Alumni Spotlight – Jay Hammers

Q: When did you go through Downline and what prompted you to do it?Jay

I went through Downline in Conway, AR, during the 2015-16 schedule.  I had been apart of an ongoing Bible study in Conway for about six years, and was looking for something that would be more challenging and deeper.  I spoke with my brother about this when he was going through the transitional class during the 2014-15 schedule.  He encouraged me to look into Downline, and when I went to one of their informational meeting, I felt like God was telling me that this was the deeper study He wanted me in.

Q: Looking back, what was the most impactful part of your Downline experience?

It is difficult to narrow it down to just one part, but I feel like being around a group of people who were hungry for biblical truth like me had a great impact on me.  Also, having an encouraging leader like Chris Kear was extremely impactful to me.  I never found myself feeling that this was all just a “routine”.  Every class, I found myself excited to see truths God had in store for me that day.

Q: What was your favorite session or book of the Bible that you learned?

Wow, you are putting me on the spot here.  First and foremost, any session that Dr. Robert Lewis, Ken Wilson or Danny Hinton taught were first class.  I could listen to any of those three all day long and never get bored, and learn more then I could ever imagine.  Going through the Bible, I got something out of each book and every session.  However, if I had to pick one, David Adams’ session on the Pentateuch was absolutely amazing to me.  I have read that portion of the Bible several times, and, unfortunately, it always gets dull and dry to me.  David’s teaching was the first time I had ever been presented that material in a way that helped me understand it’s foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, and brought a peace and joy to a section of Scripture that has always been very challenging to me.

Q: How has Downline impacted your work life?

Prior to Downline, I never really thought much about discipleship.  At work, I was mainly focused on myself, and, at times, I would go looking for trouble.  If someone said something that may or may not have been an attack on my faith, I took it as an attack on me personally and I would make a bigger fool of myself and my faith.  Now I tend to think through things a lot more.  I learned in Downline that everything we do has an impact on others.  If I blow up on someone, I lose my witness immediately.  I really try to think through things now.  Additionally, I have connected with those who are Christians that I work with.  We talk about different things going on at work, and how we can encourage each other when we face challenges.

Q: How has Downline impacted your family life?

Downline has made me really think about the stuff that I allow to be seen in my house.  It challenged me to be a Godly man, and refocus my marriage  on God.  Of all the impacts that Downline has had on my life, I would say this has been the area most impacted.

Q: In what ways did God most deeply shape and change you through your Downline experience?

God has used Downline to change my life in so many ways.  Downline was an answer to years of prayer.  I finally feel like I have really been exposed to “solid food” and not “baby milk”.  I don’t say that in a derogatory towards the Bible studies that I have been apart of in the past.  But Downline was the most in-depth look at the Bible that I have ever had.  I’m more confident in talking about the Bible.  It also has had a huge impact on me behaviorally.  I have always been a natural sceptic and debater.  I’ve never been skeptical about anything in the Bible but I was skeptical of the motivations of others.  And, as stated above, I was always looking for a debate or an argument to get into.  But I don’t feel the same way now.  I still stumble a lot, but I try harder to take a breath and think and pray before I respond now.  God used Downline to humble me in many ways.  I give Him all the praise and glory for doing that, and for using Downline and it’s teachers and staff as the instruments for change,

Q: Why do you think others should make the 9-month investment in doing Downline?

Simply put, it will change your life.  Three “excuses” (for lack of a better word) for not doing Downline:

  1. “5:45 is too early, I can’t do it.”  My answer:  nobody is a worse morning person than me.  Yet I was excited to be there every Tuesday morning.
  2. “$1,000 is a big time investment.”  My answer:  Heather and I were stuck with a lot of debt all at once from two surgeries, and didn’t really have the extra money.  But if you asked either of us, God provided a way, and the experience was well worth it, especially because of the flexibility of the Downline team to work with you on it.
  3. “Four hours a week is a lot of time to invest in every week.”  My answer:  Think about what we spend extra time on…sports, TV, reading, being lazy, etc.  Would you rather spend four hours a week watching a football game or lounging around doing nothing?  Instead, invest that time in learning about spiritual, eternal matters.  Downline invites some of the best teachers to teach you how to take the Bible and create disciples.  The training that is provided is worth much more than four hours a week.

In other words, excuses are excuses.  Being apart of something this special can change not only your life, but the lives of all the people around.  Downline is an investment, but it is one  you will NEVER regret.