Entrust Equipping Leaders
How can a busy pastor equip people to lead in the church?
October 14, 2022
Pastor Jeff Simpson with ideas on training leaders in your church, discipleship and your witness to the community.
Guest Jeff Simpson. It may sound counter-intuitive, but taking time to invest and equip people in your church for leadership can actually be good for you as a pastor. Let Pastor Jeff share encourage you from his own experiences at Lansdowne Alliance Church in Baltimore.

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

Lansdowne Alliance Church: https://www.lansdownealliance.com

Gospel Fluency by Jeff Vanderstelt

| Speaker Name | Start Time | Text
| Todd (Intro/Outro) | 00;00;04;13 | Welcome back again to Entrust Equipping Leaders,a series of conversations with authors, pastors, scholars and people serving in ministry. Today, Pastor Jeff Simpson of Lansdowne Alliance Church in Baltimore dialogs with Entrust's Laurie Lind about disciple making and leadership equipping in the local church.
| Laurie Lind | 00;00;24;27 | Thank you, Todd. That guy's name is actually Todd Randall. And in some upcoming episodes, we're going to get to know Todd better. He is really a funny guy. You're going to like him. And if you're wondering who on earth this Laurie Lind is, here's just a little background on me. I am on staff with Entrust. I serve on the communications team, which means I work with some amazingly talented people on the messaging for Entrust, from concept to writing to editing to finessing.
| Laurie Lind | 00;00;56;23 | Most of my work has to do with writing, and I would say words are my forte, not so much numbers, which is why I don't work in accounting. And we'll get a little bit more about me in the upcoming episodes, too. But today I really think you're going to find what Pastor Jeff has to say. Very interesting, encouraging and challenging.
| Laurie Lind | 00;01;16;27 | In fact, if you're a pastor, an elder, if you own a company, if you're in charge of a department at work, even a leader in your home, you need to listen to this and maybe share this with someone who also has such leadership roles in their life. Because we're going to get into concepts about delegating, about training people to do aspects of what you do so that you aren't the only person who knows how to do those things.
| Laurie Lind | 00;01;42;14 | And at the end of today's episode, Pastor Jeff has some great practical advice for you. If you feel overworked, burned out or exhausted, hell, that's probably a lot of us. So when we left off last time here on Entrust Equipping Leaders, Pastor Jeff Simpson described how he sees himself as the pastor, as the person who has the time and the calling to invest in the people of the church and to help them learn to lead.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;02;14;22 | You know, it 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. 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 this issue is going on.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;02;40;10 | 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 themself and it's them getting the joy of leading and and knowing that they're then able to do the same thing and train other people.
| Laurie Lind | 00;03;01;02 | We know in real life it gets a little tricky and a little harder to define all those those moments where people are learning and growing. Yeah.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;03;08;22 | And it doesn't always work perfectly. People quit, they leave. Sometimes they just don't want to do it. I mean, how many times do you know Jesus was with his disciples for three years and he says to them on occasion, How long must I be with you? Like, Come on, you don't get it yet. You know, so I think as pastors, if we go in with the expectation that this we shouldn't go in with the expectation, we're going to set up this system and it's just going to work perfect.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;03;32;15 | That's just not the reality. Or else you would only need to be there for a year or two. Right. The fact that a church does well with a pastor who can be there for his whole career means that it's not going to always go easy. It's probably, you know, I mean, to take it back to the creation, it's going to you're going to till the ground and it's going to give you thorns and thistle.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;03;50;05 | Sometimes. So just go in with that expectation.
