I was pastoring a church in Orange a few years ago, and we were meeting in an old two-story American Legion Hall structure. On Sunday mornings, we’d bring in seats and set up the auditorium like a sanctuary. Except for the fact that there was a bar just below us, it was a fantastic layout overall. We were accustomed to a bit of noise and riff-raff since a bunch of guys would occasionally be drinking and clinking early in the morning. As the group increased, I invited Dallas Willard, a friend, and mentor, to speak during a Sunday morning service. When the day arrived, we were all looking forward to his leadership talk, and as I was about to stand to welcome him, there was a huge bang that caused the three of us pastors to jump out of our chairs to check what was going on. The congregation reacted similarly, with many people panicked and mistaking the sound for a gunshot. Dallas, on the other hand, stayed as composed as I think Jesus to have been. Nothing horrible actually transpired because the noise was created by a plywood sign falling onto the hall’s ancient wooden floor. But what I learned that day from my friend about leading by example and being a calm presence is something I’ll never forget.
My friend, a leader is peaceful and quiet. They are, in a nutshell, a presence that people want to be around because they live what they preach. I encourage you to be filled with the Holy Spirit to the point where your faith is real and tangible to everyone around you as Dallas Willard did. Be a person who is confident, with a deep and grounded trust in Jesus that cannot be shaken, even while everyone else is panicking. As you spend more time with Him, you will unknowingly and unconsciously bring His presence to others, and as a result, you and the world will change.