Steve Wilke, vice president for planning and new programs, stands in front of the United Methodist symbol. Wilke was nominated for United Methodist of the Year by Lisa Buffum, Institute For Discipleship assistant director. Alejandra Rojas/Collegian photographer

By Blake Carter
Staff reporter

Back in December Steve Wilke, vice president for planning and new programs, was nominated United Methodist of Year from the “United Methodist Reporter,” the international Methodist publication, which highlights Methodists internationally for service.

Lisa Buffum, Institute For Discipleship assistant director nominated Wilke. She said she felt like his work with was instrumental in traveling and promoting the efforts to bring online educational opportunities for Christian leaders in the United Methodist Church and other denominations.

“Steve’s nomination brings national recognition to Southwestern College within the UMC.  SC’s support of the Institute for Discipleship, which includes is the foundation for our success,” Buffum said.

Wilke explained that is a password protected website that used the Blackboard system to have Bible studies and lessons.

“What’s great about this website is that it lets people all around the world, have a chance to study outside of church and keep feeding their faith,” said Wilke. “It’s professional like an online class and through that people can meet outside of the class through social networks and continue to grow in their faith together.

Wilke said people in Africa and other countries have benefited from this website.

“It’s truly wonderful that these online programs can be taught in groups at local churches, or all around the world and truly use the internet’s capabilities,” said Wilke.

Rev. Ashlee Alley, director of campus ministry, said she thought this nomination could not have happened at better time.

“This is truly a wonderful time for this to happen to Steve. This way we can show people what a great website this is and benefits it has for everyone,” said Alley. “There is really no one better deserving than Steve to be nominated for all hard work he put in.”

Blake Carter is a senior majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at


Edited by Alejandra Rojas