Category: Discipleship

Discipleship and the Church

A few years back I was catching up with a friend who is on staff with a campus ministry. He loves the lost and has a real desire to see the world, and students in particular, come to faith and grow in maturity. As we discussed his plan to disciple his students, he mentioned there […]

John Onwuchekwa | Downline Podcast

John Onwuchekwa @jawno A native of Houston, TX and a graduate of Baylor University, John received an MA from Dallas Theological Seminary. After serving with two church plants, John was sent out with a core team to plant Cornerstone Church in the Historic West End of Atlanta.  He and his wife, Shaundra, have been married […]

On the Summit

Christianity is a public faith.  Biblically, from God’s national covenant with Israel, to Jesus’s twelve disciples and his seventy mentionable followers, to the first church gathering after Jesus’s resurrection, believing relationships with God have existed in assembly.   When Luke records the church’s birth, he’s intent that his readers grasp how the faith gestates in community.  […]

Meet the Speakers | #DownlineSummit 2017

Léonce B. Crump Jr. Founding Pastor, Renovation Church Pastor Léonce B. Crump Jr. is an activist, author, social commentator, and the founding pastor of Renovation Church. In 2006 he felt called to plant a transcultural, socially conscious church, and through prayerful seeking of direction settled on the urban core of Atlanta. In early 2008 he […]

Shad and Corey – 2017 #DownlineSummit | Downline Podcast

Twitter: @shaddeanberry Shad Berry serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director for Downline Ministries. He is a native Memphian and graduate of the University of Memphis with a degree in Business Management as a member of the university’s Emerging Leader program. Shad spent the first 11 years of his professional career in his family’s […]

The Struggle is Real, and Jesus is Too!

Spotify Playlist In my 27 years on earth, there are very few things I know with certainty. One thing I am certain of is that life is tragic, and God is faithful. The apparent discrepancy between these two truths creates a beautifully painful tension that many of us may refer to as “struggle.” We fight to experience […]

Alex Absalom – Speaker Conversation #DownlineSummit 2017

Alex Absalom Founder, Dandelion Resourcing Alex Absalom leads Dandelion Resourcing, which exists to resource leaders, churches, networks and denominations in creating missional and naturally supernatural cultures, which will consistently produce disciple-making disciples of Jesus. Based at Grace Church in Long Beach CA, he serves on the senior team as Leader of Missional Innovation. Together with Hannah […]

Shad & Corey on Accountability Pt. 1

    Book Mention:  Buy a Copy Related Article(s): How to Build Accountability in Discipleship: A Practical Guide  Putting Sin to Death   Have a question you’d like Shad or Corey to answer? Connect with us on Facebook

How to Build Accountability in Discipleship: A Practical Tool

Developing and maintaining accountability relationships is essential to discipleship.  The general idea behind an accountability relationship—usually put in terms of having an “accountability partner”—is to have a support system in place that can help you guard against sin, provide someone to confess to when you do sin, and to encourage you in disciple’s life. Verses […]

A Conversation with Adam Thomason @RedRev

BIO (from website) I AM RED REV is the platform of Adam “A.T.” Thomason (note Adam and his wife Dawntoya minister together for marriage and relationship teachings). A.T. has spoken in over 12 countries conveying the peace of Jesus. The countries of ministry include Sudan, Kenya, South Africa, China, Greece, and Palestine to name a few. […]

Five Must Reads On Discipleship

Among the ever-growing number of books on discipleship, some worth reading every year and some not at all, it can be hard to know where to start. These are my favorites, my top five must reads: Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew Crawford Brilliant read on learning and […]

Citizenship and Discipleship

Written by Dr. Frank Anderson The 2016 presidential election was the fifteenth presidential election of my lifetime and I remember significant details related to each of those elections, except the first two of my life (1960 and 1964).  As part of my love for America and our wonderful experiment with democracy, I have always looked […]

Book(s) Review with Dr. Cole Huffman

Dr. Corey Latta (@corey_latta) sits down with Dr. Cole Huffman (@colehuffman) to review a few books that Cole has been reading this year. Enjoy the conversation! Here is a list of the books they discuss:  Dispatches from Pluto by Richard Grant God Mocks: A History of Religious Satire from the Hebrew Prophets to Stephen Colbert by Terry Lindvall Losing […]

Who Is a Disciple?

