions for some of the regular study questions, or they may simply supplement existing study questions. There are countless ways in which the study can be tailored to meet the needs of the participants.

The author

Currently serving as bishop-in-residence at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kans., Wilke was elected to the episcopacy in 1984 and served the Arkansas Area for 12 years. Prior to presiding over the Little Rock and North Arkansas Annual Conferences, Wilke served as pastor of First UM Church in Wichita for over 10 years.

After serving several Kansas churches, he served as superintendent of the Winfield (Kansas) District from June 1971 to January 1974 when he was appointed to the Wichita congregation.

Bishop Wilke is especially well qualified to write a study guide for men as he not only designed and wrote most of the DISCIPLE studies, he began a unit of UM Men in 1983 while serving as pastor of the Wichita church.

Download the study guide here

DISCIPLE II resources can be ordered from Cokesbury at 1-800-672-1789, at, or at your local Cokesbury store.