A Third-Generation Pastor Pursues His Love of Learning at Northern
Pastoring and a love of learning both run deep in Steffan Allen’s heritage. Almost sixty years ago, his grandfather, Samuel Allen Sr., started Greater Bible Way Apostolic Temple in Joliet, Illinois. Steffan’s father, Bryan Allen, took over leading the church in 2005. Now Steffan is the assistant pastor. He says, “I have been officially preaching and ministering since May 23, 2013, but I have been active in ministry since my early days in church”—from participating in Sunday school to serving as a drummer for two of the church choirs.
While immersed in church ministry, Allen also took the opportunity to pursue his passion for education by earning a degree at Northern Seminary. “I genuinely enjoy new information and furthering my understanding,” he says. “Not only do I love learning, but it is something that has been ingrained in me from an early age.” His grandfather received his doctoral degree from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in 1974, and his father received his doctoral degree from St. Thomas Christian University in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2013. “Northern Seminary felt like a place where I could follow in those same footsteps made by great men before me.”
Studying at Northern has opened up new dimensions for Allen and his leadership. “My ministry has been completely upheaved since I walked into my first class at Northern,” he says. “Before my studies began, I believe that I was only studying the surface of scripture and not really exploring much outside of what I had been taught. I can honestly say that I have learned how to study and how to truly exegete the text in an efficient and effective manner.”
Besides insights into studying the Bible, Allen says, “the greatest impact to my ministry has been the expansion of my understandings of scripture and affirmation of my beliefs. I have acquired the more in-depth knowledge to understand and, most importantly, to teach.”
Several other highlights from his time at Northern involve relationships and conversations with fellow students. Allen describes enjoying breakout discussions with friends and peers who bring a variety of perspectives. “Having a different background and upbringing than they have but having a willingness to listen and learn has been so impactful,” he says.
“The best part about being at Northern has been the difference of opinions being discussed by educated and respectful peers. Not only have I enjoyed the conversations and discussions, but the opening of my understanding and the impact that it has had on my ministry has been immeasurable.”
After finishing his degree, Allen intends to continue in his current role at his home church. “At some point in the future, I would like to expand my ministries. Whatever God has for me in that facet, I will give my all to. I am also exploring the option of furthering my knowledge and finding a doctoral program that stands out to me.”
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