| Laurie Lind | 00;03;53;19 | Maybe you've already touched on this. You talked about how we pastors need to be training and equipping their people for the sake of the pastor so he doesn't burn out also for the sake of the church. And you have kind of touched on that. But why is it important for the sake of the church to be training up leaders?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;04;13;27 | Yeah, I mean, for me, that really connects to this idea that the church is the very presence of Christ in the world. And so if we are the body of Christ, you know, not literally, but in a very real sense, we are Jesus in the world. So when the world, you know, somebody in the world says, Where is Jesus?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;04;35;13 | The answer is in the church. And I mean Big C, the community of saints Church, which yes, has local you know, local manifestations, local expressions in local churches. But if that body is being built up and is being, you know, is strong, then the witness of the body of Christ in the world is is more full, is is better.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;05;01;06 | And so for the church, not only are they a better witness, but they also are growing in their own discipleship because, you know, nothing will will teach you. Let's say your gifting is teaching. Nothing will make you learn to teach better than having somebody ask you a question that you don't know the answer to. You know, we you know, let's think about a musician in the church or a Sunday school teacher in a church or a women's ministry leader or whatever ministry you have.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;05;26;10 | Nothing is going to train you for that ministry, like doing that ministry. Right. So I think as pastors, the reason it's important for the church is that we want we want everyone to be as spiritually strong as possible. You know, and an author that I appreciate uses this metaphor of too often churches are like orphanages where there's one set of parents and there's a bunch of kids running around.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;05;50;23 | And the reality is we're supposed to be a multigenerational family where we have grandparents who are very wise but who maybe don't have the energy of the young ones, who are full of energy and life and vigor, but who need some wisdom. And so, like, when we when we constructed our missional communities, we intentionally didn't do it by affinity.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;06;09;11 | We did it by geography with the hope that there would be, you know, young let's say young singles with older singles and maybe a young couple who just had baby who just had, you know, their first baby. And they're like, I've never not slept before. And they're in the room with somebody who has grandkids who can tell them it's going to be all right, you're going to be okay.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;06;31;15 | And so but those people all need different equipping to minister to one another. And in that they are all built up in their own faith because they're having to go back to Jesus, back to the Word, how do I minister to this person? And that all requires relationship and time. And it's difficult. And it it's hard to put on an annual report, but that's the way it works, right?
| Laurie Lind | 00;06;53;08 | Yes. Annual reports and the need for numbers and statistics sometimes don't really fit with the life of the church. I'm thinking another thing we talk a lot about, I mean, churches need to be disciple and we need to be making disciples. Would you say leadership training and discipling are the same thing? Or if not, how are they different?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;07;15;18 | I would probably put leadership training under the umbrella of discipline that I think it's a it could be a specialized version of discipleship. Not everybody in your church is going to be a leader. You know, not everybody in the church is going to be, you know, a deacon or an elder or a Sunday school teacher or whatever. But if you look at the requirements for, let's say, deacons and elders, they really aren't anything different than just Christian maturity.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;07;40;17 | So there's a sense in which your discipling should increase your pool of potential. You know, elders, deacons, Sunday school leaders, if you're discipling everybody in your church where they need to be disciple, that they're going to grow into a person who could, if they have the calling, if Jesus has given them as an apostle Prophet Shepherd teacher, that they would then have the equipping to step into that if they need to.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;08;04;13 | So I think leadership training in the church is a is a specialized track in the discipleship plan.
| Laurie Lind | 00;08;12;07 | So all of us as followers of Christ need to be disciples, but maybe not all are or will be leaders. Yeah, but what about some of the leadership roles in the local church? You know, everything from elders and deacons to small group leaders, worship leaders, Sunday school teachers, ushers, greeters. What roles require or would benefit from leadership training and which are some that just maybe don't need that?