Written by: Ken Easley, Professor of Biblical Studies, Master of Christian Studies Director at Union University, Germantown @KendellEasley A Jesus Follower and Cross Carrier, That’s Who… Recently, I’ve been looking into the term “disciple” as the writers of the Gospels use the term. In the Gospels “disciple” (Greek, mathetes, meaning “learner”) in most places refers to […]

10 Practical How-To’s of Discipleship

Jesus’ last words to His followers gave explicit instructions to make disciples of people all over the world. As followers of Christ, we are all commanded to make disciples. But sometimes that command can be overwhelming. We may feel daunted about the process, thinking we don’t have what it takes to disciple anyone. Others are […]

Discipleship-Do-Nots: 10 Things a Discipleship Relationship Shouldn’t Be

Christian leaders have said a lot about what making disciples should be.  But knowing what to do involves an awareness of what not to do, and becoming what should be means avoiding what shouldn’t.  So here we go, what a discipleship relationship isn’t: Moral policing:  Discipleship isn’t less than moral accountability, but it’s much more.  Unlike versions of Christian […]

Follow Me: Where Discipleship Starts

As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.   —   Mark 2:14   Here in this brief scene near the start of Mark’s gospel is the whole of the Christian experience.  As Jesus is walking along […]

A Theology of Freedom and Service

Written by Armond Boudreaux My prayer life has been pretty dry lately. For most of my adult life, I’ve read and prayed scripture at least once a day, but for the past several weeks, I’ve found it laborious – not because I don’t want to do it, but because lately, it requires a sustained effort […]

Extra-Biblical Truth

Written by: Jim Shultz, Chief of Missions and Outreach at Christ Community Health Services In Christian culture, there are some who say that ‘the Bible is our ONLY source of truth.’ This statement is included in many Christian statements of faith. If you have ever been to the doctor, you know that is not the case. […]

Theology: An Introduction to the Study of God for the Love of God.

Written by: Corey Latta There is in the Church a lingering, often unspoken, question of theology’s value. Suspicions that theology rationalizes faith. Fears that the spiritual is being made into lofty intellectualism. Accusations that theology results in an over complicating of simply knowing God. There is even a level of intimidation involved. Some fear theology because it […]

Hearing Your Heart, Thoughts from a Poet, and God’s Will for Your Life

Written by: Corey Latta If I were stranded on a desert island and only allowed three books—excluding the Bible—they’d be, C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce, Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, and Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. The first will alter the way you view heaven, hell, and your entire earthly experience leading you to […]

Ignatius of Loyola: A Life of Obedience

  Written by: Corey Latta St. Ignatius of Loyola, author of The Spiritual Exercises and founder of “The Society of Jesus,” also known as the Jesuits, a spiritual society devoted to the piety propagation of the Christian faith, speaks into Christian history with clarion voice for the sake of obedience to Christ. The sixteenth-century Saint’s message of […]

Christianity and Islam: Creating the Conversation

Written by: Corey Latta Few issues facing the contemporary church are more pressing than how Christians should relate to Muslims. For Christians, the problem is evident. Islam is a religion that shares Abrahamic origins but denies Christological salvation. Islam, like Christianity, is monotheistic, but Allah, as Muslims call God, barely resembles the God of the Bible. […]

A Lesson in Apologetics From Polycarp

Written by: Corey Latta Apologetics, the defense of the Christian faith to an unbelieving world, is all logos, and mind, and cerebration, and ism. And theology, apologia’s paterfamilias, conceptualizes and constructs new theories about God. If it’s very good theology, it recalls those older ideas from which the theories are built. I confess, as one who […]

