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Downward Discipleship

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Table of Contents


Invitation 1: From Fear to Friendship

1.1 Asking Amy: How do we sing in the night?

1.2 Seeing Fears Transformed by Friendships

1.3 Encountering Jesus in Places of Addiction

1.4 Room to Reflect

Invitation 2: From Self to Surrender

2.1 Asking Amy: How can we find peace?

2.2 Surrendering to God’s Timing

2.3 Surrendering to a Lifetime of Learning

2.4 Room to Reflect

Invitation 3: From Guilt to Gratitude

3.1 Asking Amy: How can our lives overflow with gratitude?

3.2 Living in Paradox

3.3 Finding Jesus in Surprising Places

3.4 Room to Reflect

Invitation 4: From Control to Compassion

4.1 Asking Amy: What can we do when we feel helpless and out of control?

4.2 Trusting God When We Cannot See

4.3 Bringing Our Laments to the Lord

4.4 Room to Reflect

Invitation 5: From Mammon to Manna

5.1 Asking Amy: How will the Lord provide?

5.2 Giving More than Money

5.3 Trusting God in Times of Scarcity and Plenty

5.4 Room to Reflect

Invitation 6: From Poverty to Praise

6.1 Asking Amy: How can we be sustained through seasons of suffering?

6.2 Clinging to Christ’s Hope in Times of Disappointment

6.3 Discerning the Sacred Task of the Doula

6.4 Room to Reflect

Invitation 7: From Asking Why? to Welcoming the Word

7.1 Asking Amy: What can we do with our questions?

7.2 Recognizing We Need a Savior

7.3 Rooting Ourselves in God’s Word

7.4 Room to Reflect



Appendix A: Journal Entry

Appendix B: Songs



Downward Discipleship
How Amy Carmichael Gave Me Courage to Serve in a Slum
Anita Rahma

Moving to the Margins with Amy Carmichael

Follow in the footsteps of Amy Carmichael, whose defiance against injustice shined a light in India’s darkest corners. Her extraordinary journey reveals the profound impact of unwavering faith when pitted against social wrongs. What fierce conviction drove this fiery Irishwoman to forsake the familiar for the forsaken, trading comfort for conflict and compassion?

Downward Discipleship beckons you to learn from Amy's life—a beacon that questions the cost of true discipleship in our world of pain and injustice. In these pages, Amy's fifty-year mission to rescue temple-bound girls becomes a canvas for seven invitations of discipleship. Rahma weaves in her own stirring narrative from Jakarta's slums, presenting a model of discipleship that is demanding as it is rewarding, challenging as it is inspiring.

This book calls to all who yearn for a faith that is lovingly courageous and radically sacrificial. Rahma points us to a life of downward discipleship. While many in the world clamor to climb the ladders of success and financial security, she invites the reader on a different journey: to follow our savior to unlikely places, meet him among the world’s poor, and experience the joy of abundant life.


