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

There’s Gold in that Bucket over there!

Written by: on January 18, 2024

‘mining for gold’ this summer with my youngest daughter

This past summer we spent some time with family in Eastern Oregon. On one of our days together we went to an old mining town where gold is still being dredged from the bottom of the river to this day. At the visitor center, there were large tubs of sediment and sand where anyone could ‘pan for gold’. The sand and sediment was guaranteed to contain gold and you could take home a few flecks of the precious metal for a small fee. Of course, our kids wanted to give it a try and they were not disappointed. It took a little while for us to figure out what was gold and what wasn’t but eventually, we ‘struck gold’ and felt the satisfaction of discovering that which was most precious in the sediment and the water.

This idea of searching for gold is much of what Camacho’s book is about.

Camacho’s book is about learning to discover and develop leaders in God’s Kingdom by searching together, with the Holy Spirit, for the ‘gold’ parts of each person that are unique to them so that they can be a part of building God’s Kingdom. This type of coaching involves slowing down and paying attention to the work of the Holy Spirit.

I appreciated the acronym of G.O.L.D. and resonated with a desire to continuously developing leaders. I’m learning to develop leaders at a sustainable rate in my own life and ministry so that I can be attentive to the leaders I am developing, quality over quantity.

That part of Camacho’s book that resonated the most with me was the idea of finding your sweet spot. I appreciate that he spent time thinking about how to find it myself, and how to help others find it as well. This idea of Passion, Wiring and Fruit is extremely helpful. There is always the 20% of the time where we are operating in areas that aren’t those things and that’s part of life. But it was an encouragement and help re-focus to remember that when we are serving in our sweet spot we experience the joy and purpose that comes from being in partnership with the Holy Spirit and seeing fruit for His Kingdom!

This book is extremely helpful to me, as coaching and empowering others has always been a passion and desire for me as a pastor and leader. Empowering others to discover their calling, strengths and place for ministry is one of my primary passions and calling as a pastor. God has recently blessed our church with 5 students who have been called to pursue vocational ministry in some way and I am privileged to personally coach some of them and to oversee all of them. We’ve also been entrusted with a growing number of high school students that would benefit greatly from coaching models and mindsets. I’m reminding myself while reading this text that I’m not the only one who has to coach all these amazing women and men God is raising up in our church. We have a multi-pastor staff team, retired pastors and other Christ-centered leaders who can also participate in this development. Camacho’s book has me thinking about how this resource could be used not just to coach others but to raise up other coaches too!

I want to develop these skills in my own life and began to share these concepts with other leaders in our church so that they too can coach the people in their ministry areas. I’m reminded by reading this book that its the work of the Holy Spirit in them that I want to help them notice and respond to, not any expertise or insight from my own self without the working of God.

Furthermore, as I’ve been reflecting on my doctoral research and passion of helping people discover the gift of Sabbath, I’ve been wondering about how “Sabbath Coaching” could become a part of my ministry and life moving forward. I will need more training around the professional practice of coaching, but I’ve considered launching a Sabbath coaching ministry as a way to specifically come alongside pastors, leaders and people in my church to journey with them in their discovery and practice of this wonderful gift of Sabbath given to us by God to enjoy Him!

Camacho’s book is giving me helpful tools in learning how to do this better in my ministry context. There’s definitely gold in every person and every context where we are working. Will we take the time to sift, search and discover it as we interact with and serve others? May God enable us to do so!

About the Author


Ryan Thorson

Follower of Jesus. Husband. Father. Pastor. Coach. I am passionate about helping people discover the gift of Sabbath and slow down spirituality in the context of our busy world.

14 responses to “There’s Gold in that Bucket over there!”

  1. Noel Liemam says:

    Thank you, Mr. Thorson, for the insightful postings. Since you are both a pastor and a coach, what is your recommendation of a pastor being coached by a non-pastor? And I am not sure if “Sabbath Coaching” is your NPO, if you don’t mind me asking, what is “Sabbath Coaching?”

    • mm Ryan Thorson says:

      Thanks Noel! Yes I am researching Sabbath practices for my NPO. I think I would define a Sabbath coach as someone who comes alongside someone else and coaches and supports them in their practice of a weekly period of rest in the midst of our busy lives. Because I believe in Sabbath so much it would be a joy to walk with people as they learn how God has uniquely wired them for rest in His presence!

