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

Heart of Gold

Written by: on June 18, 2019

“In order to see the gold God has placed in a person, we need to see them with the eyes of the Spirit.  To draw out someone’s true potential, we need to cooperate with the Spirit of God.”[1]

So starts Tom Camacho’s excellent read on coaching both for leaders in the church and by leaders in the church.  Camacho draws on the lessons of Samuel and David demonstrating that God looks for leaders who “will see the gold in people by the Spirit and draw out those riches for His purposes.”[2]  Mining for Gold is the process that, through prayer, coaching techniques, and trust of the Spirit allows the children of God to thrive.

The text is full of amazing anecdotes, some involving Biblical analysis, some involving fighter jets, but the one that struck me the most (and one that ties into creation imagery and therefore very relatable for my research) is the story that commences chapter 12, “All True Thriving is Relational.” Camacho writes about buying a new house that, lucky for him, had four grape vines in the back that “had been neglected for several years and looked rather unkempt.”[3] After researching how best to maintain this mini-vineyard, Camacho learned that pruning was the preferred method and so he went ahead and started cutting “them back so much they looked sad and barren” much to  his chagrin.[4]  But then next spring, after following the advice of master gardeners, the vines were full with “hundreds and hundreds of plum juicy Concord grapes.”[5]

Camacho then moves from his own vineyard experience to the good news found in John 15.  The four points that are inspired by John are:

  1. God is the Gardener – God cares for us as a gardener cares for their vines
  2. Pruning Works – Pruning can be a painful experience, but it is always for our good
  3. The Life is in the Vine – God’s love and life is shared when we are connected to the vine
  4. Life without Relationship is Fruitless – We thrive when our relationship with God is energized by the Spirit[6]

These garden images that come along in the twelfth chapter are Biblical and beautiful.  After reading much about mining along veins of precious metal, I greatly appreciated this garden example.  Though not etymologically related, the parallel images were simply stunning in my mind’s eye.  Not only is God the gardener and we are the vine, so too is God the miner and we are connected in love to the vein of gold running through the rock of life.

The most immediately applicable elements of this text were the “Deeper Level Questions” and “Action Steps” found at the end of each chapter.  These suggestions keyed in on vital teachings from the chapter and also furthered the reflection and discernment of the reader.  I found myself halting my reading, and losing myself in some guided thought while I pondered how best to execute the very compelling suggestions.  Since I have just started my sabbatical the one that resonated most poignantly was from the eleventh chapter, “Say no to one thing this week that you are doing that is not even remotely close to your sweet spot so you will have more time to operate from your sweet spot.”[7] I thank God that I am just at the beginning of a season, one that promises to be full of time spent in my sweet spot.


[1] Tom Camacho, Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders Through Coaching, 12.

[2] Camacho, Mining for Gold, 12.

[3] Camacho, Mining for Gold, 125.

[4] Camacho, Mining for Gold, 126.

[5] Camacho, Mining for Gold, 126.

[6] Camacho, Mining for Gold, 126.

[7] Camacho, Mining for Gold, 113.

About the Author

Rev Jacob Bolton

8 responses to “Heart of Gold”

  1. Digby Wilkinson says:

    Hey there Jacob. Why am I not surprised that you loved this book. All that mention of gold – what you see every time you comb that hair – OK rose gold. I’m not a fan of the gold image, as mentioned in my post, but what other metaphor works for the refining process of Christian leaders? My other complaint about the book is that gold is only one element of many precious elements. How do we know what the Gold looks like? Is it a Christian cultural understanding of what Godly leaders look like? How do we know what the ‘good’ looks like when it’s not obvious before we start mining? Take your namesake for example. What in Jacob was the gold? Or was it only that God blessed his birthright in becoming Israel? If you were mentoring Jacob, what would you see or be looking for? Just a thought. Dr Jase often says we should ask an “I wonder question”, so I wonder – was Jacob ginger?

  2. Rev Jacob Bolton says:

    I have often pondered why Jacob’s twin Esau gets all the red “ruddy” hair fun and Jacob apparently does not. Maybe the red hair of the Biblical Jacob was only on his head, and not all over his body the way Esau’s thick and heavenly mantle was.

    As I responded in your blog post, from a precious metal standpoint, I prefer copper. Not only does it also illuminate my God given follicle gifts (copperhead being a derogatory term for redheads, at least in the USA), copper tends to beautify as it ages and oxidizes, a beautiful metaphor there for all of life. The stunning green of an oxidized copper after it has been laid bare and exposed to the elements is a marvel, and was held in very high regard by the indigenous people that lived in the area I grew up in far before Columbus, the Pilgrims, etc.

    Getting back to your “I wonder” question regarding Jacob . . . have you every looked at the Hebrew etymological similarities between the word human “adam” and red “adom”? There truly is only one vowel different (and as I am sure you know, many of the original Hebrew texts do not include the vowels whatsoever, only the consonants) so they look almost identical on the page!

    This leads me to ask a much older question, yet still stemming from the book of Genesis . . . I wonder if Adam and Eve were both gingers? And if so, and if they both were made in the loving “imago dei” then, one could conclude that, God is in fact a red head?

    I wonder . . . .

    • Digby Wilkinson says:

      Bravo. Keep this up and you’ll become almost as irritating as me. Unfortunately your not the first Presbyterian to point out the etymology of Hebraic vowel forms. I have a redheaded prezzy friend (actually friend is too strong for a Presbyterian, let’s go with almost Christian acquaintance) who can’t stop mentioning it. The man obviously never studied negative cognates; which isn’t surprising at Knox College. As to your surmising that God is a Redhead, all I can say with any clarity is at at least you can rest in the knowledge that it’s not the curse of Cain. Why? Because we English understand the curse to be universally accepted as Bagpipes.

  3. Mario Hood says:

    Another great post, Jacob. As you start your rest season/time how much does the process of becoming Gold stand out to you? I think sometimes we forget that while Gold is in everyone, maybe it’s not developed yet or won’t develop as fast as we want it too.

  4. Sean Dean says:

    I appreciate the heart behind the metaphor of mining for gold, but unfortunately just the term mining now brings all sorts of un-environmental images to mind. Which made the vine metaphor in the last chapter a welcome reprieve. Thanks for your focus on the life giving aspects of the book and the earth. Enjoy your sabbatical.

  5. Jacob, I personally appreciated the use of gold to represent what God has deposited in us. Having a finance background helps me to to relate with the golden standard where money in circulation was backed by gold reserves that represented the value of the money in circulation. Gold is used because it’s of great value. In the same way Camacho rightfully uses gold to highlight the great value of what God has deposited in us.

  6. Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    So glad you are starting your sabbatical, so appreciative of your church or presbytery that made it possible! I look forward to hearing about your self-discoveries during this time of focused rest. When you return, teach us what you learned. Many blessings dear friend and see you in London!

  7. Mary Mims says:

    Jacob, I love the vine analogy as well, since John 15 is one of my most favorite chapters in the New Testament. I pray you have a profitable sabbatical.

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