The Mandate of Christ and Culture, Part 2

Written by: Corey Latta This is Part 2 of our series The Mandate of Christ and Culture. Click here to read Part 1.  I said in my previous post on the mandate Christians have to engage culture that the real aim of any interaction between Christian and cultural medium is to shine the light of Yahweh to the […]

The Gospel, Unashamed: Race Relations in Romans Part 2

Written by: Corey Latta This is Part 2 of our series The Gospel, Unashamed: Race Relations in Romans. Click here to read Part 1.  When Paul begins his letter to the Christians in Rome by saying he’s unashamed of the gospel because it is the power of salvation for everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then […]

The Mandate of Christ and Culture, Part 1

Written by: Corey Latta The phrase “Christ and culture” often refers to the way the Christian faith can and/or should relate to cultural ideas and mediums. Speaking of Christ and culture usually carries tones of Christian imperative, a sense of mission evoking questions of whether Christians should engage cultural mediums, and if so, to what extent. […]

The Gospel, Unashamed: Race Relations in Romans

The epistle to the Romans begins with and unfolds from 1:16–17, Paul’s thesis: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for […]

A Little Clarity on the Commission 

Written by: Corey Latta The believer’s participation in the Great Commission is mandatory. Matthew 28:18-20 is clear about that. Christ, our Lord, has commanded, and we obey. But knowing that you should heed the Great Commission can seem, to some, far removed from knowing how to go about living it. As a way to help get […]

Racial Reconciliation: Our Identity in Christ

Written by: Marlon Wade, 2015-2016 Emerging Leaders Participant “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28 If you look at the state of our society today, you will see a world divided. We have created so […]

Risk Worth the Reward (reblog from Radical)

This blog was written by David Platt and originally posted here. When I look at the big picture and what God is doing in the world, if I were to summarize what I see, on one hand I see unprecedented opportunity before us.  When you look at news headlines that we’re seeing with the refugee […]

Ending a D-Group (Reblog from Replicate Ministries)

This blog was written by 2016 Downline Summit speaker Robby Gallaty and originally posted here. As the end of the year finishes, your D-Groups are likely winding down. Here are some tips that we’ve come up with to help you finish well. Commit to Reproduce By this point, you should have already been praying about your new […]

Longings for a Heavenly City

This blog was written by Emerging Leaders Director John Sarver. I stand by, mesmerized, as she towers over me in all her brilliance: intricate and strong, she nearly reaches the heavens. Larger than life and exuding creative genius, the Eiffel tower attracts the masses, each of them eager to feel awe-struck and to capture her […]

A Simple Discipleship Principle You Can Implement Immediately (Reblog from Replicate Ministries)

This was written by 2016 Downline Summit speaker, Robby Gallaty and originally posted here. Volumes could be written about the discipleship principles Jesus employed. But here is one principle you can implement immediately. Dependence upon the Father Jesus’ devotion to the Father came, in part, through his consistent prayer and his teaching others to pray. […]

Formulas, Parenting, and the Gospel

Written by: Erin Crenshaw Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we could Google a formula for whatever difficult situation arises and follow it step by step to achieve a good, safe, godly outcome? I tried for many years to look for a formula for whatever situation was presented to me, whether it was succeeding […]

How Do Busy Women Serve in Women’s Ministry?

This blog was written by 2016 Downline Summit speaker, Jen Wilkin and originally posted here. As a young mom, I wrote a letter to my church asking them to consider formalizing the role of women’s minister. The executive pastor called me in for a meeting and promptly offered me the job. I was speechless. At […]

Short Term Missions and The Great Commission (Reblog from Radical)

This blog was written by David Platt and originally posted here. There are so many abuses when it comes to short-term mission trips, and oftentimes these abuses obscure the tremendous value of short-term missions. The goal of short-term mission is always long-term impact…on a variety of different levels. Long-Term Impact Abroad First, we want to […]

