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

Mining for Gold – A Deep Dive?

Written by: on January 18, 2024

Just this week the Dallas Cowboys were sent home packing from the NFL Playoffs. Down 27-0 in arguably the worst first-half playoff performance in team history with the half winding down and Dallas seconds away from being shut out the Cowboys have time for one more play. The home crowd is hopeful, many on their feet. We are all glued to our TVs and electronic devices. It is now 3rd and 10 on the Green Bay 11. Dak Prescott steps back and throws a quick pass connecting with Cee Dee Lamb for the catch right at the 1-yard line and just as Lamb begins to position his body to turn and take it into the end zone for the score…. BAM!!! He is quickly crushed by two defenders falling just short of the goal line, never making it in.

Tom Camacho’s Mining for Gold can be described similarly. Falling just short of taking it all the way into the end zone. A Leadership book that can easily capture readers through its suggestive headline is indeed filled with potential and possibilities. Camacho’s writing is hinged on a great premise, the successful marriage of leadership coaching principles into our daily lives will generate an impact that can be multiplied as people are set free to succeed in leadership and life. More specifically, discovering the gold in people by looking deeper at their talents, gifts, and skills, while allowing the Holy Spirit to be the head coach.

This book is a definite golden resource for beginners. His writing is very authentic. You can sense him wanting to genuinely equip others for leadership. He guides readers into his personal journey of leadership formation as a platoon leader, helicopter pilot in the US Army, and corporate leader with General Electric. These secular experiences would serve as the foundation for Camacho as he would later transition into pastoral ministry.

Leadership Coaching is certainly not for everyone but if a person has an interest this book has helpful and practical cues in steering someone in the right direction, “Coaches become thinking partners who help leaders discover what is most important in their busy lives and move them towards a more fruitful future.” Coaching is a major aspect of emphasis in the book and I have an appreciation for how Camacho takes the time to spotlight how to become more effective in this area.

One nugget worth highlighting was Camacho’s perspective on filling positions vs freeing people to be who God wants them to be. This was truly a golden nugget. This predicament has the potential to leave many leaders and ministries in a precarious position. In my ministry context as a Senior Pastor, I could easily relate to this. Looking with a closer lens across the post-pandemic landscape, churches are in survival mode while navigating the pros and cons of congregational volunteerism. Couple that alongside a surge in apathetic attendance, and one can easily see how filling positions can and has become the default mechanism so many utilize for sustaining ministry.

Another highlight of the reading is the careful attention placed upon emphasizing the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the leader and people. All too often we read, see, and hear of leadership failure and can point to how the flesh, power, and ego are the prime suspects in their demise. Reading in a detailed manner how the Holy Spirit can be enabled daily was refreshing.

While there were several strong points made throughout the book from my perspective, Mining for Gold did not take the deep dive itself. Several times throughout the reading, I felt as though I was going through my reel section on social media with, “Here are five things, here are ten things….”. From my perspective, the multiple key points formats created a lack of cohesiveness, making it difficult for a reader to easily harness and retain the essentials needed for leadership excellence.

If you are looking for a good Christian leadership book, I would say this is a great tool for those in the formative years of spiritual leadership. It is replete with scriptural and spiritual references which makes the connection very easy for people of the Christian faith. However, this centralized approach does have its drawbacks. If you are not Christian, this reading probably would not be appealing to you as it lacks the crossover dynamics needed to reach a hybrid audience. Overall Camacho has a high-powered product, but leaves experienced leaders and readers just short of the goal line.




Camacho, Tom. Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders Through Coaching, 43. IVP, 2019.

About the Author

Daren Jaime

14 responses to “Mining for Gold – A Deep Dive?”

  1. mm Shela Sullivan says:

    Hi Daren,
    I completely agree with the emphasis on the Holy Spirit’s role in leadership. It’s refreshing to see a focus on enabling the Holy Spirit daily rather than solely attributing leadership failures to factors like ego and power. This perspective adds a valuable dimension to understanding effective leadership.

    I appreciate your insights on ‘Mining for Gold.’ I can understand your point about the book’s format. As a reader who enjoys easy reading it is was easy for me to grasp and retain essential leadership principles from Camacho’s book. Would it be alright for me to assume that perhaps a more focused exploration of fewer key points could enhance the overall impact of this book for you?

    Do you think the book’s format impacted your overall impression of its effectiveness in conveying leadership concepts, or were there redeeming qualities that compensated for this issue?

    • Daren Jaime says:

      Hi Shela! Yes, you are correct, fewer key points would be more beneficial. If i wanted to apply all of them it would be the most challenging. That being said, the book was in fact an easy read and I would not disregard it. I probably was looking for something that spoke deeper on leadership. But a golden nugget does go a long way.

