Jenny Allen

Church Name: Northern Boulevard (Independence)

Share any relevant background information including leadership experience both within the church and in other areas of your life.

I grew up in the Church and have been involved in various positions within the church throughout my life. I have worked for the Heartland District for almost 10 years. I am also the dCOM Registrar for our District and am able to interact with those who are just getting into ministry. I interact with candidates, students, Local Pastors, Elders and laity throughout the Conference. I regularly work with the Episcopal and Conference Offices. My job is to coordinate information and help people through the maze of Methodism and the processes we have in place to get where they need to go.

I am married to a pastor and know first-hand the joys and frustrations of being part of a United Methodist church. I’ve worked with leadership teams to find ways to grow the church and make new disciples of Jesus Christ. I understand the delicate balance needed to move the ship forward. My previous career was event planning so I am used to working with a variety of people to make things happen.

Describe your personal practices of intentional faith development that strengthen your spiritual engagement with God and your capacity for fruitful leadership in the church.

My faith development starts with a variety of daily devotions. I also spend quiet time with God and try to listen more than I talk. I am fortunate in that my job often requires researching scripture and reading a variety of translations to find the one that best fits the situation. I attend annual meetings with the other District Admins to not only enhance our work practices, but to build our relationship with God and find ways to incorporate Him into our daily interactions. I have attended a variety of leadership classes in the churches I’ve been involved with, including Bill Hybels’ Walk Across the Room and Leading from Here to There. I’m currently finishing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I led the devotion for our women’s retreat last year and will be providing the program for an upcoming UMW meeting. All of these events help me to dig deeper into God’s Word and build my faith as I help others build theirs.

Why do you seek election as a lay delegate representing the Missouri Conference?

I hear the pain and frustration from all sides regarding the Special Session 2019 results. I understand there are many issues the Church needs to address. I am familiar with the amount of time involved in being a delegate and the level of commitment it requires. It is not something to be taken lightly, nor is it an opportunity to push your own agenda. It is a delegate's responsibility to represent everyone – laity, Local Pastors, and all the others who can’t vote – to help them have a say in how our church is run. Being a delegate is an intense job, but a delegate has the opportunity to work with fellow United Methodists from around the world to listen to the still, small voice of God and do what is best for the Church and all its multitude of different people, personalities, beliefs and needs. Being a delegate isn't something I was interested in, but the call on my heart continues to wake me in the middle of the night and tell me I need to do what I can to help our church.

How will your involvement in General Conference 2020 support the church to fulfill the mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”?

As a delegate, my goal is to help make sure we stay focused on the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ so we can transform the world - and that any legislation we pass supports that mission. It is easy to get caught up in our own agendas and forget that the United Methodist Church is supposed to be about God and how we can share the Good News of his Salvation and Love with everyone. We are called to be such brilliant examples of His Light that anyone who encounters us cannot help but want to have the same relationship with Him that we do.

Since the primary focus for Jurisdictional Conference is to elect new bishops, what qualifications do you think the church needs in its future episcopal leaders?

Future episcopal leaders need to be able to listen, encourage, and respond to others with respect. They need to be willing to embrace change that will move the United Methodist Church forward, while still respecting the traditions that have made the Church strong. They need to be willing to set aside personal agendas and work to do what is best for the Church. They need to be able to have open and honest discussions regardless of whether or not they agree with the persons involved. They need to be an example of respect, strength, and God’s unconditional love. They need to do their best to be the person God wants them to be.