Entrust Equipping Leaders
How can we avoid the sin of hurry sickness?
September 30, 2022
Pastor Jeff Simpson knows busyness. How might taking time to train others in your church to lead, free you from the "worldiness of busyness," or the disease so common to pastors called "hurry sickness?"
Guest Pastor Jeff Simpson. How can equipping the people of the church to do ministry benefit the pastor and the church? What does it look like for pastors and elders to intentionally train the people in the church? Ephesians 4:11-12 is the basis for our conversation today with Pastor Jeff  of Lansdowne Alliance Church, Baltimore, Maryland.

Links and resources mentioned
Jeff Simpson's Equipping Christian Leaders article https://www.entrust4.org/post/why-train-leaders

Jeff Simpson's church https://www.lansdownealliance.com

Robert E. Weber, author of various ancient/future books referenced by Pastor Jeff

| Speaker Name | Start Time | Text
Opening quote

| Jeff Simpson | 00;00;04;18 | Because I think what we miss is that not only is serving the church good for the church as a whole, but it's good for the individual doing the service. They're being disciplined in that act of serving in the church.
| Intro/Outro | 00;00;17;00 | And welcome to Entrust Equipping Leaders. Today Laurie Lind visits with Pastor Jeff Simpson of Lansdowne Alliance Church in Baltimore. Pastor Simpson wrote an article for interest in 2021 called Why Train Leaders? You might want to have your Bible handy. ppen to Ephesians 4:11-12.
| Laurie Lind | 00;00;36;25 | It's great to welcome Mr. Pastor Jeff Simpson to Equipping Christian Leaders today. And shall I call you Pastor Jeff?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;00;46;06 | You can just call me Jeff. You can call me Pastor. Whatever you like. I don't make it a thing. And but I you know, some people do it out of tradition or whatever. So whatever you want to call me is fine.
| Laurie Lind | 00;00;56;15 | Okay. Well, I like calling you Pastor Jeff. All right. Maybe you could start off by telling us a bit about yourself in terms of where you received your pastoral training and then your church. How long have you been there? And a little bit about what your church is like.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;01;12;00 | Sure. I am originally from Illinois and then as a baby moved to California. And then Florida is where I really grew up. And that's really where I would say I was discipled. I moved to Florida in fourth grade. So really, I'm a Florida kid. But I received an undergrad at Trinity College of Florida. Our claim to fame is that Billy Graham went there.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;01;32;16 | So back then it was, I think, Florida Bible College. But I have an undergraduate degree in church ministries with a focus on worship ministry. So my call into ministry was originally in music and worship. So very heavily influenced by Robert Webber. If you're familiar with Ancient Future, here's a bunch of different books on Ancient Future, and he really opened my eyes to sort of the global church and the liturgical church.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;02;03;13 | I come from a very low church kind of evangelical background, so we don't really have an appreciation for art and beauty and, you know, those liturgical elements. So being a musician, I was interested in that. I had a very influential professor in Bible College who I interned under and great church in Tampa. I got to be there during a building projects that was really influential for me as well.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;02;27;17 | And then over the years, serving in the church where I kind of grew up at and actually my father in law founded that church. And so that was an evangelical free church in Newport Richey, Florida, small town on the west coast of Florida, about 40 miles north of Tampa, and served a lot there. And I would say that really was the most formative time for me.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;02;48;26 | The pastor who is still one of my closest friends today, his name is Pat. He's still the pastor there. He really took me under his wing and we'll probably mention him again as we have the conversation, because he really influenced the way I think about life and ministry. So from there I was through a bunch of circumstances, invited to come lead the music at a men's retreat for a Christian and Missionary Alliance men's retreat in Florida.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;03;13;28 | Through some friends at the college, they were in Alliance churches and hey, can you come help us out this weekend? I said, sure. And in that retreat, I met the church planter who was leading the music for that retreat who was planting a church in Orlando. We talked, realized we had very similar ideas about ministry, and he offered me a job.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;03;34;22 | And I was, you know, was my first real full time job of any kind. I entered into the Christian Missionary Alliance, went through their process for licensing and then ordination. In August of 2017, I moved here and right here I'm in Baltimore, Maryland, and I am the solo pastor. I'm the only pastor of Lansdowne Alliance Church. So I worked in three Alliance churches in Orlando in different roles.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;04;01;12 | Youth ministry and worship ministry started to preach at one of the churches I worked at realized, Oh, this might be part of one of the ways I can serve the church and you know how it goes. One thing led to another, and the church kept affirming what I was doing. So I kept going with it and I ended up applying for this role here, working with the district superintendent for our area, which is Maryland, Delaware, Virginia became the pastor in August of 2017.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;04;30;17 | Been here for five years. Yeah, my family, I have a wife and a daughter and then we also have a young one with us who is in foster care. Yeah, the church. Our church is a small neighborhood church, and it's very much like the churches I grew up in as a as a kid. Now, after COVID, we on a good Sunday are 35 people and we have a few kids before COVID.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;04;52;25 | We are 50, maybe 60 on, you know, Easter Sunday, maybe 70. We're a small neighborhood church, and that's who we are. And it was just the right fit for my first time being the senior pastor.
