This month we caught up with Derick Easter, a Downline alum from the first class in Little Rock. Derick is the pastor of New St. Hurricane Missionary Baptist Church, husband to Keely, and father to Jasmine and William Seth.
(1) What did you appreciate most about your experience in Downline?
There are several things I loved about my downline experience. I loved the camaraderie that was developed among the students, the devotion and discipline that it helped to foster in my own personal life but the thing that I appreciated the most was the quality of the teachers and the teaching material.
(2) What was the most impactful part of your Downline year?
The most impactful part of my Downline year was probably the third class or so when the light came on and I began to grasp the concept and strategy of what discipleship is all about. It opened my understanding, changed my perspective and gave me brand new insight.
(3) How has Downline shaped you as a Pastor and the way you think about the church?
As a pastor, Downline given me a new outlook on how to make disciples and how to weave that into every phase and facet of the church. Making disciples and encouraging and teaching others to do the same is the major focus of our ministry.
(4) How has Downline changed the way you think about disciple-making?
Before I engaged in Downline I viewed evangelism as an event and not a lifestyle. I never thought about discipleship as truth and life transference. Downline is so much more than an increase in knowledge, it has led to a complete change in my approach to ministry.
(5) How has Downline shaped your family life?
I’ve always known that I have a responsibility to lead my family in growing in Christ but now I have a structured plan and program to put in place in teaching my family. My wife and I have developed a “by 18 plan” for our children that has impacted them as well as really given us a sense of urgency with our teenage daughter.
(6) What has been the biggest challenge of making disciples since Downline?
The biggest challenge that I am finding and that has been experienced by members as well is the life part of truth and life transference. It’s easier to just give truth and not invest time, effort, and energy in someone else’s life. It’s the realization that discipleship does not happen separate from relationship. I’m also finding that the challenge of relationship is not just on the one doing the discipling but also the disciple. Despite the challenges, the rewards and the effort are well worth it.