Author: Inés Velásquez-McBryde

Inés is an ordained pastor, preacher, reconciler, writer, and speaker. We are pleased to feature Inés as a regular Life for Leaders writer.

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Several young women seated in a circle, one with a tshirt that says "Gimme Jesus"

Hispanic Heritage Month: My Abuela’s Mesa

My Abuela’s Mesa was a table of leadership where she led with generosity.

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Reeds growing out of the water

Miriam and Moses

Every superhero and super-shero has an origin story. An origin story often includes a flashback that tells us how that person acquired his or her powers as well as purpose in fighting crime. When I think of Moses I have visions of that old Charlton Heston movie “The Ten Commandments” where Moses faces the burning bush or is standing before the parting of the Red Sea. However, I am captivated by his origin story and the critical role of his older sister Miriam. Miriam’s curiosity and creativity may have seemed small, but they were of biblical proportions.

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Two nurses holding a baby up to a window

Midwifing the Kingdom

Our work is a witness not so much in what we do, but in how we go about doing it. The midwives are exemplars of agents of life that God sets into motion to usher the life of the Kingdom. Work is the womb where that life is nourished and birthed. They knew the policies that affected people rested in their hands. They did the next right thing. The next right thing is usually the hard thing. 

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A stained glass window with a dove representing the Holy Spirit in the middle

Part II: Praying the Beatitudes Backwards

In this familiar passage of the Sermon on the Mount, it is easy for us to insert ourselves and our desire to receive individual blessings. However, Jesus is speaking to a crowd with collective, historical pain. It’s a communal message, not an individual message. What would it look like to turn the message into a prayer of confession with an outward facing Kingdom imagination?

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A crowd protesting in Los Angeles

Part I: The Beatitudes are Not for the Blessed

As a leader, I am a woman of color, but I am not African-American and cannot speak for my African-American sisters and brothers. Yet I can mourn with my siblings who mourn. A Christ-like leader cannot depart from the Christ on this mount. The message of the Beatitudes is ensconced in a painful present. Yet the Messenger of the Beatitudes points to a present and future hope in the midst of dark realities. I am called to mourn the systemic inequities that brought about the death of yet another African-American brother.

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A fishing boat on a rainy, snowy day

I Do Not Feel Courageous

Jesus is not offering a word of condemnation but an invitation in the waters. He invites Peter into a conversation: Why did you hesitate? What made you waver? Why are you uncertain? Jesus invites Peter to get to know himself better during this time. Not for the sake of condemnation, but transformation.

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A woman looking out over a lake and mountains

I Am Afraid

I find myself afraid, too. Afraid of not knowing. Afraid of not seeing. Afraid of the losses. Afraid of the hard leadership decisions. Afraid that Jesus is nowhere to be seen at certain times of the day, like before dawn. Afraid of not knowing when the waves will stop battering our global family. Afraid that this curve won’t flatten and fall. Fear comes in waves.

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hymnal open to "Abide With Me"

Abiding in Love

May you be deeply rooted in the soil of God’s love and may you be held and upheld, sustained by the source. May the soul of your leadership grow a thick and deep root in the soil of God’s own love. My hope is to remind you to stay connected to the soil of God’s own love for you and your community. Abide in this love today. The harvest of this abiding will come tomorrow. There’s nothing more that you need to produce today. The vine invites you to be present today. Be present to yourself, to God, and to others. I am in this struggle with you. You are not alone. 

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a man looking out through a window

A Leader Laments

As a leader, I must acknowledge my human limitations and release any subtle grasp for control in this crisis. Words have often failed me in the last four weeks. The first thing I’ve had to learn to do as a leader is to lament as needed. To identify and name my losses is the first step in the grief process.; to not run quickly to Easter Sunday but sit with the grief of the Garden of Gethsemane: my own and others’ grief. We serve a leader and a Savior that is well acquainted with the grief of both garden and Good Friday.

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Staying Calm When the Worst is Yet to Come

*This post is part of De Pree Center’s Finding Our Bearings in a Crashing Economy series.  Inés Velasquez-McBryde, is a church planter, chaplain at…

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Harriet Tubman - Maryland historical marker

Legacy of Love – Part II

In honor of Black History Month, and every other month, may we sit under the teachers and leaders of African-American history—which is American history.

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a set of cutout hearts bathed in pink light

If I Don’t Have Love – Part I

If leadership speaks in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but does not have love, leadership is a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if leadership has prophetic powers, and understands all mysteries and all knowledge, and if leadership has all faith, so as to remove mountains, but does not have love, leadership is nothing. If leadership gives away all their possessions, and hands over their body so that leadership may boast, but does not have love, leadership gains nothing.

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Rosa Parks being fingerprinted

Strength to Lead – Part II

On this honorable weekend where we remember MLK, Jr., I would love to also recognize the role of women in the fight for civil rights. History is filled with powerful women who have birthed and labored to get us to where we are today. The civil rights movement especially would not be the same without them. They toiled and watered the soil so the seeds of the movement would bear fruit. These women did not walk by injustice nor did they choose to “pass by on the other side.”

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MLK Jr. and other leaders marching in 1963

Strength to Love – Part I

“I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.”

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A table set for dinner with many places


The opposite of gratitude is not ingratitude, it is envy and jealousy. This plays out more strongly in close-knit communities due to the danger of comparison which is the silent killer of community. Teams and homes and friendships and playgrounds and board tables that experience success by individuals are at higher risk to toil in the soil of comparison that gives birth to multiple character defects. Even seasoned leaders are not immune to such.

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