Retired Professor of Family Science and Christian Ministries
Lipscomb University, Nashville
In each edition of IG Mix, we ask a guest writer two questions about serving in ministry.
What keeps you up at night?
Before I sleep, I often consider what I have written that day. I am currently working on a revised, updated edition of Intergenerational Christian Formation with co-authors Christine Lawton and Cory Seibel. So I am daily writing, deleting, re-writing, shuffling—creating new sentences and paragraphs for this book.
And at night, I think about those words. Is there a better way to help people see that God has called the generations together to bless one another and grow each other up? Is there a story that captures this essence? How can I describe an intergenerational experience in a way that enlightens the reader’s understanding?
And sometimes, as I consider the day’s words, new ways of sorting, re-arranging, and communicating ideas come to me, and I gratefully receive these gifts as fuel for the next day’s work.
What gets you up in the morning?
I am in a season of working through the Ignatian exercises. So I rise every morning anticipating the assurances and the admonitions the Holy Spirit will bestow. These spiritual disciplines are teaching me to see God’s hand in the work he is giving me to do.
For twenty-five years, I have been passionate about bringing the generations together; it is the main work God has called me to in this season of my life. And as I lean into my imminent retirement, I am learning to rest, knowing that this work will continue into the future whether I am here to shepherd it or not. God is raising up people around the world who are heeding his call to promote and encourage intergenerational ministry.
So, my morning forays into the ancient Ignatian contemplative practices are teaching me to step back, relinquish various leading roles, and consider what the next season will look like as I welcome Jesus as my traveling companion, receive the Spirit as my sustainer and upholder, and rest in the long, steady, loving gaze of God.
Holly Allen recently retired as Professor of Family Science and Christian Ministries, Lipscomb University (Nashville, TN). Her books include Forming Resilient Children: The Role of Spiritual Formation for Healthy Development (2021); InterGenerate: Transforming Churches through Intergenerational Ministry (2018), an edited volume; and Intergenerational Christian Formation: Bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community, and Worship (2012).
Also from August 2022 IG Mix: