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

To Them Who Are Called

Written by: on January 18, 2024

From the title of this week’s reading, I expected to learn how to coach Kingdom leaders.  Although, Camacho speaks to this, what I gleaned from Mining for Gold was much different.  It affirmed my belief that I’m designed to thrive, not just survive.  He confirmed that stunted growth is a result of an empty cup and a forgotten purpose.  He reminded me that awkward silence is only uncomfortable because of a cultural norm that expects all space must be occupied.  Kingdom coaches guide to thrive, fill cups, remember God’s design.  They comfortably sit in discomfort and wait for breakthroughs to create more space for the Holy Spirit to reside. I appreciate this wisdom as I prepare to find my own coach to support this doctoral journey.

Camacho is very clear in his delineation between a good leader and a Kingdom leader.  A good leader can learn the skills and master the practice to lead folks anywhere for any purpose, despite their character. Kingdom leaders are called “to mine for the gold in others, cooperate with God as he refines that gold and then help them invest that gold in the kingdom.”  To be called to do something is very different than just picking something to do.  A calling is given, a gift – one that Camacho says not everyone gets.  This is also why I will be very careful and pray for discernment when it comes to selecting my coach.

My coach will need to understand my past in order to be present and help build my future. Camacho makes reference to this past and reframes it: “Whatever difficult circumstances we have endured, God knows where we are and has allowed us to be there.”  I did not grow up religious. In fact, my mother did her very best to instill a strong anti-Christian sentiment.  Despite her efforts, the call of God was loud enough to temper such influence.  In time I came to Christ, tripping and stumbling, and unsure what to do next. I asked my self during this reading: how might my life have been different if I’d had a Kingdom coach?

I suppose my first glimpse of what a Kingdom coach might have looked like was through my cousin Suzanna who lived ‘round the bend of our country backroad.  She was one year older than me, a regular church-goer, and lived in the bliss of being well protected from the world.  She also magnified the “O” in Camacho’s GOLD model; she remained open to see God working in my life.  She could see and hear through the Spirit, so when I told her what my world looked like at home or school, she didn’t offer me advice, she just sat with me.  Her silent presence was so filling, I believed I was not alone.  That belief is what my soul needed to grow. 

When she did speak it was to tell me that God made me for a purpose.  She believed in it, even if I didn’t, because she believed in God.  Her conviction convinced me, and I accepted Christ into my heart at age nine. A Kingdom coach might have helped me as a new disciple, perhaps expedite the growth and progress in my Christian walk, but God did put people in my life to at least keep me merging into the right lane to become a good leader.  I’m hoping this program will put me on the freeway towards becoming a Kingdom leader.

Camacho’s coaching is similar to the spiritual direction I experienced while living in South Carolina.  I’d just returned from teaching at a Christian school in Incheon, South Korea to work at a faith-based community development corporation. I was inspired by the leader’s intentional involvement in the spiritual formation of his staff. He helped me find a spiritual director to match my movement in life.  It was the first time I had someone help me one-one-one with a Christ-Centered focus.  I was 41 years old.  

Admitting the length of time that occurred between accepting Christ and allowing myself to be formed by Christ makes me feel like an imposter in an audience of Christian leaders. I imagine most folks in this program have been in the church all their life, or have been guided by fathers who were pastors, or hold MDiv degrees.  I’m a layperson. I don’t have the religious background, or the pastoral degree.  I am encouraged, however, to find a Kingdom coach who will see me and join me in the search for the treasures I can offer. A Kingdom coach is Open to see the child inside the coachee, to recognize Kingdom leaders through God’s eyes, not what they think such leaders should be or look like. 

I have met many people with a similar life experience to mine.  Like me, they have invested considerable effort to heal and grow from past hurts through self-help books, professional therapy, special retreats, etc.  The expected result of these types of approaches is that once I heal myself, I become whole and can therefore thrive – as a leader at work, as a parent at home, as a neighbor in the community.  What Camacho suggests, however, reminded me from where this power to heal comes.   “We will never experience real and lasting thriving when we begin with ourselves. To thrive we must begin with God.”