| Laurie Lind | 00;08;43;00 | Or does everybody need some kind of training?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;08;45;01 | I think I mean, every role has its own special. You know, again, I think of musicians have to know how to play an instrument or sing. That's a specialized skill. You have to have. Does that mean that every musician has to be able to lead the church and worship in terms of being the person who puts together the service and not necessarily.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;09;05;21 | And so I may have somebody who plays bass, let's say, or plays drums, who's a very new Christian, but I'm not asking them to lead the prayers between the songs and lead the church in worship. I go back to that example because that's kind of the world I came from. So in the same way in children's ministry, let's say there there may be people who can help with the crafts, which does require some specific training and who we you know, we look at that as a that's a way to minister to the kids as to, you know, help the the main teacher who then does need some specific training.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;09;39;12 | And I might make the distinction that, yes, I do think there are some specific roles within the church that you may need to think about some theological training for, like particularly elders, anyone who's going to be in a teaching type of role in our polity. We see elders as a highest authority and they have oversight of the church.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;09;58;02 | I know not every stream in Christianity sees that, but so for us we give you know, I give special attention to the elders I meet with right now. I'm meeting with one of our elders once a week. We read a book, we read books together, we pray together. So he gets more of my time because he is one of the pastors at the church with me.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;10;16;21 | We see elders and pastors as interchangeable. And so, yeah, there could be specific roles that need specific training for that. But at the same time, there isn't anything that I'm giving to this fellow elder that wouldn't be good for anybody in my church.
| Laurie Lind | 00;10;32;12 | There is like skills training and then there theological training might be some crossover there, but do you feel that people can learn, can gain theological training to the extent that they might become a pastor within their lot? Just not saying just but the local church? Or is there a certain level where you've got to go away to school to get that?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;10;57;23 | I think it depends on your church. I mean, I know there are churches that have programs for that. I think speaking generally in the kind of churches that I came from when I went, you know, when I went to Bible college, I didn't go to the seminary, but I went to Bible College. That did give me some specific, focused time where, you know, I don't know that anybody in my local church would have been able to walk me through, you know, systematic theology classes and, you know, deep dove classes on books of the Bible or those things.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;11;29;18 | So I definitely think, you know, it's hard to say that it's an absolute requirement biblically, but I can't deny that it was extremely helpful and formative for me. I think as long as it's in conjunction with the local church, it's it's a beautiful thing. I but I also think that, I mean, in my dream world, the local church is raising up its own pastors, you know, and training, you know, people to the point where they could be the pastor of that church.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;11;57;09 | And there's a whole bunch of issues of that of, you know, growing up in a place and trying to do ministry. There can be difficult. Sometimes you have to go off and come back. And that's a whole nother a whole nother thing. But yeah, I, I, I do think that that would be kind of the dream world, even if that means a senior pastor trains up someone to realize, wow, ministry may be a thing and then says, okay, now the next step for you is to go off to this Bible college or go off to the seminary and, you know, get involved in a church while you're there, or maybe there's a local place you
| Jeff Simpson | 00;12;28;27 | can go and serve us, you know, continue to be part of the life of this church while you're. And that was a big thing for me. While I was in Bible college, my pastor let me experiment with all kinds of stuff that I'm sure got him in trouble with. People were frustrated at me because I was excited. I was exposed to all this new thinking and theology and I was doing stuff that, you know, he just kind of very patiently would take me out to lunch for barbecue the next week and ask, How do you think that went and processed that stuff with me?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;12;57;08 | And it wasn't about you have to do things my way. And what was interesting is, you know, when I'd have conversations with now he'll tell me that he grew through that experience as well of allowing somebody who is you know, I'm his son's age, so I'm 20 years younger than him. I had no experience. I had no business doing some of the things I did.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;13;15;25 | But he he took some shots for me, allowed me to to spread my wings and train me along the way. And now I look back ten, 15 years later and go, wow. I mean, the patience he had, the willingness he had to go to bat for me, to use a football metaphor he blocked for me, he used his position to kind of take some of the the things that people were frustrated with.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;13;38;17 | And that trained me to think about ministry even.
| Laurie Lind | 00;13;42;00 | Wow. Is that is that part? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. You mentioned Pat might come up again here, huh? So was he. He was a trainer, maybe a mentor for you?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;13;52;13 | Yeah, very much a mentor. But he did give me some specific training as well. I mean, even things like preaching. And, you know, he gave me, you know, books to read and things to think about. But the main thing he gave me was relational time in ministry together. He brought me to hospital visits. He he took me along to visit people who were very, very sick so that I don't as a young, you know, I'm in my mid thirties, as a younger pastor, my first senior pastor.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;14;19;26 | It I'm not nervous about those things and I have friends that are like, man, I've never been in a hospital room before and I've never been with someone who's on their deathbed before and I have. And so I think that was just such a vital equipping that equipped me to do ministry in my local church at the time.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;14;38;11 | And then I was able to, you know, there were times when I went to visit someone in the hospital for him because he couldn't go, but that took equipping and that was ministry and that was so that really left a mark on me.