| Laurie Lind | 00;05;04;20 | And you're the only full time...
| Jeff Simpson | 00;05;07;15 | Yeah, I'm the only staff paid staff of any. Any kind. Yeah. There's obviously there's people who volunteer and give a lot of hours, but I'm the only one who does this as a vocation.
| Laurie Lind | 00;05;18;05 | You know? Thank you for writing the article that you wrote for our blog about equipping Christian leaders. And the topic of that article was Why? Why even invest in training leaders, whether as a ministry or as a church? And I really I was very struck by that. You quoted in your article, Ephesians 411 and 12, and you had a take on that passage.
| Laurie Lind | 00;05;40;19 | That was, for me, a little bit new. Could you share that passage and talk about how you read that passage? Sure.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;05;49;11 | Yeah. So it says starting in verse 11 of chapter four and he, meaning Jesus, gave some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints, for the work of service to the building up of the Body of Christ. Some texts save for the work of ministry, and there's a whole world of what people call the oppressed, which is apostle prophet, evangelist shepherd or pastor and teachers, that these you should see these roles in every church, whether paid staff or unpaid.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;06;21;12 | There should just be some of these people. Yeah. And so, I mean, my, I think my take on that in the article was just that this is a call for a plurality of kind of ownership of the ministry of the church and that the role of the pastor, which, you know, I feel like when I wrote that article or when I speak about this, I should I'm preaching to myself a little bit because it's very difficult to actually do this.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;06;46;10 | But the role of the pastor isn't to actually be, you know, like the paid Christian or the professional Christian. That's not really the role. I remember something my my dad said to me as a young, young man when I first got started getting paid part time, even as an intern at a church, he said, And, you know, my dad doesn't have any ministry background, so this just was kind of the Holy Spirit in a moment speaking through him.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;07;09;23 | But he said, you know, son, they don't pay you to do a job. They really are paying you so you don't have to have another job. And I thought that was a really great way to think about ministry in the church, is that, yes, I have a specific set of gifts that I share with my church. And what the church is doing is kind of what we see in the New Testament of the laying on of hands and affirming.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;07;30;24 | We see this gifting in you. And because this is such an important gifting for us, particularly for me, the role of teaching in the local church, we want to take care of this, you know, financially, take care of you so you can focus all of your time on that. And then to bring Ephesians four, the passage we just read into that, the other main role that elders or pastors have is to equip the saints not to do the work of ministry, but to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry so that, as the passage says, the body of Christ is built up.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;08;02;07 | Because I think what we miss is that not only is serving the church good for the church as a whole, but it's good for the individual doing the service there being disciples in that act of serving in the church. And that's really the main goal.
| Laurie Lind | 00;08;18;02 | It seems like, though, like I've often seen this passage is like so the Lord has given these gifts to different people. You have your pastor, you have your evangelist, your teacher, and so just go out and just do it. Yeah, but there's this aspect of equipping, like, maybe it is a gift from the spirit, but you don't necessarily maybe know how to do that well at the start.
| Laurie Lind | 00;08;40;26 | But then if we're seeing this passage as the pastor's job is to equip those people to do those things well, is there almost an assumption the pastor knows how to equip all of those people to do those various tasks? Well.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;08;55;08 | Well, I don't know if there even has to be the assumption that he knows, because, you know, the the apostles and the prophets and the evangelists and the pastor, teachers are all called to that same role. So so what I would kind of say is that, you know, the paid pastors have a specific duty to focus in on that because, you know, the reality is we get to think about it at least 50, 60 hours a week of when we're working in the church.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;09;20;13 | But because it's a kind of an affirmation of a life long call, I mean, I would be doing this in a church if I wasn't paid to, you know, just with less time because I would have another vocation. So, yes, I think it's it is on the pastors and leaders in the church to be striving towards knowing how to equip.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;09;40;20 | So it makes sense that I would be the one probably reading the most books about this, thinking about this most often, because I have the time, because the church has affirmed and said we want to basically give you this gift of time by finances. That's that's the roles of leader leading in the churches to actually kind of you know you think about it the pastor is almost working himself out of a job all the time.
