Questions for Leaders: Sam Allen

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No Other Name is a Dove Award-nominated vocal group. Comprised of brother and sister Sam and Laura Allen, and Chad Smith, the trio is recognized for their powerful message, their commitment to the Great Commission, and their focus on exalting Jesus. They minister at churches in the United States, and regularly go on overseas missions trips. We recently got together with Sam Allen and asked him a few questions about his ministry and leadership.

What is the greatest leadership lesson you’ve learned?

It’s impossible to please everyone. I think this is true across the board. In no way am I suggesting that the opinions of those whom you lead aren’t important. They are for sure. But if one’s ability to lead is diminished because of the fear of rejection or discontentment, that person will probably not be a great leader. When I perform a song or lead in worship, I know that there will be some that don’t love what I do. And while I certainly attempt to please those whom I am leading, I can’t be discouraged by the fact that there might be some that aren’t entirely thrilled with it.

How do you inspire or motivate those whom you lead? What do you do to cultivate leadership in others?

Specifically, when No Other Name is in concert, we encourage others to find out how they can be involved in missions on a personal level. We want those that we lead to follow the command that Christ gave them. Whether it’s helping a neighbor down the street, helping a missionary in South America, or building a school in Africa, there are ways for every person to be involved and follow Christ personally. We encourage them to follow their heavenly leader, not just their earthly ones.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

Complete polarization. For some reason, people today tend to be more ideologically minded than they used to be. This means that no matter what decision is made, half the people are going to be angry. And while this shouldn’t affect a principled leader, it can. And while this phenomenon seems somewhat muted in the church, it certainly exists. For example, half the people want hymns, half don’t, and both sides are adamant about it.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Conviction of ideas. No one wants to be led by someone with no conviction or purpose. What’s the point of leading if you don’t have a goal? Unfortunately many politicians today lack this quality. Their “opinions” change based on party affiliation or their election chances. But if something is right, nothing should change your mind.

How do you deal with anxiety and stress?

I’ve never been prone to worry about things, although, as I get older, I can feel it slowly creeping into my life. But I know that I’m taken care of no matter what happens.

Have you felt burned out and ready to quit? How did you overcome?

Of course! I think most people will feel that way at some point in their lives. It’s happened to me more than once. I remember one time specifically when I was broke, No Other Name was at a crossroads, and I was frustrated with some individuals in my life. During that time, I began to regret every decision that I had ever made about my life. For the record, that’s a bad thing to do. But I was reminded that it wasn’t really me making all those decisions. I was called to be when and where I was. There was no doubt about it.

What habit have you implemented that you feel has drastically altered your life?

I made a commitment in high school to have a devotional every single day of my life without exception.

How do you make important decisions? Is there a method you follow?

Prayer, prayer and more prayer (and a dart board).

If you could encourage pastors and Christian leaders around the world, what would you say to them?

I think some of the most comforting words in scripture come from God speaking to Ezekiel: “You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen…” This takes the pressure off because God isn’t holding us responsible for the decisions of others. And while God will definitely hold leaders to a higher standard (James 3:1), He simply wants us to be obedient to Him…whether people listen or not.

Sam Allen

Sam Allen

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