  • Anita Rahma’s book Downward Discipleship invites us to the lived reality of following Jesus by serving the poor and oppressed. The story is interwoven with that of Amy Carmichael who saved girls from prostitution in India last century. Anita has drawn from Amy’s writing and woven it into her own journey of living in the slums of Jakarta, providing schooling for children, and grappling with suffering and poverty. She gives us glimpses of her own life with her responses of songs and personal reflection in the nitty gritty of life on the margins.
    Irene Alexander, PhDAsian Theological Seminary, Stillpoint, Brisbane, Trinity College Queensland Honorary Research FellowAuthor, Practicing the Presence of Jesus and How Relationships Work
  • Planted deep inside the wounds of our world, Anita Rahma offers a testimony of hope and healing. Looking through the lens of nineteenth-century missionary Amy Carmichael, we are afforded a perspective on the many “whys” that surround the lives of those who are suffering. In the end, we shift our focus from the why, and turn our attention to the Who that walks among the marginalized.
    Scott BesseneckerGlobal Engagement & Justice, InterVarsity Christian FellowshipAuthor, The New Friars and How to Inherit the Earth
  • Reading Downward Discipleship is like joining author Anita Rahma and legendary missionary Amy Carmichael to share stories over a cup of tea! In the book, Rahma gently but firmly invites the reader to embrace seven different paradigm shifts. In the process, Rahma outlines a vision for Christian discipleship that follows Jesus to the cultural and social margins. Whether you are serving in or with a disadvantaged community or not, Downward Discipleship will help you live a life of joyful and purposeful surrender in your life of faith.
    Rob Dixon, DISAuthor, Together in Ministry: Women and Men in Flourishing Partnerships
  • By interweaving the story of legendary missionary, Amy Carmichael, with her own journey to the slums of Indonesia, Rahma offers us a front row seat to a life lived with purpose. But the goal is not to place yet another hero on yet another pedestal. Instead, this is an invitation for all of us to be deeply transformed. These are lessons that can only be learned on the margins of society, among the poor. Read and be challenged.
    Craig GreenfieldFounder, Alongsiders International Author, Subversive Mission
  • Across the global pain of two billion urban poor,  there are multiplying movements inspired by Christ, the suffering servant, to live among them. Anita dearly represents the multiple levels of the struggles to find an understanding of the depths of spirituality amidst such struggles. Her authorship is unique in its ability to integrate the complexities yet identify the singularities of action. Some books drive you deeper towards the living God!! Read them! Read this one!
    Viv Grigg, PhDAuthor, Companion to the Poor, Cry of the Urban Poor, Spirit of Christ and the Postmodern City, Kiwinomics, SlumDwellers’ Pedagogy
  • The unique approach in Anita Rahma’s second book is to learn from and then engage the reader with the life of Amy Carmichael, a missionary in India one hundred years before Anita was called to downward discipleship. Building on her first book, Beyond Our Walls: Finding Jesus in the Slums of Jakarta, Anita Rahma takes her readers deeper into an exploration of the ever-present challenges and accompanying joy and contentment that comes with following Jesus into the suffering of the world. Anita points out that Jesus sought out the lowest in his culture and did not live as one with privilege even though he was Lord of all creation. We are all called to downward discipleship rather than upward mobility, though not all may be called to the same locations and lifestyles.
    Some readers will be challenged to leave comfort behind and to find the courage, as Anita has, through giants of faith who have gone before to live an incarnational life of chosen poverty. Perhaps others will be confronted with the need to live more thoughtfully and be used by God to support the Anita’s and Amy’s in the world. Each chapter introduces the downward discipleship topic such as “from control to compassion,” asks a related question of Amy’s life and shares a situation in Anita’s own life. Bringing Amy Carmichael’s life to the reader deepens our connection with those who, through the ages, have lived for God by serving others.In every age there are those who hear and respond to the call to love and serve in the world’s hardest places. May we read this book with an open heart and prayerful spirit, ready to respond to God’s call for us, and comforted by God’s faithful care and leading along that path.
    Ann Graber Hershberger, PhDEmeritus Professor of Nursing, Eastern Mennonite University Executive Director, Mennonite Central Committee
  • In Anita Rahma’s Downward Discipleship, one reads many Biblical insights as she focuses on the importance of a deeper relationship with God. The reader finds theology not from the desk but from the kitchen table. Working for so many years for those at the edge of society, Anita sees with the eyes as Jesus saw the needy and the broken-hearted. I share with Anita the ongoing inspiration from the work of Amy Carmichael in Dohnavur in India. Triggered by the deep insights from this God-fearing woman who started her work in the outgoing Victorian era, the author found beautiful gems to implement these in her work in the slums of Jakarta.
    Spiritually charged throughout, this book is written with passion and compassion. Vigorous reflections thoughtfully drawn from Amy Carmichael’s writings and skillfully presented, underline Rahma’s thoughts about doing missionary work amongst very vulnerable people. This book gives the reader insights into the practical challenges which missionary work encounters in areas away from mainstream city life. In the grim reality of the Jakarta slums we meet Christian devotedness and personal faith in God.
    J. Kommers, PhD North-West University (NWU), Potchefstroom, South AfricaAuthor, Triumphant Love: The Contextual, Creative and Strategic Missionary Work of Amy Beatrice Carmichael in South India
  • Inspiring. Chock-full of wisdom. And potentially life-changing. In Downward Discipleship, Anita Rahma calls her readers to set aside their comfort and follow Jesus on his long, purposeful descent to the bottom of society. Woven throughout this book, Rahma shares personal stories from her mission work among the urban poor while also introducing us to one of her spiritual heroes—an early twentieth-century missionary to India named Amy Carmichael. For nearly fifty years, Carmichael worked tirelessly to rescue temple children from forced prostitution and slave-like conditions. Her life and writings have deeply impacted Rahma’s own sense of call, as I pray Rahma’s life and writings will now do for you.
    Jason PorterfieldAuthor, Fight Like Jesus

Additional Details

  • Pages: 120
  • Publisher: William Carey Publishing
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publish Year: 2024
  • ISBN: 9781645085522
  • Vendor: William Carey Publishing