In competition for Millennials, Memphis makes strides with an act of faith (Repost from High Ground)

This post was written by Emily Adams Keplinger and originally posted here . Downline Ministries graduated their fifth Emerging Leaders class last month, and their alumni retention is making an impressive mark on the community.  Of the 41 participants in the year-long program, 36 have decided to make Memphis their home after the institute. But they’re not […]

Discipling the Fatherless

Last December Downline sent a team to Honduras for discipleship training and we had a blast! It is always a huge blessing and great encouragement to rub shoulders with godly leaders across the globe. These leaders have incredible faith and shining hearts for the lost. During the trip to Honduras, we were blessed to train […]

On Commissionings and Sendoffs

This is a big week for the the Downline Institute and the Emerging Leaders program. Indeed, this time of year is big for many such organizations, schools, and training programs.   It’s the time of year when we wrap things up and say our good-byes. It’s the time of year when we host going away […]

Equipped to Teach

About 18 months ago, I was asked to lead the young singles class at my church. As a college professor, I’m obviously comfortable teaching. However, I’d never taught Bible or led Sunday school and frankly felt incredibly intimidated by it. A few months prior, I was asked to lead a video driven Bible study based […]

Discipleship in the Home

In Genesis, we see the first picture of God’s desire for reproduction. “Be fruitful and multiply.” In biological reproduction, his creatures would advance his glory by reproducing image bearers in right relationship with Him. As it turns out (I would argue), that reproduction (both physically and spiritually) is a prevailing thread throughout Scripture.     […]

My Year As An Emerging Leader

For the 2013-2014 Downline Institute year, I decided to come and be a part of the Emerging Leader program because I wanted to develop and mature in my faith as a believer. I had heard much praise about the program for about two years and greatly anticipated experiencing it for myself. I knew that another […]

The Scribbled Truth That Changed My Life

There was a season of my life that was very dark. When my baby sister died very tragically and unexpectedly, my entire world flipped upside down.     What I knew to be true suddenly became questionable.     Is God good? If so, why this? And if I never know why, how can I […]

Thoughts on Biblical Womanhood

We have begun the Biblical Womanhood curriculum in the Downline Institute. It’s always a favorite among the women. These sixteen hours encourage and inspire us to understand and be the women God designed us to be, not the women sin and culture have made us. These sixteen hours are a great reminder of our value […]

Incarnation, Attitude & Humility

“Incarnation, Attitude, Humility” – Philippians 2:5-7 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians […]

The Lord Looks At the Heart

By Tim Reid But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”      1 Samuel 16:7     A Short […]

A Summit Reflection

Light bulbs. Curiosity. Some confusion…maybe more excitement. As I sat in my seat at my first Downline Summit event and mingled throughout the day with the women around me, these are the things I remember most about their expressions and their conversations. My discipler was a keynote speaker that first year, and so I was […]

Invested Intentionality: A Vision for Discipleship in the Church

The phone call between my future church employer and my former college campus director (and character reference) went like this: “We’re looking to hire Jason for a position in our church. Have you ever known him to be interested in working with seniors?” “Seniors in college?”   “No, senior adults.”   “I gotta be honest: […]

Discipleship in the Home

Each child the Lord gives is a gift that comes with many blessings and responsibilities. Jesus’ directive to “make disciples of all nations” starts in our very homes, with the opportunity to train our children to love and obey God. But what does that look like practically? I’m no expert, but I am a mom…a […]

Thoughts On Discipleship

As I grow in my walk with the Lord, I start to understand the importance of passing on what I’ve learned to other faithful men who can do the same. It’s cool and easy to merely talk about discipleship. It’s hard to live it out. I first heard of discipleship through a college ministry, Student […]

Emerging Leaders: Life as a Newlywed

Imagine being a newlywed, living in a new city where you know almost no one, all while going through an intense discipleship training program. This is exactly what Josh and Jordan Johnson signed on for when they decided to go through the Emerging Leader Program. You can hear their story here:

The Disciple’s Mind: Encouragement for Students

One of the most common questions I have received on any topic during my brief 13 years in ministry is this: “How do you engage the mind without losing the heart?” It seems that everyone I meet has a personal or second-hand horror story about a chipper, well-intentioned believer bouncing off to seminary or Bible […]

Three Goals of Discipleship in the Home

I recently listened to the testimony of a young woman right out of college. She shared about growing up learning all the “right” answers thanks to a private, Christian school; numerous activities, classes, and drill clubs at her church; and a God fearing mother exhorting her in her learning. She explained how she enjoyed all […]

Alumni Spotlight: Tyler Chapman

Have you ever heard that saying “when God closes a door He always opens a window?” For twenty year old Tyler Chapman of Boerne, TX one such window was the Downline Online program that launched last August. The online program allows interested students to form groups outside of Memphis that meet to view videos of […]

Backyards & Closets

By Jeff Howard My wife and I love hosting parties and cookouts at our house. This means that several times a month we have anywhere from 10-20 people in our home. We have people in our backyard playing games, people in our kitchen having snacks, and people in our living room hanging out and talking. […]

“Sweetness” & Discipleship

By Jason Seville No, this isn’t a post about Walter Payton, though such an entry would certainly be of some value (if that went over your head, just ignore me or watch “Sweetness” in action).   Rather, I want to tell you about a common question we receive at Downline Ministries and how I’m now […]

God’s Desire(s) in Discipleship

By Ariyana Rimson Lately, I have been thinking through the purpose of discipleship. I believe that all followers of Christ were given the commission to make disciples of all nations, but I think sometimes we lose sight of the goal of discipleship. Though there are many passages in Scripture that project a proper picture of […]

Oak Trees, Checkers, and Multiplication

By Pepper Horn When it comes to making disciples, there are two thoughts I always try to emphasize. I addressed the first thought in my first Downline blog entry, Surfboards, Globes, and Total World Impact. The second thought is the subject of this post.   A few weeks ago the world population burst through the […]

The Fountain of Youth

By Kim Seville Discipleship keeps me young. Not necessarily in a Botox kind of way, but in a way that is visible in my life nevertheless. Fourteen years of knowing the Lord has provided for incredible growth in overall sanctification, but there are elements of my relationship with God that were really special and unique […]

Downline’s NEW Look!

By Karly Hines Our logo has changed, but our mission remains the same. Downline equips Christ followers to make disciples by training believers (Institute), rallying the church (Summit), sending ambassadors (Global), providing tools (Resources) and empowering young adults (Emerging Leaders). After the model of Christ, Downline seeks a restoration of Biblical discipleship in and through […]

Discipleship Resources for a Lifetime

By Shad Berry If you are reading this it is highly likely you are very familiar with why Downline exists.  After six years it remains our prayer and passion to be a reliable equipping resource for training men and women who desire to engage in biblical discipleship in virtually any context including the church, the […]

Lifestyle Discipleship

By Kathryn Vaughan A young college girl laughed as she heard another mother and I talking about discipling our toddlers and preschoolers. Like many students involved in college ministries, she had never experienced discipleship until college and couldn’t imagine a toddler being able to experience what she had. She had unintentionally put discipleship in a […]

The Reproductive Impulse of Discipleship

By Kennon Vaughan A much needed conversation is taking place across the Western Evangelical church on the nature of biblical discipleship. What is it? How can we restore it to the church? If we don’t act soon, the Western church will soon be a stereotype of the discipleship-less church. We need to advance both the […]

Transformative Grace in Discipleship, Pt. 2

By Jason Seville [Last week we looked at “Excusive Grace”, “Militant Grace”, and “Transformative Grace” in discipleship.] Allow me to illustrate how each of these positions might handle a common discipleship issue. The Situation: You’re supposed to meet with a guy regularly for about six weeks to walk through a problem he is having. Because […]