  2. Diane Tuttle says:

    Hi Darren, I appreciate your take on the book. I think I had different expectations because in the intro Camacho talked about introducing the concept of mining for gold. (p.4). But your comments made me questions why I hadn’t cared about learning skills or developing an action plan. What I finally settled on is that I used this book more for self reflection than an plan. Thanks for the perspective.

    • Daren Jaime says:

      Hey Diane! I can see how self reflection could be the end game.. While I am sure we can all benefit greatly from leaning on the Holy Spirit which is critical, there is a deeper dive I was expecting and maybe the title juiced me up more in anticipation.

  3. Jeff Styer says:

    Daren, I love your review of the book. It felt like I was reading a review written by a professional book critic. Maybe that is one of your talents of which I am unaware. I appreciate your comments about congressional volunteerism and the post-Covid apathy in church attendance. Our church still has families that have not come back to in person worship. During the 2021-2022 academic year, our church, on record, had probably 20 youth eligible to attend youth group. We consistently only had 2 -3 attend, leading our part-time youth pastor to resign after that school year. We may have Gold within our congregations, but how do we get past the apathy? At times it feels like you are using a plastic toy beach sand shovel to dig through granite in order to get to the gold. That gold is people in the pews and people actively volunteering.

    • Daren Jaime says:

      Hey Jeff! Apathy is a huge obstacle most are facing. I think there must be more a personal embrace both with in person congregants and the e-community. People are prioritizing preference based on a lack of connectivity and a loss of passion. Recapturing those could be extremely beneficial.

  4. mm Chris Blackman says:

    Hey Daren! What a breath of fresh air your post is!!. I am unsure if I agree with you, but this is one of the things I love the most about this type of learning. To see different perspectives, take what I read and thought, and take a stance like yours, then reflect on my understanding to make a decision. Chewing is good!! Lol. I will have to get back to you once I think this through. Thank you for your boldness!

    • Daren Jaime says:

      Chris Thanks! I probably had my sights on something deeper with a more intense practicality. This was indeed a great read and there are several nuggets to glean from..

  5. Akwése Nkemontoh says:

    Ha, I love how you opened this review, you certainly had my attention! You make some great points in your analysis. It always amazes me how we can often find at least a gem or two in a mediocre or mundane book, making it still worth the investment of time it took to read.

    Seeing that a lot of this books content wasnt new to you, im curious if you’ve adopted coaching as a regular practice with your team(s). If so, how do you adapt your approach when working within your church vs in broadcasting?

    • Daren Jaime says:

      Hey Akwese! Coaching is in fact a practice in both my secular and sacred places. In broadcasting, I have the joy of helping college students understand broadcast television, for many it is their first experience. I spend a lot of time coaching them up while giving them room for mistakes guiding them with the hopes of finding their sweet spot. Many of them have gone on in the industry to do great things! In the church we have given a spiritual gifts church assessment to leaders and meembers. Once identified, we try to link people with the areas where their strengths fall and sometimes encourage people to do something outside of the box. When this occurs myself and a couple of leaders come alongside of them to help them to maximize their potential.

      • Akwése Nkemontoh says:

        Thanks for sharing. I love how you have distinct processes for both. While I was familiar with most of the leadership and personality tests Camacho mentioned, I had to do a bit of research into the spiritual gifts assessment. I knew only of spiritual gifts through their mention in scripture but am pleased to learn that someone has created an assessment around them and that your ministry team can plug people into roles based on their unique gifting.

        I remember discussing spiritual gifts in church but I don’t think I ever had anyone follow that up with an invitation to utilize those gifts through a leadership role. This seems like a missed opportunity that is likely still happening in many churches.

        If I remember correctly, your NPO was going to focus on bringing in more young people? I wonder if highlighting the leadership development aspect might be a way to not only draw young people in but also get them personally invested in the church’s sustainability and growth…

  6. Julie O'Hara says:

    Hi Daren,
    I think I remember that the church you lead has a number of ministries into the local community. If that is correct, in what ways are the ministries a reflection of empowered leaders serving from their sweet spot? Are hassles with volunteers connected to ministries that filled a former need but lack a passion-filled leader? When I think about leadership coaching in the pastoral ministry context, it sounds exciting for the future but people development takes time – will our pastors hang in there?

  7. Erica Briggs says:

    Iappreciate your critique of Camacho’s short fall. The general ease of reading is very much like a social media reel. I wonder which area(s) you found yourself wanting to go deeper? How might an intermediate or graduate level book “go all the way” to score for you?

  8. Chad Warren says:

    Daren, you mentioned, “Camacho has a high-powered product but leaves experienced leaders and readers just short of the goal line.” Do you have any resources to recommend that to what you say is lacking with “Mining for Gold?” Also, you mentioned this work lacks the crossover dynamics needed to reach a hybrid audience. What gave you the impression that reaching a mixed audience was his intent?

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