This month we caught up with Kelli Rackley, a Downline alum from the first class in Little Rock. Kelli is wife to Chandler, and mom to Stellar, and another one on the way!
(1) What is your favorite memory when you think back on your Downline experience?
My favorite memory from Downline was just being a part of the Downline community. Being able to go to every class and study the Word and learn more about discipleship alongside other COMMITTED and EAGER Christ followers encouraged me and my husband. We pray that every church gathering would have followers who are eager and committed to learn more about the Gospel and how we are called to live it out in our lives.
(2) What was it like going through Downline alongside your spouse?
Being able to do Downline alongside my spouse was such a blessing. When we first initially signed up for Downline, we had no idea what the class structure and experience would be like. We assumed it would be like any other bible study we had done before. We were wrong. It was a game changer for us and going through it together helped us not only understand more about being a disciple ourselves, but how we could relate to each other better and build each other up. This was because we were learning about the Gospel together in a way we had never learned before. It’s also a time commitment for anyone who signs up so doing it together meant that we were both understanding, both sharing the commitment it took to gain as much as possible out of this experience. I would encourage couples who are married to do it together!
(3) How did your Downline experience impact your marriage?
It brought us closer in our marriage by clarifying the Bible and the Gospel for us. Downline is not the sole reason why we are closer to Jesus today but is an experience that God used in our lives to guide us, teach us, and prepare us to be able to disciple others. We still grasp onto these lessons daily from the things God revealed through Downline. When my husband steps out to disciple another, I am able to encourage him and relate to him in a meaningful way and it’s the same for him when I step out to disciple someone. The impact on our marriage isn’t necessarily just focused on us individually discipling others but also learning how to use the Gospel in all aspects of our marriage the way God intended.
(4) How did Downline equip you to step into parenting?
We didn’t have children at the time we went through Downline, we kind of held onto the ‘normal’ cultural thought that its good to be married for a while first and ‘get your life in order before having children.’ Downline showed us that our most important disciples are our children and that changed our hearts towards parenting. We know that God gives us children as a blessing and that His design for marriage is for us to be fruitful and multiply. Using the tools we learned from Downline about discipleship, we feel way more equipped to raise our children and we feel ready for the hard task to raise them to know Jesus despite our culture opposing Him. If we don’t raise our children to know Jesus, then the world will teach them not to and Downline was one of God’s ways of equipping us for this role. We now have a beautiful 11 month old daughter and another one on the way!
(5) How did Downline change the way you approach your local church?
We felt that God was calling us to build meaningful relationships with other followers and be challenged to live out our faith weekly. We wanted to be more involved with our local church, not just an attendee on Sundays but a part of God’s army. We wanted to bring others to church and take what we learn in the Gospel each Sunday and live that out in our marriage, parenting, work, friendships, and community.
(6) What was your biggest “aha moment” in Downline?
Downline truly changed our perspective on how to follow Christ. We got more clarity and a sense of direction from God through Downline. So for me, there were a ton of learning moments in Downline, a lot of A-Ha moments. I will mention two of them briefly. The first was the Bible Overview. Being able to understand how the Word is put together and how to study it changed EVERYTHING about my personal time in the Word and sharing the Gospel with others. The second for me was the 10 profiles of being a disciple maker. As an professional athlete, I related with how this compared training for your career to equipping to be a follower of Christ. It is the same with training for the military or for a farmer growing his business. When I thought about the passion I had for golf and the time I sacrificed in training to be a professional athlete, which I spent almost 15 years doing wholeheartedly, I was challenged to think, do I follow Christ with that same passion? With that same time sacrifice? With that eagerness to be better? I realized I had sinned deeply in making my career and other things more important than Christ and my heart was changed to try and use my career to glorify Christ and disciple others. Do I do this perfectly, not even close; but I want to and I continue to learn by the grace of God.
(7) Why do you think others should do Downline?
I believe that if you truly want to follow Christ and understand His commands for our life, then Downline WILL be powerful for you. God is using Downline to shape believers lives and not in a way that makes following Christ another daily chore or a required activity, but in showing you how you can glorify Christ and how you can follow His commands through your lifestyle. These tools help you know that discipleship is not meant to be separated from everything else that you do in your life but that it is the entire PURPOSE of it! Downline is such a blessing, I would encourage you to do it, open your hearts and allow God to show you His purpose for your life. You will never regret learning more about our Savior’s strategy for discipleship and the Gospel by which we are saved.