Meet V. Lynne Simpkins, Parker Street Ministries’ newest Board of Trustees member. Learn a little more about her below. Fun fact: Lynne was a founding Board member of PSM and served when the ministry was incorporated! Welcome back, Lynne!
What is your connection/history to PSM?
I was introduced to the Parker Street neighborhood when hired with the City of Lakeland’s Community Development and Economic Development Department in 1988. It was eye-opening experience as I saw a neighborhood blighted with so many eyesores. The City of Lakeland invested tons of financial resources with several failed attempts to turn the neighborhood around. Crime, homelessness, and many other depressing issues plagued the neighborhood. Although the neighborhood began its road to recovery with churches and community leaders who spent countless hours trying to turn it around, true change didn’t occur until God touched the heart of Parker Street Ministries to move into the neighborhood. PSM realized it wasn’t about programs and projects—it was the people who needed the transformation.
PSM was the first board I served on as a City Planner, and I was glad I made that decision. I thought I was there to help them, but they taught me things about community transformation. PSM provided me with a Christian experience and stronger passion for community outreach. Being a part of this Board has allowed me to practice servant leadership in a whole new way. If you don’t love the people you serve, all the efforts in the world won’t make a difference. It has been said that “people don’t care what you know until they know you care.” I love coming to a place where people feel comfortable praying for each other, loving each other, and who are free to share their spiritual gifts.
My faith is the grassroots of my existence, and I will live the rest of my life doing God’s will. I am grateful I have an extended family to share the love of Christ with called PSM.
What has God taught you because of this connection to PSM?
Because God first loved us, I know what it means to share love in an unconditional way. The Parker Street neighborhood has faced countless obstacles. I have learned that if I couldn’t accept people in their brokenness and in their places and spaces, then I should consider another line of work.
Favorite PSM memory?
PSM has been blessed with great leaders and churches who have helped to shape this neighborhood, including Tim Mitchell. I remember meeting Tim, a brave and bold young man who showed up to my office for a meeting about a mission that God had given him. I had heard about this young man, and he reminded me of David who stepped up to slay Goliath. During our conversation, he convinced me that God had appointed him for this ministry before PSM was ever formalized. He spoke from his heart, and I knew he was ready for the challenge. When God gives me a discernment about something or someone, I take God at his word. Tim still has that same burning passion to serve God’s people, and now God has given him an army called PSM.
Favorite scripture right now?
Matthew 28:19-20: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Parker Street Ministries (PSM) is a 501c3 nonprofit in Lakeland, Florida that follows a Gospel-centered model characterized by living, listening, affirming dignity, and building community together in and through the Parker Street neighborhood. For more than two decades, PSM’s vision has been to see a city transformed by the power of the Gospel through building champions who make possible desirable neighborhoods, lifetime learners, financial sustainability, and healthy communities for all.