Allen's story began about 25 years ago. He was an ambitious young man working for a prestigious management consulting firm on Wall Street. By any measure he was considered successful. His future looked bright and he was a man with a mission: he was on his way up. But his road to the top would be very different than the one he planned on taking. On one cold New York morning as he dashed through the freezing rain to enter the office tower where he worked, he had to pause at the entrance to step over a homeless man huddled on a steam grate trying to warm himself. The stark contrast of the scene stopped him dead in his tracks. In that moment of reflection he heard the Holy Spirit whisper in his ear. “Allen, when are you going to stop serving yourself and start serving me?”
On arriving home in Atlanta, Allen shared with his fiancée that he was leaving the business world to become a pastor. And that is what he did. Over the next twenty years God’s path led him from a PhD in New Testament and Ancient Studies at Yale University, before ultimately culminating in his dream job as the senior pastor of a mega-church in Atlanta, one of the largest Methodist congregations in the Unites States. By any measure he was considered successful. But there was a longing inside that eventually he could no longer ignore. His search for truth and a deeper relationship with Christ Jesus brought him to another life-changing decision: he would step down from his senior pastor position and convert to Catholicism.
He now partners with Matthew Kelly and serves as the Senior Advisor at Dynamic Catholic. Allen is the author of five books, including his best-selling, Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor: How I Discovered the Hidden Treasures of the Catholic Church; Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody, Life’s Greatest Lesson: What I’ve Learned from the Happiest People I Know, and his most recent release, The 21 Undeniable Secrets of Marriage: Taking Your Relationship to the Next Level.
In addition to authoring, Allen is also a powerful speaker. He brings a fresh voice and appreciation to the Church. His messages inspire “everyday” Catholics to more fully recognize the relevance of Catholicism, the role it’s meant to play in their lives, and how to share this with others.
Allen worked in management consulting with Kurt Salmon Associates, an international leader in the textile, apparel, and retail industries. Allen was educated at Mercer (B.B.A.) and Emory (M.Div.) Universities, before earning a Ph.D. in New Testament and Ancient Christian Origins from Yale University. Allen and his wife, Anita, live in Atlanta and have two married daughters and two grandsons.
Why 1 of Every 10 Adults is an ex-Catholic
In his most-requested talk, Allen shares his personal experience of converting from evangelical mega-church pastor to become Catholic. This experience focuses on the Eucharist, and how God revolutionizes our lives with His real presence in the body and blood of Jesus. Allen's unique perspective illuminates the remarkable power of the Eucharist for your life. In doing so, he explains why 1 in 10 American adults is an ex-Catholic.
What’s Weighing You Down? Overcoming Obstacles to Become the Best-Version-of-Yourself
Amelia Earhart became the first woman pilot ever to cross the Atlantic in a solo flight. She said she did it to “overcome her Atlantic.” God has a destiny in mind for you. What's weighing you down? What's preventing you from becoming the person God designed and desires you to be?
In this session, Allen explores the three anchors that every one of us must release, with God's help, to grow toward God's destiny. He then shares specifically how the power of the Holy Spirit will free you from each anchor and begin to bring healthy change.
The 3 Things to Know Before You Die
Who is Jesus? That is the one crucial question. After all, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” The question that changed history and is still changing lives more than 2000 years since Jesus walked the earth. Other religions and the secular world answer that question in many ways. As Catholics, we answer it with 3 simple but powerful lines. Those words define a Catholic and his/her relationship with Jesus Christ.
In this talk, Allen invites you into the life-changing power of those words. You will be inspired in a new way. Best of all, you will be equipped to live more deeply than ever before.
The Most Important Word of All (and it’s not Love)
One word lives at the heart of the faith. One word captures what it means to be a Catholic Christian. One word will unleash more spiritual power in your life, in your relationships, and in your world than any other. Allen shares this word and relates how you can implement its transforming power to begin benefitting immediately from the heart of God.
Leading Like Jesus
In this talk, Allen draws on the key leadership lesson from Jesus. Very simply, we follow a donkey-riding, foot-washing Lord. Allen then teaches how to implement a Jesus leadership style in real life. This talk will help any ministry or organization inspire its team to be effective leaders.
What a Donkey and an Ultrasound Taught Me about Life
Pope John Paul II was right. We live in a culture of death. While serving as a Protestant pastor, Allen struggled with Methodism's inability to take a bold stand for the sacred worth and value of each human life, in the born and the unborn. In fact, under Allen's leadership, his congregation developed the strongest pregnancy resource center in Atlanta and gave millions of dollars to support mothers in crisis, women facing challenges, and children in need.
Allen was inspired to take a bold stand for life by a donkey and an ultrasound. In this moving talk, Allen shares personally about the dignity and meaning God has for each of His human creations.
Elastic Ethics: How to Make your Work Match your Faith
Going to Mass on Sunday is one thing. Trying to be a Christian Monday through Friday at work is another thing altogether. How do you allow your faith to infuse your work? In this talk, Allen will inspire you, and also helpfully equip you, to make a life even as you make a living. Best of all, your influence and impact will begin to grow in ways you never imagined.
The One Word Game-Changer
St. Paul says the Spirit will make us generous. Everybody wants to be generous. In fact, we all think we already are generous. But the data suggests otherwise. Allen has extensively studied generosity and creatively presents in this talk not only the beauty of giving but what prevents us from being generous. Best of all, Allen teaches the audience a simple path to discover the transforming power of giving in a fresh way.