Many of you may know Nathan & Kelly Downs and their family. Nathan has been our Strasburg Worship leader this past year. They have recently made the decision to move back home to IN to be closer to their family this summer and feel this is where God is leading their family. We will miss them greatly.
To thank them for what they have brought to our family here at The Branch Church we thought we would do a little blog post interview so everyone can know them a bit more and hear their hearts. If you wish to send prayers and thoughtful greetings, you can email them to and we will make sure they get them!
What are their jobs here in Ohio and what will they be doing when they move to Indiana?
Our family is in a bit of transition right now. Currently, I (Nathan) work as a plumber, and Kelly is a Registered Nurse. Kelly is looking for nursing jobs in Indiana, and I will be working with my dad for a while as we make this life transition. My dad owns his own business building decks. He needs some extra help right now since he had open heart surgery back in the fall.
Who all is in the Downs’ family?
We are a family of five. Kelly and I have lived here in Ohio for 13 years, and our kids were born here. Jessalyn is our oldest. She is ten years old and loves all things Harry Potter. She is an avid reader and has read through the series 11 times. Joah is eight years old and is obsessed with dinosaurs. He wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up and wants to take a family vacation to the Dinosaur National Monument dig site in Utah. Judah is our youngest. He is five years old and was adopted from the Philippines two and a half years ago. He is our crazy man. He holds the record in our family for trips to the ER, and he is currently still in a cast from his attempt at bunk bed basketball. For the record, it is not a good game. Don’t try it. (Since this; Judah is now out of the cast! yay!)
Where did Nathan & Kelly grow up?
Kelly and I each grew up in Indiana. Marion is the city that is most likely to be recognized by non-Hoosiers, but even then it is pretty dicey. We are from small-towns. I grew up in Fairmount which is the home of James Dean and Garfield the Cat. Kelly grew up in Amboy, and she could probably be in the running for the most famous person to come out of Amboy, Indiana. :) (Sounds like a story…)
How did Nathan & Kelly meet?
We met at our youth group in 9th grade. I was the new kid in the youth group. Another guy in the youth group actually took me around and introduced me to people, but pointed Kelly out and said, “Stay away from her, she’s mine!” Too bad for him. *evil laugh. We had our first date when she was 16 and I was 15. We broke up after high school, but got back together in college and have been together ever since.
What made the Downs’ move to Ohio?
I got a job as a youth pastor here in T-County in 2006. This place has become a second home for us over the past 13 years. It is an amazing place with amazing people. We wish we could take many of you back home with us. :’(
What brought the Downs’ to The Branch Church?
I had a rough exit from my previous ministry position. We weren’t sure if we were ever going to be involved in the church again after that. We were pretty hurt and pretty burned out. Johnny Boyd and Jeff Kaufman both reached out to me and looked after us while were were healing. I was reminded of how the church at its best is an amazing thing. Those guys just wanted to love me and help me. They became like brothers to me, and their families embraced my family. When we decided to wade back into this church thing, it only made sense to become a part of the Branch because the people here had loved us like family through one of the toughest periods in our lives. You all have been amazing in the lives of my family. You helped us heal and helped us trust the church again. We will be forever thankful for the part you all have played in our story.
What has the Lord taught them in the past 3 years?
See above answer! Haha. I have learned that He is the great Healer. I have learned that He is faithful through our greatest heartbreak, and that His Church, and by that I mean the people who have chosen to love others sacrificially, can be amazing agents of that healing.
What are 3-5 highlights of their time in Ohio?
We are pretty outdoorsy people, and so the beauty of this part of Ohio will forever be something that we love and remember. The rolling hills of Amish Country, the amazing beauty of Cuyahoga National Forest and it’s amazing hiking trails, and amazing bike trails wherever you look were definite highlights. Really, the only things I won't miss about the outdoors here in Ohio is the pollen.
We brought our kids home here in Ohio. Jessa and Joah were born here in the Buckeye state, and we travelled the crazy long journey of adoption here in Ohio. It has been our home, and we will forever have fond family memories here.
But the biggest highlight has been the people. When we were discussing whether or not we should move, the thing that kept coming up as a reason to stay was the people. So many of you have been our family. So many of you have been so instrumental in making us who we are. You all are a highlight. We have only been at the Branch church for a couple of years, but you have made a huge impact.
What are they most hopeful about with moving?
The reason we are moving back is to be near our family. My parents and Kelly’s parents both live within 25 minutes of each other, and we feel that it is time to be close to them again. It’s tough to not have your parents close, and it’s tough for your kids to not get to see their grandparents very often. We are really looking forward to more time with our family.
What advice do the Downs’ have for our church?
Advice can be a tricky thing, especially, when we have not been here very long. The biggest thing that sticks out to us is to challenge you all to not take what you have for granted. The Branch Church has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to godly, quality men and women in leadership. None of them are perfect, but this team has been unlike any I have ever worked with in ministry. Appreciate what you have, encourage them, and don’t take them for granted. I will truly miss being a part of the team here at the Branch. It is the best group of humans I have ever known.
And keep loving people the way you do. You never know what role you will play in someone’s life. You might just help convince them to not give up on the church. Trust us, we can speak from personal experience on this.
God Bless you all. We miss you already.
-The Downs Family