Faculty Corner: Dr. Amy Lindeman Allen
In the ever-evolving landscape of theological education, educators like Dr. Amy Lindeman Allen are at the forefront of creating meaningful bridges between biblical scholarship and inclusive ministry. Dr. Allen, recently named to an endowed chair position at Christian Theological Seminary, has dedicated her career to exploring the intersections between children, scriptures, and the church. Her latest book, The Gifts They Bring: How Children in the Gospels Can Shape Inclusive Ministry, and her upcoming CTS Talk, “Whose Kingdom is it Anyway? Jesus, Little Children, and the Poor,” are emblematic of her commitment to nurturing inclusive faith communities.
For Dr. Allen, her latest book is a culmination of a lifelong passion. From the inception of her career, she has been focused on exploring the relationships between children, sacred texts, and the life of the church. When asked why she chose to write this book now, she shared, “I’ve always wanted to have a book that is easily accessible to people who are actually doing ministry with and for children in churches.”
While her first book was well-received by colleagues and scholars, her latest work is designed to reach a broader audience, including churchgoers, families, and curious neighbors. “This is the book that I’ve always wanted to write because this is the book that speaks to the ways that biblical scholarship around children can have an impact in our world today,” she added.
One of Dr. Allen’s core beliefs is that children are not just the future of the church but an integral part of its present. In her book, she highlights the way children are portrayed in the Gospel texts, even in a society where they occupied the lowest rungs of the social ladder. These texts continue to recognize and include children as valuable members of the community.
Dr. Allen’s scholarship and ministry emphasize the importance of acknowledging children’s presence, voices, and contributions in religious spaces. It is about more than just preparing them for the future; it’s about recognizing and celebrating their gifts here and now.
Since the release of her book, Dr. Allen has been most excited about the diverse audience it has reached. While her first book primarily resonated with scholars, The Gifts They Bring has opened doors for conversations with friends, family members, and churchgoers from all walks of life. It serves as a conversation starter and a tool for integrating biblical scholarship into practical ministry.
What makes The Gifts They Bring especially unique is its accessibility and affordability. Dr. Allen’s intention was to provide a resource that could be easily incorporated into Bible study or ministry without the need for translation from academic language. It’s a book for and about ministry, making its message engaging not only for adults but, through sharing these stories in multigenerational settings, also for children themselves.
Dr. Allen’s recent appointment to an endowed chair position, the Indiana Christian Church Chair in Biblical Studies, is part of a rich tradition at CTS. Previously held by eminent theologians Clark Williamson and Rufus Burrow, this chair signifies a bridge between academic and practical work. Both of her predecessors shared a passion for connecting theological scholarship with the needs of the church.
Dr. Allen is enthusiastic about continuing this tradition, emphasizing her role in biblical studies. She sees it as an opportunity to nurture the connection between academia and ministry, making theological education relevant and meaningful for church communities.
Throughout her journey, Dr. Allen has encountered numerous children who have shaped her views on children in the church. One story that stands out is that of Joshua, a young boy she knew from a church in Georgia. Joshua’s family was asked to leave one church because he was perceived as too noisy during worship—a consequence of being a lively two-year-old. When they did so, they ended up discovering a new church family that embodied an inclusive welcome that went well beyond the binaries of children and adults, to include all people.
This experience, included in her new book, highlights the importance of creating welcoming spaces, not just for children, but for all people within faith communities. As Dr. Allen noted, “What the story highlights for me is what that first church lost by not being able to tolerate a little bit of noise.” By embracing children as they are at each stage of development, faith communities not only benefit from their unique gifts but also create a richer, more inclusive environment.
Dr. Amy Lindeman Allen’s work exemplifies the profound impact of bridging biblical scholarship with inclusive ministry. Her latest book, The Gifts They Bring, underscores the importance of recognizing children as active participants in the church’s present and future. As she takes on her new role as the Indiana Christian Church Chair in Biblical Studies, she continues a tradition of connecting theological education with practical ministry, ensuring that scholarship remains accessible and relevant to all. Her personal journey and commitment to making space for children serve as an inspiring testament to the transformative power of inclusive ministry.
For those interested in her book, The Gifts They Bring can be purchased at WJKbooks.com, through Amazon, or at most major book retailers online.