Transformative Grace in Discipleship, Pt. 1

By Jason Seville One of the most helpful and practical discipleship concepts that I’ve learned came from a seminary professor who was describing the difference between what he called “excusive grace” and “transformative grace.”   In brief, “excusive grace” is what happens when we easily shrug off irresponsibility and unfaithfulness in others by saying, “That’s […]

The Disease & The Cure

By Quinton Lytle There is one disease that continues to discourage people all around the world.   It is called cancer.  Let me ask you another question.  What if a person developed a cure for cancer? He or she could travel the world and share with everybody the good news. They could visit St. Jude Hospital (one […]

Devotionally Intellectual & Intellectually Devotional

By Jason Seville   If the title of this blog post tied your brain into a knot, just hang in there, I’m going somewhere with this.   One of the most common questions I have received on any topic during my brief 12 years in ministry is this: “How do you engage the mind without […]

“Unfluffing” Biblical Womanhood

I recently heard an interview with a female Bible teacher who referred to “Biblical Womanhood” topics as fluffy as she pushed for women to focus on exegetically studying the entire word and not female directed passages alone. Her words and tone could not help but seem slightly arrogant and condescending. While I share her heart […]

A Common Misconception of Discipleship

By Kennon Vaughan In the church today, I think one of the common misconceptions among Christians is that Discipleship = Bible study. I’m not sure when this idea of discipleship as part-and-parcel of Christian education took root in the minds of church-goers, but studies by the Barna group and others over the last decade give […]

Discipleship’s Winning Numbers

By Jeff Howard We’ve all been watching the evening news and have seen the portion of the show when the lottery numbers are drawn. For most of us, this is a boring time where we often think, “Ok, ok. Let’s get on with it.” Most of us may even wish that this wasn’t part of […]

Sifted Like Wheat

By Ariyana Rimson “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32) This verse jumped off the page about seven years ago when I witnessed Satan putting […]

Surfboards, Globes, and Total World Impact

By Pepper Horn A few years ago I was living in Costa Rica. When my friends and I were not in language school, we would take off and explore the country. On one of our excursions we made our way to a sleepy little surfing community on the Nicoya Peninsula called Tamarindo. The place was […]

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

By Kim Seville I know, I know, I have that backwards. But time and again as I disciple and counsel women, a theme arises – a theme of guilt. And I don’t think this is a struggle specific to women. Sometimes the guilt is warranted and healthy, the result of some sin for which the […]

Rooted in Relationship

By Kennon Vaughan I believe discipleship is both truth and life transference in the context of relationship. I also believe that the Americanized modern evangelical practice of discipleship is heavy on truth and light on relationship. It’s become academic, and what’s missing is at the very heart of its transformational power. As humans, we become […]

This is Hard!

By Shad Berry Any individual who has endeavored to impart truth and invest in the life of another has spoken these words often. When I completed Downline I had a clear vision for what I wanted the return on the spiritual investment of my life to look like. There seemed to be a formula that […]

Helping Kids Develop a Heart for All Nations

By Steve Winstead We see clearly laid out in the pages of Scripture that God has a heart for all nations. I have three boys (ages 4, 3, and 18 months), and as a parent I want my children to have on their hearts the things that God has on His. If you are a […]

Living the Great Commission post Downline

By Mark Janetta Does your discipleship include nose-blunts, 50/50s, tailstall reverts, kick flips, heel flips, acid drops, 360 rock-n-rolls, or rock fakies? Didn’t think so. Mark Jannetta’s does. Mark went through the Downline Institute in 2009-2010 and is now living a discipleship lifestyle working as a Youth Coordinator for Memphis Athletic Ministries. Originally from Aylesbury/Buckinghamshire, […]

Go to Galilee!

By Jason Seville During this past Easter season, I was struck by a very simple observation in the Gospel of Matthew. In the days leading up to this most remarkable of Christian holidays, I decided—along with many believers around the world—to spend time reading and meditating upon 1 Corinthians 15, Matthew 28, and other key […]