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, England, Mark moved to the US in September 1999. He is married to Annalise and has two daughters, Ella and ALiza. Annalise is in the current (2010-11) DL Institute.
After hearing Kennon speak at a FCA camp in Nebraska, his interest in Downline Ministries was piqued. “I wanted to come and steal some ideas from Kennon,” Mark explained. “And KV said the best way would be to come and do Downline. So, I moved to Memphis and got a job with MAM while going through the Institute.”
Mark now works with MAM full-time at the Greenlaw Community Center in Uptown. He runs the mobile skate ministry, which involves not only running the skating program at Greenlaw, but also building portable ramps and taking his ministry on the road to the other ten MAM gyms in Memphis. Throughout this whole process, Mark disciples the kids he’s working with everyday and equips them to be leaders. His leaders then teach kids around the city how to skate, while at the same time teaching the Word of God and giving their personal testimonies. He noted, “I wouldn’t have had such ideas, clarity, or direction before Downline.”
The typical kids who come in to Mark’s gym are from broken homes with absent parents (literally and figuratively). “Their parents,” Mark explains, “either neglect them or are working long hours at multiple jobs to make ends meet. So, the kids are literally at the gym all day, every day if they can be.” Downline helped Mark come up with ideas of how to do skate ministry to reach this demographic in Memphis. He loves building into kids and then unleashing them to reach other kids.
“The most impactful thing that I took away from Downline was being able to make discipleship a priority with any kind of ministry vision. I was able to recognize that it’s not all about building big programs; you can do discipleship without any funds at all. You just have to be willing to give the time and build relationships. Anyone can make disciples, but I don’t think most people realize that.”
Even if you know nothing about skateboarding, there are ways you can be involved in Mark’s ministry. In addition to financial gifts that are always appreciated, you can help by volunteering at the Greenlaw Community Center or lend a hand with Mark’s mobile skate park outreaches. Learn more at Memphis Athletic Ministries.