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  • Becky Ykema


It's been a year, yes?

A few months ago my former pastor Bill Stephens at Ascent Community Church shared how he feels we are all functioning a few levels lower than "health" these days. For those of us lucky to have survived the global pandemic, we have not weathered the waves without a few bumps and bruises along the way. Some of us have experienced immense loss. Some of us went months without receiving one single hug from another human being. Some of us lost jobs. Some of us lost loved ones. Some of us atrophied.

No matter what your experience has been, one thing is true. The collective "we" on planet earth have weathered quite a year. This is why Bill's words ring true to me.

We are all functioning a few levels lower than our normal health.

How is this manifesting in worship world?

I am finding myself in many conversations these days with people growing frustrated in their circumstances and giving up. They are throwing in the towel on their callings. They are deconstructing faith but not finishing the rich/difficult/worthy work of reconstruction. They are closing themselves off. They are phoning it in.

We are seeing the cracks in the concrete. There is great repair needed.

We are functioning in some form of unhealth.

What does this mean for those of us who are leaders, trying to lead our people and ourselves into better spiritual, mental, and emotional health? Four words come to mind.


Grace needs to be a central word in this time. We and our teams will be served well if the word grace is an umbrella from which we all huddle in close to one another and seek refuge. Grace is what the Lord provides us and we can extend it to others.


We need to be able to provide a space for forgiveness and second chances. Even as we leaders find ourselves functioning in lower levels of health, may we extend to our teammates the very same opportunity to rewrite and try again. After all, this is something we ourselves long for when we respond in a manner we wish we hadn't.


We must be truth-bearers. In love, we must be able to hold up a mirror to our teammates and reflect back what we are seeing. We must remind our teammates of the promises of God found throughout the Bible. We must remain honest, and press in with truth when a matter comes up that necessitates a difficult conversation.


I hesitate to use this word because it feels overused, but now is the time that our people need vision. The past year has left a lot of us feeling directionless and floundering. We must first get

away with God on the regular, get quiet, press in and listen to where the Lord is leading. Then we must guide our people toward the heart of God for your organization, team, ministry or family. Vision cannot be something we pull out of thin air. It must be thoughtfully and prayerfully discovered through our intimate connection with the Spirit of God.

If I can encourage us in anything this season, it is to lean into grace, forgiveness, truth and vision as we all seek to heal, repair and rebuild.

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