| Laurie Lind | 00;14;50;18 | I would take it. Perhaps now you are part for some people in your church.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;14;55;15 | You know, I. I would hope so. I mean, that's kind of a goal. I don't know that I could think of anybody that I could point to that is, you know, in Bible College right now. But there's definitely people in my church who I have invested a lot of time in relationship in over meals, over coffee. You know, one of them moved away.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;15;16;15 | So it makes me a little sad, but but he's doing well. And so, you know, that's the goal. It's not going to be something that happens in six months or five years. It's going to be over the course of a career in a ministry.
| Laurie Lind | 00;15;27;26 | That's true. Where's Pat today?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;15;30;02 | He's still pastoring the same church. Yeah, still pastoring, still doing relationship with people every time I go to Florida, we visit, we go to the same barbecue place and have a meal together and do kind of the same thing we did before. Except now. My questions for him are much different.
| Laurie Lind | 00;15;45;10 | I'm sure. I'm sure that's going to be an ongoing one.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;15;48;08 | I hope so for you.
| Laurie Lind | 00;15;50;07 | Because new questions arise all the time. So what advice if we have a really worn out almost burned out, overworked, busy pastor listening right now to us, whether he's in a small, medium, large church, what advice would you give him?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;16;05;23 | Well, I mean, I would just first say that I don't know a pastor who isn't very, very coming off of COVID. It was really difficult. I think a lot of times we just you know, Sunday's coming, we're recording this on a Tuesday. And so, you know, I'm counting down the days until Sunday again and it's just always coming.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;16;25;22 | And, you know, I think first thing pastors need to do is just take stock of what they went through during COVID. I'm more tired than I think I am from having been through those last stressful months with COVID and political and all that stuff that happened. But I think for pastors, you know, it's really a helpful practice. Just get a sheet of paper and ask yourself and, you know, invite the Holy Spirit in that moment of prayer to figure out what is really essential for your church, what is what are the things that are essential for your church to be doing what it's supposed to be doing, which is, you know, discipling people, equipping the
| Jeff Simpson | 00;17;04;10 | saints, being on mission with Jesus in the world and make that list. And if there things that are just not essential to that, you don't have to run everything. You don't have to be on every committee. You don't have to make sure that every little detail I mean, I will go into just if I let myself, I will worry about the font that's used on the screen for the slides and the color in the background.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;17;29;13 | And you just got to let go of some of that stuff. It's not going to look exactly how you want it to look, but the reality is that you just have to keep, you know, keep the most important thing, the most important thing. And that is for us pastors teaching prayer ministry, the word and then equipping people and really everything else.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;17;50;20 | You're going to have to just kind of let it go and let Jesus be the shepherd over his people because he is.
| Laurie Lind | 00;17;57;26 | Well, you man. I think two more questions I've got in my mind. Are there resources that you would recommend, but what resources might you recommend in terms of whether it's books or training programs or processes that you have found especially effective for training up leaders?
| Jeff Simpson | 00;18;17;26 | I mean, if people are listening to this, they already know about and trust, there's some great resources there. But for me, there's been a few books that were really helpful, the ministry of Jeff Vanderslice, who is in the northwest part of the country, he really does a great job. He's kind of the guru of what people call missional communities.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;18;39;22 | And so those are somewhat like a small group, but they're not a small group in terms of just being a Bible study. And what I really like about those that that sort of, I guess, practice of a smaller meeting is that it's really aimed at mission and discipleship. And so his book, Gospel Fluency, was really, really helpful. I'd recommend that.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;19;01;24 | And then probably if you're in any denomination, you probably have some resources for leadership development right at your fingertips. So for us in the Christian Missionary Alliance, we have a bunch of stuff that we can access. I would just say you got to go look for it and you got to you know, you got to try to let go of trying to run everything yourself.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;19;21;29 | You just can't do it.
