The Shepherd- Rachel Allen

Host Brian Kissinger introduced Rachel Allen’s Keynote speech saying “I’m convinced that God has something new to say to us.”

Rachel promptly opened with a surprising remark: “I should’ve been a leash kid.” How’s that for something new? If God was speaking through Rachel, what could He possibly mean by that?

Rachel Allen painted us a good picture of her as a child: an unbridled spirit who always believed she was “bigger and more independent” than she really was. As a five year old, Rachel once hopped on her bike and rode to the park to play by herself, and she once got lost at the zoo on a 3rd grade field trip. It’s safe to say that she had a certain disregard for “the rules.” She was lucky that no one ever put a leash on her.

Sometimes we get caught up in a similar situation in our faith. We become “Catholic leash kids.” We become tired of following a certain set of rules that start to feel like a leash. We go to church because it’s “the thing to do”; we follow the rules– mostly the things that we should not do (don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal).  All we want to do is to become bigger and more independent than we really are. We think that defying “the rules” might give us freedom. We feel like God is limiting us, putting a leash on us with his “rules.”

Rachel told the crowd that God simply does not work that way. As Scripture tells us “The Lord is my shepherd.” The Lord calls us into relationship with Him. When we go astray, the Good Shepherd will not pull us back with a leash. He is not setting limits for us, but calls us by name to live a life without limits. We are free to respond– to choose to follow Christ.

Rachel closed with a challenge: It’s up to you to respond. How will you respond to the Good Shepherd’s call?


“We have all gone astray in our lives, like ‘sheep without a shepherd.'”

“Jesus didn’t come to give us rules, to sentence us to boredom. He came to give us life.”

“If Jesus was a leash kid, we could have avoided that whole ‘lost in the temple’ scene.”

Written by Maggie Schroeder
Maggie was an intern at the Office of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 2016. She studied Communication and Theology at Saint Louis University. In her spare time she loves playing Ultimate and playing popular songs on the recorder (you know, the sonorous woodwind instrument you played in 5th grade music class).