My Intimate Conversation with Allison Collar
By website contributor C. Astacio
Chiara: Where are you from?
I was born in New Jersey, but grew up in Stroudsburg, PA. I lived here from the time I was 2 until 18. When I graduated High School I moved to Manhattan and then moved around before coming back to the Poconos. Over the course of 5 years I lived in Providence, RI, Haverhill, MA and then Los Angeles.
Chiara: What is your educational background?
I attended Zion Bible College, which is now called North point Bible College in Haverhill Massachusetts.
Chiara: Tell me about your family?
I have been married to the best man in the world for 7 years. I suppose I am also a little biased. His name is Josh and he is the Associate Pastor at Innovation Church in Cresco, PA. We have two boys. Hudson is 3 and Jude is 18 months. They are fun and energetic and keep us on our toes!
Chiara: Who are your spiritual influences and who do you admire?
In my own personal life I am influenced by my husband and by my in-laws. They are people who know God and His word and walk that out every day. They are pretty inspirational. People who I don’t know personally but have influenced me- Lysa Terkeurst. She started Proverbs 31 ministry, is an author, and a speaker. She is very real about life and motherhood and I love to read everything she has to say!
And I love Heidi Baker- She is a missionary to Mozambique who serves poor and homeless children. Her ministry opens orphanages, provides health care, and opens churches throughout Mozambique. She really exemplifies loving “the least of these.”
Chiara: Can you share your calling into ministry and when you knew your gifts and talents were for God’s glorification?
When I first became a Christian I was 19 and in College. I had been studying Sociology at Marymount Manhattan College. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with this area of study, but I knew that I wanted to help people with my life. When I became a Christian my sophomore year of College it became so clear to me that that was a desire that God had placed in my heart. When I started serving the Lord, I knew that I wanted to help people as my job, but now with telling people the Good News about Jesus.
So, I transferred to Zion Bible College (now North point Bible College) and studied Biblical Studies with a minor in World Missions. I think that the talent that God has given me is the gift of hospitality. Just making people feel loved with His love, but more than that I think He has also given me the gift of teaching. I love to teach. I love to think about how I can make a complicated truth about God a simple truth for everyone to understand. I love to think about stories that will help people better understand God’s Word as well.
So, with those gifts I have been serving in churches since I became a Christian. My husband and I helped start a church in Los Angeles and I used the gift of hospitality to head up the hospitality ministry. We started the church with 10 people in a living room and now there are over 100 people that attend the church on a weekly business. It has been awesome seeing God’s hand upon that church and the people.
When my second son Jude was born I decided that I needed to take a step back from ministry for a year to focus totally on being a mom. I was glad that I did that, but once Jude turned one ministry opportunities started presenting themselves. I had a woman in the church say that it was time for me to start teaching again, and I knew that it was confirmation from God that it was time to get back into ministry. Right now, I use the gifts that God has given me by leading the Guest Services ministry at Innovation Church, teaching a Starting Point class, helping lead the MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) ministry at Innovation Church, and by co-leading a young family group with my husband at our home.
I have found that being in ministry and having a family is a continual balancing act. Last month there was a 2 week period in which myself or my husband was at the church 13 of the 14 nights. Obviously, this cannot happen all the time. We need to pick and choose what we can be involved in and always make time for our family. Our life needs to be structured by our relationship with God coming first, then our marriage, our children, and then ministry. If that gets out of order things can get really ugly. But I would not change being in ministry for the world. I know that I am doing exactly what God has called me to do.
Sometimes I get discouraged thinking about life and ministry and what it looks like. Right now I wait tables on the weekends. And it is definitely a humbling experience to wait on someone who I went to High School with. The temptation is to feel like I have failed in some way. But really I know that I am exactly where God wants me. I am able to stay home with my boys during the day, be involved with ministry during the week, and also bring in extra money for our family.