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Discipleship Network of America (DNA)


Phil Downer serves as President of Discipleship Network of America (DNA). DNA is a nationwide network of people committed to following Christ and winning and discipling others to become disciple makers. The spiritual reproductive ministry of DNA flows out of the lives of people focused on Christ in their work, marriage, family, neighborhood and church. In 2007 the National Coalition of Men’s Ministries gave DNA its Ministry of the Year Award, presented to Phil and Paul Downer by Steve Farrar, Pat Morley, and Rick Kingham. Phil’s testimony has appeared multiple times on Focus on the Family has spoken at many Promise Keepers conferences across the U.S. and Canada and is also a frequent keynote speaking at Iron Sharpens Iron men’s conferences.

A popular speaker at men’s events, Phil also speaks at couples events with Susy, his wife of 41 years. He is the author of Eternal Impact: Investing in the Lives of Others, A Father’s Reward: Raising Your Children to Walk in the Truth, and Brave, Strong, and Tender – a book that details how this Viet Nam veteran learned to transfer his leadership from the battlefield to his home, his law practice, and eventually to running a nationwide ministry. He and Susy are coauthors with David and Theresa Ferguson of Unlimited Partnership: Building Intimacy & Teamwork Into Your Marriage. Phil is also the editor and coauthor of Effective Men’s Ministry, published by Zondervan, and the author of From Hell To Eternity: Life After Trauma, a book he co-authored with Susy and with two of his children, Paul and Anna. Phil’s story was also featured in the award winning Day Of Discovery TV series The War Within.

A former machine gunner who served in Viet Nam with the United States Marine Corps in 1967 and 1968, Phil received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University in 1972 and a Juris Doctor from Emory University School of Law in 1975. Phil was a successful lawyer before being led to Christ and discipled by fellow professionals. He left his position as one of the senior partners of a 50-attorney law firm, with offices in Atlanta, Washington, Dallas, and San Diego, to serve as President of CBMC for a decade. Phil is a former elder of his church, a member of CBMC and is married to his precious wife, Susy. Susy, also an attorney, served as Assistant Corporate Secretary and legal counsel for Delta Air Lines for ten years. She resigned her position in 1985, to devote full time to their six children whom she homeschooled through high school.

Paul Downer, Director of Operations for DNA, is a coauthor of From Hell To Eternity: Life After Trauma. He is a frequent speaker at conferences around the U.S. and appears with Phil on their daily one-minute broadcast, A Discipleship Moment, which airs on over 550 stations in the United States and Canada. Paul speaks on discipleship, culture, men’s issues, family relationships and reaching twenty-somethings. He offers parents and children insight into what it takes to respond to the conflicts of life in a way that enables a family to overcome differences, frustrations, and relational wounds in order to experience the healthy, Christ-centered relationships we were intended to have.

Paul earned his B.S. and B.A. at Bryan College where he studied as a Presidential Scholar and was selected by the faculty from among his classmates three years in a row for the P.A. Boyd Award for Influence & Character. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Christian Studies degree from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Paul has been a mentor for young men in their teens and twenties for 10 years and has been speaking at national men’s conferences and retreats for 12 years including engagements in Peru, Japan and multiple events in Canada.

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