| Laurie Lind | 00;19;23;01 | Can't do it right. That's really an echo throughout this time. You don't have to do it all yourself. What else? Thoughts you'd have to share about this whole concept of training leaders in the local church.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;19;37;14 | I mean, again, I am at the very front end of being a practitioner of this. I'm trying to do this my best. But if you were to pin me down and ask me a week to week how much, how many things I let go and let other people do it. You know, I go through seasons of life where I feel like I'm doing well, I'm getting better.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;19;55;16 | I'm letting some of the things, these things go. And then I go through seasons where frankly there some things that are just easier to just do myself. I'll give you an example. On Sunday we had a this is a very small example, but we had a little church potluck. It was our first one that we have meal together we've had since COVID.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;20;12;10 | And the temptation for me was to be the one setting up all the tables and all the chairs and do it, making sure it was all perfect because the lady who usually does that couldn't be there that day. She was working. But instead of that, I just said, You know what, we're going to all hands are going to be on deck Sunday.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;20;28;22 | And it's it's however it's going to happen. It's going to happen. I'll be part of it. But I can't run everything because I just can't I can't do music and preach and set up tables and it's just not possible. And, you know, as so often is the case, it turned out great. You know, it was just tables and chairs, people.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;20;47;29 | This church loves each other. They love to have meals together. So they all jumped in. And it was it was fantastic. And that's a small picture of, I think, the other the bigger the bigger things in the ministry, the church, when you think about achieving your mission, your values, you have to let other people jump on with you.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;21;06;18 | And and that means it's going to it's not going to look exactly how you want it to look. People are going to do things a little differently. They're going to have new ideas. But that grows you as well. You learn how to lead with different people and you learn how to, you know, build relationships with people who think differently than you.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;21;23;00 | And I think that's to me, that's the beauty of the church. It's a family of people. We don't all I mean, in my own family, not every likes to eat the same stuff we like. We have our preferences, but we love each other. And so we learn to live together. And we, you know, we're a family who's growing together.
| Jeff Simpson | 00;21;38;11 | And I'm one of the parents, but I have kids and they teach me things and I care for them and I see the church in that same way.
| Laurie Lind | 00;21;44;22 | It's really true, isn't it? The church is a lot like a family. We can all learn from each other. We're all at different places in our growth spiritually. And yes, at times there is a place for intentional training and equipping. I think if I were to sum up Pastor Jeff's point about how pastors and elders can go about equipping leaders, it might be this number one help here.
| Laurie Lind | 00;22;07;22 | People discover their giftedness and their calling number to affirm those gifts by praying for those people. Number three, spend time with your people. So you're building relational capital. So that number four, you can let your people practice using their gifts in the context of the church and even let them fail at times. Number five, model the types of leadership that you do.
| Laurie Lind | 00;22;37;26 | Like Pastor Jeff said, taking someone along on a hospital visit or doing something side by side with them and then finally debrief after anything someone does in your church, a leadership type thing, talk about it. How did it go? How could that have gone better? How might we change that for next time? Or is this even really the right place for you?
| Laurie Lind | 00;23;01;06 | So help them discover their gifts. Affirm those gifts, pray for them, spend time with them, let them practice and fail. Model and degrees. By the way, our conversation today expands on the article Pastor Jeff wrote for Entrust, and I will put that link in today's show notes. Come back next time when we're going to start a series of conversations about equipping women in ministry featuring Dr. Joye Baker, who's a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, and Joycelyn Seybold, the executive director of Entrust Equipping Women.
| Laurie Lind | 00;23;36;23 | I really want to thank you for listening. Thank you for your time. I hope you're finding things here that are practical and helpful. And if so, please do subscribe to this podcast and share it with someone else you think would find it helpful.