About the Author

Erica Briggs

10 responses to “To Them Who Are Called”

  1. Diane Tuttle says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Erica. When you said that your 10 year old cousin helped lead you to Christ that was a strong reminder that anyone can have a powerful impact on the faith of another, regardless of church involvement or degree. The child’s genuine belief in God and her ability to silently sit with you was powerful. I will be excited to learn where God will be leading you.

    • Erica Briggs says:

      God calls us to have the heart of a child. Belief came easier when we were children, which is why I often ask my inner child to help me discern when my adult mind gets in the way.

  2. mm Shela Sullivan says:

    Hi Erica,

    I enjoyed reading your blog. It completely opened my mind (Aha moment) to read Camacho’s clear distinction between a good leader and a Kingdom leader. Never thought crossed my mind in this way. Thank you for calling it out in your blog.

    I found this to be powerful; the emphasis on calling and the unique responsibility of Kingdom leaders to mine for the gold in others. The refinement process and support the investment of that gold in the kingdom creates a thoughtful perspective.

    The recognition that a calling is a gift, not available to everyone, adds depth to the understanding of leadership. Your intention to carefully select a coach with discernment aligns well with the significance of this leadership philosophy.

    I come from a Muslim country, born into a Hindu family with no MDiv. It is amazing that God has made this space for us to learn and walk together. God is not looking for a degree in us or counting the years we have served as leaders. God is looking for our heart. Be amazed, for you are a child of God!

    • Erica Briggs says:

      I appreciate the affirmation. I am already benefitting from being in this community of learners. The one constant thread that has followed all my movement is my engagement in stories. I think the most important first step for any Kingdom coach is to make authentic connections. That can’t happen without stories. What drew me to the word, was the stories. The incredible, impossible stories. Listening for the voice of God in the twists and turns in the days of our lives. I think about this as I sit around the fire, (me and the kids are huddled around the fireplace, lost power due to “the worse ice storm in decades” according to the Nextdoor neighbor app.) Maybe I can get my youngest to sit still long enough to tell him a bible story about thriving through storms. What are your favorite bible stories on this topic?

  3. Graham English says:

    Erica, like you I didn’t grow up in a churched or Christian home. It took me to see my true worth founded in Jesus. Nouwen wrote that we tend to build our identity on 5 lies. 1) We are what we have, 2) We are what we do 3) We are what others say about us, 4) We are nothing more than our worse moment, 5) We are nothing more than our best moment.
    I am grateful that you have co-operated with the Holy Spirit to uncover your real identity in Christ. Blessings.

    • Erica Briggs says:

      What I love about Nouwen is the simplicity. It’s intuitive. It resonates in our bodies because we recognize its truth, especially as it relates to identity in the world. That’s what brought me into the fold. Thanks for bringing that perspective into the conversation!

  4. Daren Jaime says:

    HI Erica. I appreciate your highlight of the difference between a good leader and a Kingdom leader. There is a difference. One of my sentiments about Camacho’s book is that it is overly Christian. This is not a bad thing but your post resonated with me in your desire to see someone bring the best out of you. As you have stated there are others who may not be leaders who make valuable deposits but hearing you shows the sentiment I believe Camacho is trying to convey, people are out there needing someone special to come along and refine them to become their very best. Thank you for sharing!

    • Erica Briggs says:

      There is treasure everywhere! The harvest is plenty but the workers are few. You mentioned Camacho’s book was overly Christian. Can you share more about that?

  5. mm Chris Blackman says:

    Hi Erica,
    Thank you for sharing a little about you in your post. I loved reading it. I admired your thought that you were “designed to thrive, not just survive”. I wish we all had that same sense. I see it in your desire to join this program – to see what God has in store for you. I don’t have a question for you, but I couldn’t help thinking as I read your post that you are exactly in the right place, and I, for one, and glad you are here.

  6. Julie O'Hara says:

    Erica, Sharing about the silent presence of your cousin making you feel heard and seen at the tender age of nine deepened my belief in the power of simply being ‘with’ folks. Thank you for the image, in my mind you are together outdoors, sitting under a tree, and the day itself is beautiful blue all around. I met Jesus when I was 5 and did not begin to be truly transformed until I was 40 – that was the year I got sober. I also did not grow up in a Christian family. I wanted to put all that out there to say I am with and we are not along in sometimes feeling like imposters. We are on a profound journey together now! Thanks for being so open.

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