Allan grew up as a missionary kid in Brazil receiving his elementary and secondary education in Portuguese. He served two rural parishes in South Dakota while attending seminary and served as a Baptist missionary on the remote Mambilla Plateau of Nigeria, from 1982-1990. He has taught at the Mambilla Baptist Theological Seminary in Nigeria, and has offered intensive courses in the Philippines and Russia.
Currently he is the Ray and Edith DeNeui Professor of Intercultural Studies at Taylor Seminary, Edmonton, where he has taught since 1993.
Allan has been married to Karen since 1986 and they have two adult daughters. A highlight of his recent teaching has involved leading two groups of students on pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. He currently serves as secretary for the American Society of Missiology.