We should always mine for the gold in people’s lives. “Look for the good.” Pastor Mack Timberlake often bellowed from the pulpit on Sunday mornings from the large Church planted in the middle of a country field in Creedmoor, NC.
Just as that seed (phrase ‘mining for gold’) inspired me all those years ago – so too did Tom Camacho’s book, Mining for God. While there were tons of insights that resonated with me, there are a few that I will highlight.
The first insight from the book is that the “mission of the kingdom is in continuous need of a fresh supply of godly leaders.” The statement loosely correlates to the idea that there is a leadership bankruptcy – which we heard from Pastor Zondi and others in South Africa and read in Friedman’s book last semester. Bankruptcy implies there are leaders, but their character is not intact. In contrast, Camacho’s statement suggests that there need to be more leaders trained to fulfill the positions – more on that later.
The second highlight is the acronym G.O.L.D. that Camacho created to help us understand the four keys we should have to be effective with a Christian Coaching practice.
- Gold is everywhere.
- Open your eyes.
- Learn skills to draw out.
- Develop others.
While the acronym helps remember the four keys, the most important lesson for me was that Camacho states that it is a Spirit-led process. This sets Christian coaching apart from all other types of coaching. To see the good in people, the gold, what better lens than the eyes of God?
The third insight was on page 30. Camacho explains that as leaders learn how God wired them to discover their gifts, talents, and calling, they can align with the plans and purposes God has for them. And then they begin to thrive.
Fourth, the chapter on relationships was vital. In this chapter, Camacho tied the entire process together. In previous chapters, the main context was leading organizations. This chapter focused on the value God places on us and the value we should put on others. The concept reminded me of the Scripture, what does it matter if we gain the whole world but lose everything we have? How many leaders have been so successful, but their family life and other relationships are in shambles? Camacho connects our relationship with the Vine, Jesus, to drinking deeply as a Christian coach and developing the ability to lead or coach others from within a deep place of love, humility, and tenderness. Camacho’s concept of leading from within directly correlated with Simon Walker’s book, specifically, laying down one’s life for others. A powerful image and one that only those in a relationship with Jesus can achieve and sustain.
The last point of discussion from the book is the amount of money spent on leadership training. Camacho recounts seeing Jack Welch from G.E. arrive in a helicopter at a corporate training event. At that moment, Camacho’s heart cried out because of the lack of investment in Christian leaders’ development versus the secular arena. The disparity in investment in leadership between the Church and the corporate environment piqued my curiosity. So, I dug further. The first was a quick search for how much corporations spend on leadership development. According to a Forbes magazine article, in 2019, leadership development is estimated to be a $366 billion industry. The real irony is that the report also says that in terms of R.O.I., the development programs/training/coaching could have been more successful. The article documented reasons for the poor return on investments. However, I will only mention that the number one reason was “context conquers content.” The training should not be one size fits all. To compare this finding to what corporations spent, I did check out what the Barna Research group might have on the topic. Unfortunately, I did not find an exact match, but I did find two very striking things. A study conducted in 2020 to assess the state of mind of pastors across the Church uncovered that 23% of those surveyed felt they lacked leadership training and development. Additionally, seven in ten U.S. pastors studied “agree it is becoming harder to find mature young Christians who want to become pastors.” However, the most striking issue from the report is that 72% of pastors are concerned about “watered-down gospel teaching.”
In conclusion, this topic focused on Christian leadership coaching. My additional research helped uncover the urgent necessity for investing in Christian leadership coaching and a call to more Spirit-led training for young pastors and leaders in our Churches. And to address the issue regarding the watered-down gospel – perhaps we heed Camacho’s lesson. All Christian leadership coaching should start with God.
 Tom Camacho, Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders through Coaching, (London: Inter-Varsity Press, 2019), 4.
 Ibid., 4.
 Ibid., 158-159.
 Ibid., 165.
 Ibid., 165.
 Chris Westfall, Leadership Development Is A $366 Billion Industry: Here’s Why Most Programs Don’t Work, 2019: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chriswestfall/2019/06/20/leadership-development-why-most-programs-dont-work/?sh=7097869061de
 Barna: State of the Church, What’s on the Minds of America’s Pastors, Feb. 3, 2020: https://www.barna.com/research/only-half-of-protestant-pastors-have-a-biblical-worldview/
 Tom Camacho, Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders through Coaching, (London: Inter-Varsity Press, 2019), 36.