What’s the difference between pastoring and coaching? I have to admit that I have held a negative view of coaching born from life-coaches who have taken advantage of and given horrible advice to my sister-in-law. Tom Camacho’s Mining for Gold gave me a new perspective on coaching. At its core, Camacho states that “mining for gold” in people involves seeing “them with the eyes of the Spirit. To draw out someone’s true potential, we need to cooperate with the Spirit of God.” As I read through his book, I felt like I was reading a discipleship guide for pastors. That is how I approached Mining for Gold, not as a coaching book per se, but a book on how to be a better pastor.
“Coaching is the process of coming alongside a person or team to help them discover God’s agenda for their life and ministry and then cooperating with the Holy Spirit to see that agenda become a reality.” This quote gives me the most assurance that coaching, as Camacho presents it, is really how every pastor strives (or maybe should strive) for. What more could a pastor hope for than to have the people who they come in contact with to live life to the fullest by discovering what God’s agenda might be for their life?
People are held captive by a variety of self-doubts, anxieties, and obstacles that prevent them from living life to the fullest. It seems, at times, that pastors also simply become burdened with the need to keep ministries or programs running the way they always have and are held captive to the machinery of church. I recently have been hosting a book club with some of the young professionals in the church. Something Esau McCaulley says in his book, Reading While Black, resonated with one of the attendees. “In that story God acted to free a people from slavery, not as an end of itself, but so that the newly liberated people might testify to a different way of being human. God gave Israel freedom and a vocation.” Who we are, in all of our experiences, with all of our personalities, offers something unique that points to the glory of God. I’m reminded that my role as a pastor is to help people discover that. I’m appreciative that Camacho makes it clear how he thinks we are to do that.
Camacho proposes we can mine for gold in 4 ways: deep listening, asking great questions, cooperating with the Holy Spirit, and determining the right next steps. What I appreciate about Camacho is that he also makes clear that mining for gold doesn’t just happen in discipleship classes, coaching sessions, or planned meetings, he says those who mine for gold “invest their best and take risks to help others. It is a mindset and a lifestyle of love” It’s a way of life, not a method of approaching certain things. The practice of deep listening, asking great questions, cooperating with the Holy Spirit, and wisdom to determine next steps must be embedded in who we are and permeate all our actions and interactions with others.
 Tom Camacho, Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders through Coaching (La Vergne: IVP, 2019), 17.
 Ibid, 29
 Esau McCaulley, Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation As an Exercise in Hope (Boston: IVP, 2020), 88
 Camacho, Mining for Gold, 42
 Ibid, 57