Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Power in Stillness

Written by: on September 12, 2023


Simon Walker, in his book, Leading With Nothing to Lose: Training in the Exercise of Power, familiarizes the reader with various leadership theories and how different leaders use power. Walker provides eight role models who embody the different strategies he proposes; four American presidents, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Jesus. Walker does a thorough job of assigning different styles of power to each of these historical leaders. He provides insights on organizational leadership, giving it a conceptual framework. 

In the fifteenth chapter, Leading With Nothing to Lose: the Key to Mobility, Walker communicates a most poignant message: “I think it is possible to change, but it’s not just a matter of being willing to learn or developing new skills. Certainly, these are both important factors, but they are not the most important. In fact,the most important thing is stillness. [1] How is stillness a most important factor in leadership? I agree with Walker’s assessment that stillness is foundational to strong leadership.

Exercising power in stillness

One might question how being still has power. I have often considered this, especially when put in a position that renders no other response but to be still. What productivity or fruit might come from being still? The following quote comes from an author who describes “awe experiences,” which might be compared to being still with God. In Golden:The Power of Silence in a World of Noise, Justin Zorn quotes Summer Allen who states that “‘awe experiences’“ shift our attention away from ourselves, make us feel a part of something greater than ourselves, and make us more generous toward others.” Also it “gives people the sense that ‘there is’ more available time, increases feelings of connectedness” [2] There is so much to be gained in stillness.  We might see this best demonstrated in the life of Jesus. Roy Oswald states, “The Gospels portray Jesus as a person of great equanimity. Luke is the one who especially emphasizes how Jesus withdrew from the crowds. (Luke 5:16, 9:10, 22:41)” [3] Jesus was intentional in making time to be still in order to do the work that he was to accomplish. (John 14:10)

Example: Jimmy Carter 

Simon Walker proposes Jimmy Carter as an example of a leader who was able to use a serving strategy. Carter’s presidency was exemplified by this strategy which “always pushes responsibility firmly back onto the followers.” [4] Carter was comfortable to let others find solutions for themself. Walker shares four key elements to implementing this strategy.  In his second element he describes how individuals need to be allowed the chance to develop their own solutions. “Don’t be afraid of silence. Giving people time and space is imperative if they are to learn to navigate their problems.”[5]  He reaffirms this need by exclaiming, “Be comfortable with silence!”[6] This can take place if the leader is comfortable with “waiting just a little while” as this encourages people to work things out and find their own solutions.”[7] I have found this leadership strategy to be imperative in the counseling office, the leadership role I take daily. 


I attended a small leadership conference in a friend’s home several years ago and received a prophetic word from the speaker. I have not received many prophetic words in my lifetime, so this is a notable memory for me. The speaker spent time in prayer asking God to receive a scripture for each of the women who were in attendance. When it came time for her to share with me, she stated that she wrestled with the Lord over the scripture she believed God had given her. Psalm 46:10 was the verse, which states: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” This verse was familiar to me and I have meditated on it many times since. It speaks loudly of God’s desire to have a relationship with me and has fueled my leadership role. This might be best explained by Leighton Ford as he states in his book The Attentive Life on, “Practicing attentiveness,” he states that, “paying attention is not a way by which we make something happen but a way to see what is already given to us.” [8]

Currently, I can rest knowing God has plans for how my doctorate in leadership is to be put to use. The work that God wants to do has already been done, so I can be content in him. C.S. Lewis echoes this truth; “Every faculty you have, your power of thinking of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give him anything that was not in a sense His own already.” [9] I am able to fulfill the mission God has for my life by being still.


[1] Walker, Simon Leading With Nothing to Lose: Training in the Exercise of Power,  Carlisle: Piquant Editions, 2007. p.145

[2] Zorn, Justin and Leigh Marz, Golden: The Power of Silence in a World of Noise, New York: HarperCollins 2022. p.103

[3] Oswald, Roy and Arland Jacobson The Emotional Intelligence of Jesus: Relational Smarts for Religious Leaders, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015. p.67 

[4] Walker, Simon Leading With Nothing to Lose: Training in the Exercise of Power, Carlisle: Piquant Editions, 2007, p.76

[5] Ibid. p.79

[6] Ibid. p.79

[7] Ibid. p.79

8] Ford, Leighton, The Attentive Life: Discerning God’s Presence in All Things, Downers Grove: GreenPress, 2008, p.15

[9] Lewis, C.S., Mere Christianity, New York: Collier Books, 1960, p.110

About the Author

Kristy Newport

5 responses to “Power in Stillness”

  1. Kristy,
    Great post! I really enjoyed it and it reflected your voice and Simon Walker’s voice as well. Well done!

  2. mm David Beavis says:

    Hey Kristy,

    Good job on this reflection on Walker’s book! Yes, in the words of Ryan Holiday “Stillness is the key.”

    See you in a few days!

  3. Michael O'Neill says:

    Awesome post. I agree wholeheartedly with being still. This world is noisy. It’s actually obnoxiously loud for the most part but we can rest easy knowing that God has us. He has great plans and we need to make sure we’re on the right path. How will we know if we don’t seek his guidance and walk with him? Being still is wise and will help us know, trust, and have faith in these plans.

    “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

  4. God has good things for you Kristy, you are a gift. Do not grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9).

  5. Alana Hayes says:

    Wow! great post!

    The power of being still is such a feat! If I will truly be still I always find my self coming out of it with so much energy. Do you find you have a place that allows your body to rest more?

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