Four Years of The Allender Center Podcast
This month, we’re celebrating four years and more than 200 episodes of The Allender Center podcast. Dan sits down with Rachael Clinton, Director of Organizational Development, and Beau Denton, Content Curator, to discuss the podcast’s history, the behind-the-scenes experience, and their hopes for future episodes.
Dan: “We come in with a perspective and a theology, but these matters that we attempt to tackle have a depth and complexity that require, on all our parts, far more of a stance of learners. Let’s keep talking and see if we can gain, maybe not answers as much as some clarity.”
The podcast started as an experimental side project in October 2014, under the leadership of Jason Best, former Director of Media and IT, and Nicole Greenwald, Vice President of Brand & Enrollment. Not really knowing who (if anyone) would listen, Dan began recording weekly discussions about the core categories we engage at The Allender Center. It quickly became clear that these conversations were striking a chord and that this was more than a side project. Now, four years later, the podcast has thousands of weekly listeners and more than 1.2 million total downloads—a reflection of the deep need for honest, thoughtful conversations about living as people of faith, hope, and love in a traumatized world.
Rachael is a frequent conversation partner with Dan and records the intro for each new episode, and Beau helps steward the vision for the podcast, managing the schedule and writing these summaries each week. The three of them discuss what they have learned over the years and how they hope the podcast has grown—both in production quality and in depth of conversation.
Dan: “I feel like the work in my brain is fairly—to me it’s normal, but others say it’s somewhat chaotic.”
Beau: “That’s true—you’re not always the easiest person to summarize. But it’s been a joy. It’s really fun to follow the arc of a conversation and try to figure out the easiest and the most compelling way to say what we’re talking about. […] And imagining thousands of conversation partners here in the room with us is a gift.”
Rachael: “The fascinating thing about a podcast is, it really is a strange thing to sit down with someone and have a conversation that you care deeply about, have deep convictions about, to be learning, listening, conversing—but you don’t necessarily get to be with the listeners as you’re conversing. […] So it’s been a real learning process for me, and it’s a medium that I find myself increasingly grateful for.”
There’s so much to tend to at our specific intersection of trauma and narrative and the ways this is playing out in Christianity and spiritual formation.
Dan asks Beau, who tracks analytics and listener engagement, to share a few of the episodes that seem to have resonated most deeply with listeners—like the Spiritual Abuse series Dan and Rachael recorded earlier this year. (Below you can find the top episodes from each year so far.) Our hope is that, by listening to feedback and tracking listener responses, we will continue to foster deep and meaningful dialogue about topics that are so often ignored or used for harm. Rachael, Dan, and Beau end the conversation by sharing their hopes for that process and for how this platform will continue to grow.
Beau: “One of the things I would love to see is us to continue leaning into listener interactions. […] To build that more into our routine with the podcast, a chance for listeners to say ‘This really resonated with me and it brings up this question,’ or ‘I would love to hear you talk more about this.’”
Dan: “Those questions are always contextual. They always come from the world of our own lives. A couple times a year, to be able to play with a person that wants to talk about something that got provoked, or something they differ with—that would be plain, simple fun. […] We’ve got to figure out a way to bring you, our audience, into this beautiful new studio in a way that we’ve not done in the first four years. We need you as our ally, to engage us in this process.”
Rachael: “And I would love to see us keep growing our conversation partners. There’s so much to tend to at our specific intersection of trauma and narrative and the ways this is playing out in Christianity and spiritual formation. I want us to keep hearing from the people in really particular trenches, doing really particular work that intersects with ours. Everyone gets to play, and we’re in one of those seasons for the Church and for the world where we actually need everyone to play, really wildly and robustly.”
If you would like to offer feedback, ask a question, or brainstorm ideas for future episodes, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And with full, grateful hearts, we say thank you: to Jason Best and Nicole Greenwald for sparking this vision and bringing it to life; to Brodie Peterson for editing and producing each episode; to Ashley Wright for selecting images to accompany new episodes (it only took us about a year to realize we don’t have to use that picture of Dan holding a coffee cup every week); to Lowland Hum for sharing their music with us; and most of all to you, for listening each week and joining us on this wild journey. Thank you.
Top Episodes (so far)
Building Deeper Intimacy
Our very first series! Four episodes on intimacy in relationships, and how it is impacted by family of origin, conflict styles, and sexual history.
God Loves Sex
A three-part series about the book God Loves Sex: An Honest Conversation about Sexual Desire and Holiness.
Why Should I Look at My Story?
Dan wrestles with a very common and crucial question: why dig up the harm of the past? Isn’t it better to forgive and forget?
2015 saw the entry of Becky Allender, Dan’s wife, into the podcasting world. In this series, she and Dan wrestle with some of the core categories that emerge in long-term relationships.
Trauma and the Church
For three episodes, Dan discusses how crucial it is for pastors and church leaders—not just therapists—to be trained and equipped to engage the trauma of others.
Dan engages some of the biggest questions that keep people from engaging their story—including fear, unreliable memory, and the devastating lie that your story just isn’t important enough.
Healing the Wounded Heart
Dan discusses the publication of his newest book, Healing the Wounded Heart, and what he has learned after working with trauma and abuse for more than 30 years.
The Four J’s
A fun series series engaging the sweeping, chaotic, sometimes terrible and sometimes glorious stories of four characters in the Old Testament: Jacob, Joseph, Jeremiah, and Jonah.
The Spectrum of Trauma
Dan is joined by Abby Wong-Heffter and Dr. Angela Parker to discuss how the existence of seemingly small, daily experiences of harm fit into our broader understanding of trauma.
The Marriage Quadrants
For six episodes, Dan explores the complex theoretical framework of marriage that informs how he engages and works with couples.
Dan and Rachael Clinton dive into the complex, loaded, misunderstood, and vital category of spiritual warfare.
Dan and Rachael wrestle with the uniquely evil harm that occurs when power is abused in religious settings. As soon as we launched this series, it was clear that the need for this conversation is deep and widespread.
Dan spends four weeks asking friends and colleagues about passages of the Bible that intrigue and inspire them. Guests include Dr. Angela Parker, Dr. Chelle Stearns, Dr. Derek McNeil, and Dr. Craig Detweiler.
An Epidemic of Loneliness
Becky Allender joins Dan to discuss the widespread and devastating effects of loneliness in our fast-paced, fragmented world.