      • Noel Liemam says:

        Thank you, Ryan, I hope to have a chance to learn more of your research; this would be very beneficial not only to the pastors, but to individuals as well. Thanks!

  2. Graham English says:

    I love you desire to see people receive the gift of Sabbath. I started practicing the rhythm of the sabbath 15 years ago and it transformed me. People in my congregation started asking if something had happened because they saw a noticeable change in my life.
    I wonder if you could include the idea of coaching in your project to help people figure out how to celebrate a sabbath that would be meaningful and restorative for them.
    BTW have you read “The Sabbath” by Heschel?

    • mm Ryan Thorson says:

      I Love Heschel absolutely. thanks Graham for the encouragement and its great to hear about your own joy and delight in Sabbath practices. I’m excited about the possibility of how coaching and sabbath could work together to help others discover the joy of sabbath practice like you and I have!

  3. Daren Jaime says:

    Hey Ryan! Congratulations as you have been blessed to impact the lives of others through your staff. I resonate with your passion to be effective as a leader. Your desire to empower coaches through Camacho’s writing should yield a fruitful harvest. We see so many leaders hover over people but hearing you say to come along side as Camacho suggests is refreshing and I believe will also be rewarding as you walk this out. Thanks!

  4. Christy Liner says:

    Hi Ryan, great post! I know that you are a gifted coach and ask great thought provoking questions, as I got to experience this in Oxford.

    I’m curious if you ever use coaching principles with your staff that report directly to you? If yes, do you have any challenges with playing both the supervisor and the coaching roles?

    I currently have a supervisor that is a certified coach through ICF and I love reporting to him. He asks great questions and allows the Holy Spirit to work in me.

    • mm Ryan Thorson says:

      Thanks for your kind words Kristy! I think my leadership is definitely more coaching style. While I have to occasionally be the ‘supervisor’ we are a highly relational church and, while I’m learning how to be direct and honest as a blessing to the people I lead, I still think people are more responsive primarily in the coaching role then a supervisor role.

  5. mm Chris Blackman says:

    Hey Ryan,
    I love the idea of you being a sabbath coach, but then I am all about sabbath rest. Can you imagine if more pastors and leaders took the time to sabbath, how much more “gold” they would find in others? To slow down, listen for the Spirit, and allow it to show them where they can meet people to help grow the church. I say do it!! I would love to see it,

    • mm Ryan Thorson says:

      Great point Chris! Yes, I think Sabbath has the potential to unlock tremendous potential in people in their responsiveness to the Spirit at work. I might be very bias, but I think Sabbath is a HUGE component to all of this!

  6. mm Kari says:

    Ryan, I love your passion for investing in people and also in sabbath rest. Jesus exhibited both of these characteristics in His ministry. It will be exciting to see how He continues to lead you in molding these two together.

    In his book, Camacho says, “Thriving only manifests from a deep sense of rest. Truth about God’s love sets us free to rest (page 118, Kindle edition).”

    What has been most freeing for you in your journey as a coach and as one who has found Sabbath rest?

  7. Elysse Burns says:

    Ryan, I can remember panning for gold on a family vacation as a child. It still remains a wonderful memory for me. I am glad your kids were able to have this same experience and were able to strike gold! I believe my bounty is somewhere in a box in my parent’s garage!

    I appreciated the point you brought up about slowing down and paying attention to the Holy Spirit. This remains a much needed area of growth for me. I feel as if I have the tendency to present the Holy Spirit with all my “great” ideas and pray He will make them work. More often than not, this doesn’t work very well for me, because my desire for results negatively impacts the relationship aspect highlighted in Camacho’s book. Waiting on the Lord may seem like a slow process, but the result is much more God-honoring and others-centered.

    It is encouraging to see how Coaching Leadership is alive and active in your church. What is the name of your church? I will be praying this ministry to empower leaders will remain fruitful and multiply.

  8. Chad Warren says:

    Ryan, as we’ve discussed before, I am excited about the “Sabbath Coaching” concept and look forward to being a coachee. Are there were any tactical/practical takeaways from what Camacho shared that you anticipate implementing in your “Sabbath Coaching?”

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