| Laurie Lind | 00;10;02;12 | Ideally, yes, but that would make sense.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;10;05;03 | I mean, we love that on the missions field, right. You got you send a missionary into the foreign field and they're going to raise up national leaders. And eventually we won't need the outside missionary pastors should really have kind of the same idea in a local church.
| Laurie Lind | 00;10;18;20 | Not build up a dependance on them. And you said in your article, like, pastors should be training leaders for the life of the church and for the life of the pastor. How can pastors even be more intentional, like for their own sake so they don't burnout, be equipping others to serve in these roles? And yet we know there's always this pastor that's so busy, that's it's an endless cycle.
| Laurie Lind | 00;10;41;26 | I'm so busy. Yeah, I don't have time to equip, but if I did equip, I wouldn't be so busy. How can they be more intentional when they're already quite busy? Most pastors.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;10;51;29 | Well, I think we just actually closed a three week series based on a book by another author on what that author calls kind of hurry sickness. And so I think, you know, to connect these two ideas very often us as pastors were some of the worst at actually sort of giving into the worldliness of busyness because that's a mark for Western Americans of it's almost a mark of pride like you.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;11;20;10 | I say this to my congregation all the time. If someone asks you, how are you? The next thing you're going to probably say is something like, I'm busy. Like it's like it's a badge of honor. And pastors are really bad at this too. And so the problem with that is you can't maintain that over the long haul. And so I think the reason to train other leaders is to, number one, to to take care of yourself so that you can be the pastor there.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;11;46;06 | I'd like to be the pastor here for 20 years. 30 years, you know, retire here, not be here for two years, and then need a year off from burn. You're being burned out and go somewhere else. And I don't want to do that. But the other thing guard's against is just the pride of sort of pastors taking on a little bit of a savior complex.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;12;04;13 | And I do think that is a unique temptation because part it's almost the shadow side of what makes us want to be a pastor. And I need to be careful that I don't begin to like, read my own press. You know, Pastor, that was a great sermon. Thank you for doing that. That I love the music today. Thank you.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;12;23;28 | The reality is I have to I have to let go of trying to run everything because not only is it not good for people aren't learning how to do anything, but it's also not good for my pride because I begin to believe that I can do anything. I can. You know, if I'm not there on a Sunday, the whole church service is going to fall apart.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;12;41;15 | And that's not a good place to be. The reality is it's not going to fall apart, right? They're going to be just they're going to be okay. Jesus is Lord of his church and they're going to be fine. It may not be exactly how you want it as the pastor, which really is about preferences and pride and not really about anything, you know, worthwhile.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;13;00;08 | So I think actually training other people and and letting go of our pride as pastors and letting other people run things solves the too busy problem in the long run.
| Laurie Lind | 00;13;13;11 | So is that one of the steps to take? If you want to be intentional, to be equipping the saints, the people in your church is just letting them run things. Are there other ways to go about equipping people?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;13;25;26 | Well, I think letting, you know, letting people actually take real ownership and pushing them to take real ownership of things to the point where they can fail. Because, you know, I think so often we sort of catastrophize what could go wrong if I let so-and-so teach a Sunday school class. The reality is, if they teach the worst Sunday school class in the history of Sunday school classes, the sun is going to come up on Monday.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;13;53;10 | People probably aren't going to remember that much in a couple of weeks. And you can now work with that person and train them to figure out what went wrong or to do it better or to figure out, you know, this really isn't your gifting. I mean, I've had that conversation so many times as a worship pastor was singing.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;14;11;06 | Why wouldn't we assume that's the case with other things, you know, may not be your calling to work with the kids, but you have to. I think you have to let people try and they might fail. And I'm just you know, as a pastor, I have to repent and be honest about the fact that I'm afraid of if that I live in fear, what if people fail and it's really bad and, you know, as a pastor of a small church, then it goes to what if a guest shows up that day and then they don't come back?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;14;36;04 | And what if and what if and what if? And my calling isn't to build a crowd. My calling is to disciple and shepherd in and love this this group of people that's here now.
