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Check Out Jameson Allen’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jameson Allen.

Hi Jameson, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I’ve been in and around ministry (helping people find freedom in Jesus) since I was in high school. After attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, I spent a decade working for a church in Wrigleyville near the Cubs stadium.

After joining LARK – a crowdfunded nonprofit helping broken people experience the freedom Jesus promised – I moved my family of 6 into a travel trailer so we could visit people in our network all over the US.

As the Director of Community Development with Lark, I encourage, equip and empower people from coast to coast so they can learn to live loved and free and help others do the same.

I love the long version of people’s stories and LARK loves the misfits and outcasts, so it’s a regular occurrence for my encounters to be filled with laughter, encouragement, Good News, food, and that feeling of “I’m not crazy and I’m not alone!”

Russ Johnson, founder of Lark, and I co-hosted an event in Savannah visiting and encouraging friends of LARK new and old. We got to spend time with Tom Neary, founder of Dad’s Donut House, and his family and friends to share stories and celebrate what it means that God’s love in Jesus has no conditions, boundaries, or limits.

We loved visiting the city and trying Tom’s donuts and hearing about his heart for Fathers and the fatherless in Savannah.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been easy. While I’m a determined individual and have been poured into and equipped by many, the opposition to spreading the scandalous grace of God surprisingly comes most intensely from within what many call “the Church.”

So in addition to living on a fundraised or tithed salary for almost 13 years, we’ve discovered the message of Jesus about what God is really like (endlessly forgiving, loving, redeeming, and reconciling) offends anyone proud of what they’ve made of themselves.

We like to think either God owes us some of his favor, or once he graciously gave it to us we have to find a way to keep it by growth or stewardship.

We’ve lost friends, experienced strained relationships, been called names, and have chosen to persist through some very difficult conversations where we’re either misunderstood, accused of being too focused on grace or too little on morality, or simply ignored.

If you take up a ministry of telling people that Christ is in them and always has been and that they have never not been the apple of the Creator’s eye, you risk being told that you are going too far and abusing the Scriptures. People who are addicted to religion cannot stand those who are reveling in their freedom in Christ.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I work with 2 other guys. As LARK, we set out to combine modern technology with the ancient art of friendship to help people reimagine life in Jesus.

So we produce content to inform, equip and encourage our friends as they explore what God is really like. In addition to that though, we’ve discovered content is inherently powerful, but if people are rethinking God and church, they need time and space to process in conversation with someone who doesn’t have an agenda or strings attached.

Between our content and conversations, we generate much to think about and we provide friends to do it with. We run a weekly podcast called the LARKCAST, a biweekly blog, we periodically release videos, we have a book, and several electronic readers, and we travel to visit with and encourage our followers all over the US.

Conversation and friendship is an art form, possibly even a lost art, at least within many churches. We revel in friendship and shared meals while offering encouragement that astonishes your heart.

We pride ourselves on the spaces we’ve provided for people the world over to hear more clearly what Jesus really said so they can trust in who he really is. While we are slowly discovering there are others running in a similar lane, there are sadly not many doing this work.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up in a small town in Iowa I was a quiet, introverted kid who loved to carry a fishing pole and tackle box on a bicycle between corn fields and on gravel roads to catch catfish in the creek. I loved our church life, a few close friends who would ride bikes, go fishing, drive Tonka trucks or play football with me.

I became a musician at a young age and joined my family in ministry settings and ended up being a bit of a silently judgmental goody-two-shoes who thought life was about getting it right and telling others to do the same or not running with them if they couldn’t.

This worldview slowly fell apart in high school and college as I realized no one gets it right or has an edge over anyone else. The deeper into music I dove the more taken I was with the biblical ideas of God’s love and grace. When people sang together and in unison about it, my heart erupted with joy and hope.

But as a developing theology nerd and helplessly empathetic pastor-in-training, I discovered over time that there are not many unchurched people who are willing to explore this message of love and grace in church gatherings. They need friends and conversations more than they need leaders and sermons.

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