Skip to main content
Home / Campus News & Blogs / From a Music Degree to a Master’s in Ministry: Meet Dan Allan

From a Music Degree to a Master’s in Ministry: Meet Dan Allan

Interested in a music degree or ministry education? Grace College is a Christian College with Worship Arts and Music Production Majors.

Dan Allan’s enthusiasm for introducing others to Jesus shines through his decades of service as a senior pastor and church leader.

But before Allan became a senior pastor of 32 years, a youth pastor, or even a church intern, he earned his music degree at Grace College, eager to discern where God was leading him.

The oldest of four, Allan was born to a family of believers in a suburb of Detroit. His grandfather worked as a bivocational pastor, and to Allan’s parents, church attendance was a must. Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, without fail, the Allans took their seats in the pews.

“Church was an unquestionable part of our lives,” said Allan.

Despite this, Allan never thought ministry was for him. The young baseball enthusiast dreamed of playing ball professionally, but the summer before college flipped Allan’s career plans inside out.

Just like any other year, the Allan family packed up their luggage and made their way to their summer lake house. The community there held a yearly children’s Christian summer camp. Allan worked as a staff member and listened to the director preach the same message week after week.

Every Thursday night, the director challenged a fresh audience to pursue ministry unless God directed them otherwise. Allan recalls growing weary of hearing the same sermon.  Still, God used the message to stir a new desire in his heart.

The first few weeks of camp, Allan reasoned that he’d work in business but still support the church. Over time, he considered working bivocationally like his grandfather. But by the end of the summer, Allan fully committed himself to ministry.

“I told God, ‘I have no idea what I’m about to offer or how You could use me, but I’ll head into full-time ministry unless You close the door,’” said Allan.

God took him at his word.

Allan now had a vocation, but he still lacked a college. His road to Grace began, unconventionally, at the very camp he discovered his call to ministry.

Interested in a music degree or ministry education? Grace College is a Christian College with Worship Arts and Music Production Majors.

Allan and his father had planned a week-long fishing trip at the lake house, but his father had to reschedule at the last moment. As a result, they arrived at the lake a week earlier than expected, during which Allan volunteered at camp.

At a camp softball game, Allan played second base. Manning first base was Dick Messner, the director of development at Grace and the camp’s speaker for the week.

Noting Allan’s athleticism, Messner inquired about his interests and college plans. When Allan replied that he hadn’t decided on a school, he invited Allan to visit Grace.

Allan marvels at how God led him to the right place, next to the right person, at the right time.

“I look back on God’s sovereign guidance, and it’s stunning to me,” said Allan.

A trumpet player, Allan was drawn in by Grace’s music degree program. He enrolled as a double major in church music and music education.

He met his wife, Holly, in his junior year. They began dating, and during that time, Allan felt more sure than ever that God was confirming his future in ministry. In 1980, using his music degree, he began working at his wife’s church, Ashland Grace, as a music intern. He realized there that if he was going to serve full-time in the church, he needed a solid theological foundation.

That desire to get a ministry education brought him to Grace Seminary, where he earned a biblical studies certificate and eventually a master’s degree. 

At Grace, Allan dove headfirst into the richness of the Word. It transformed his perspective on vocational ministry so much that when he became senior pastor at Ashland Grace, he committed to preaching through the whole Bible. He fulfilled that commitment over a 30-year period.

After graduating, Allan worked in a variety of positions in the church. At Ashland Grace, he served as the senior pastor for 32 years. Currently, he works as pastor of ministry development at the same church.

Decades of ministry experience have challenged Allan to focus on glorifying and sharing about Jesus, no matter where he finds himself or whom he talks to.

“In this stage of my life, what is passionately driving me?” said Allan. “I just want to know and enjoy Jesus more. And I want to talk to anybody that wants to talk about it. To know Christ and make Him known has my riveted attention right now.”


Learn more about Grace College’s music degree options and explore admissions at Grace College.

Tagged With: Alumni, Art, School of Ministry Studies