| Laurie Lind | 00;14;46;26 | So how how might a pastor really practically go about helping people in the church discover those gifts and learn those gifts and learn how to do it? Well, if someone does teach us Sunday school class, it really doesn't go well. What what might happen next?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;15;06;20 | I think yeah. For me, I and this is where I'm going to go back to the church that I kind of really was formed in by, you know, my pastor as a, as a young man in high school and then in college. Pat for him. And what I think is true, hopefully it's true for me is really it has to start with relationships.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;15;27;07 | I'm not interested so much in setting up a system of here's how we do this. I think those are helpful, but I think I want to have as barebones of a system as I can have so that things don't go so wrong that people get hurt. But it also doesn't hinder and kind of squash what the Holy Spirit might do.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;15;45;23 | So for me, the way that worked was just a lot of time and a lot of lunches and a lot of coffees together and a lot of relational building and a lot of and that just, you know, now being in the city, I mean, looking back at my relationship with my pastor, he spent a lot of hours with me, a lot of time was was invested in me.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;16;05;20 | And what that led to was him being able to speak into my life in a way that I heard him. And it didn't it didn't hurt me. It didn't come across like he was smashing me. It just came across like a friend. And I do think pastors need to be friends with their congregation. It's part of why I love the church that I'm in.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;16;22;15 | I love the small church environment that I'm in, and I don't have anything against. I have friends that are in, you know, multi-site churches, and they do great things that I can't do. But the one thing I think we can do well as pastors is build relationships with people and shepherd the flock of God that's among you. That's with you.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;16;39;00 | These these are my folks. I'm part of them. So if I know someone well and I've been singing with them for a year and it's really not their thing, I have the relational capital to say, hey, is there is there another way we can serve or another another option is to try and you with your relationship, try and find another thing that they seem gifted at and see if you can kind of encourage them to go that direction and ask the Holy Spirit, would you make them love this more than they love the thing that they hit, that they're really not gifted towards, so that it doesn't have to be about confrontation and building this
| Jeff Simpson | 00;17;15;01 | building. I never want it to be about building an institution. I want it to be about like discipling people and helping them. But that just it's hard because it takes a long time and it's really difficult to see the progress. You know, it's like you can work for six months on a relationship and equipping somebody and not really see where you're at.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;17;34;02 | It's hard to measure, and I think that's what's so hard about being a pastor.
| Laurie Lind | 00;17;38;12 | You mentioned that, you know, you'd like to stay at your same church for like 30 years and not have to leave in two because you're burned out. Yeah. And yet we did talk about, like, working ourselves out of a job. So just speaking ideally here, you love your congregation, you love to stay. I get that. Would you would the ideal picture be to stay?
| Laurie Lind | 00;17;57;15 | But to have raised up more and more leaders who are taking on roles. And so your role keeps changing over that time?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;18;05;17 | Yeah, I think there are you know, there are some axioms you think of, you know, as a leader in the church, you should only do what only you can do. And I think there's a sense in which, you know, my calling, my main calling, you know, the way we view what elders and deacons are and leaders in the church, the main calling of an elder, the only thing that distinguishes an elder from a deacon is able to teach.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;18;27;04 | So the role of the pastor then, and I don't think that necessarily means sermons, although that's a major part of it. It just means I'm able to, you know, as Jesus said to Peter, feed my sheep, you know, give them the word. So there should be in my neighborhood especially and this is contextual, though my neighborhood is is pretty transient.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;18;47;02 | So there should be some new people all the time that there's new people to equip, new people to teach the word. But yes, over the course of ten, 20, 30 years, hopefully, you know, when our church grows, I don't necessarily want to see us build a new, big, new, big building. I want to see us plant another church.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;19;05;00 | So there's a huge opportunity there and to be part of raising up a whole new group of leaders to go out and plant something new. Now, again, I don't think there's anything wrong with building a big building if that's your thing. But that's not my thing. And I don't think that's what this neighborhood would be. I don't think it would be effective here.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;19;23;23 | I think multiple small congregations or in our model that we had before COVID happened, we were doing what we called missional communities. And so that requires training up a leader. Actually, a lot of a lot of lay over with one in trust is really good at with small group leadership and stuff. Some of the training that my wife has done and has really she's actually leading a book study right now and using a lot of the training that she picked up from one of our members who is involved in in trust.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;19;51;05 | And so that's been really great. And so of course, yeah, my role is to help equip my wife even for that that leadership. And what does that look like? It just looks like conversations, you know, just looks like basic conversations. And taking the fact that I get to spend 40, 50 hours a week reading, thinking, you know, writing and just being a person who people can bounce ideas off of, that's really my role.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;20;17;27 | My role is to just kind of, you know, be a person that can be a sounding board and a trainer for people and to say, oh, you know, that's the issues going on. Have you thought about this? Or Here's a great resource you can have? You know, that's kind of how I see my role as the pastor of a church to train and equip new people, because then it's them learning, it's them feeding themselves and it's them getting the joy of leading and knowing that they're then able to do the same thing and train other people.
| Intro/Outro | 00;20;48;24 | You're hearing a conversation between Laurie Lind of Entrust and Pastor Jeff Simpson of Lansdowne Alliance Church in Baltimore. Check out our show notes to find a link to the article Pastor Simpson wrote about the importance of equipping leaders in and for the local church. What is the difference between equipping leaders and making disciples? Or is there a difference?
| Intro/Outro | 00;21;11;16 | Join us next time to get in on their conversation here on Entrust Equipping Leaders.