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 our live classes, discuss the material and hold one another accountable for living a great commission lifestyle.
Growing up in a Christian home, Tyler says he always knew about God and felt His presence in his life. It wasn’t until the age of 14, however, that the Lord finally broke through the hardness of his heart and convinced him of his daily need for the gospel. Tyler first became aware of Downline when he heard Downline Director Kennon Vaughan speak at a summer camp he attended in high school. As you can imagine, Kennon spoke on the importance of biblical discipleship and following the model that Christ set for us. That was the first time Tyler remembers hearing a clear picture of the purpose and practice of discipleship and it had a lasting impact.
Two years later, the theme of discipleship was revisited when one of life’s proverbial doors was closed. After spending a year at a private university in Austin, Tyler learned that it was no longer a viable financial option for him to continue taking classes there. After making the tough decision to trust God by moving back home (and honestly dreading it), Tyler was approached by the youth pastor of his church about joining the Downline Online group that he was forming in Boerne. The promise of delving further into a truer and fuller definition of discipleship and walking through the Bible with solid teachers sold him on the idea. He committed to the required 4 hours of videos per week and walked away with a clearer sense of how to be a true man of God regardless of where life or his career path takes him.
Since finishing the program, Tyler and the Boerne community have both implemented a push towards discipleship. Tyler now meets regularly with three of the other guys who participated in the online group and from these intentional relationships is learning what it means to lead a family, be responsible, and share the gospel. With the Downline training under his belt, he has also found the confidence to begin pouring into younger men. God has created opportunities through his position at the church for him to meet with a few faithful high school freshmen and walk with them through these extremely important developmental years of life. These relationships are already blessing Tyler’s life and are encouraging him to make plans to continue developing these intentional relationships. One of those plans includes co-facilitating a new group of Downline Online students in Boerne next year.
We at Downline are thrilled by the feedback we’ve been getting from other online students who, just like Tyler, have been impacted by the Bible teaching and discipleship material to begin pursuing intentional relationships that center on the gospel. If you know of anyone who might benefit from this training, please email our online coordinator, Danyelle Catoe, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributed by Kelly Masters. Kelly works for Downline in the Admin Department and also is active in discipling women. She’s a graduate of the University of Virginia and lived in Texas for three years, where she completed and volunteered with a women’s discipleship program at Denton Bible Church. She enjoys NPR, nerdy novels, and baking.