When a Leader raises more leaders, More is accomplished in perpetuity.
In 2007, our ministry started on a trajectory of exponential growth; from one church congregation and one school at the end of 2006, we had four schools by September of 2007, and this growth continues to date. One incident in 2007 came to mind as I read Tom Camacho’s book, Mining for Gold. We recruited a very energetic and talented middle-aged man that started very impactful programs for the children. This gentleman left after two years, and with him went his programs; he had not trained anyone to continue with the programs. We learned a great lesson on ensuring that our programs and activities are structured for sustainability and the need to intentionally develop leaders to manage and sustain the exponential growth in ministry. This was reinforced by another incident in 2008 when we had to travel outside the country for an entire month and had no access to the young leaders we left behind to run the ministry. We were anxious that things would not work, but, to our pleasant surprise, these young leaders surpassed our expectations by not only doing what we had specifically assigned them but also making very bold decisions in our absence. This was the beginning of an intentional leadership development program that has allowed us to grow into twenty-eight new communities in Kenya and two locations in Liberia in West Africa that we’re currently establishing. J. Oswald Sanders says, “Christians everywhere have undiscovered and unused spiritual gifts. The leader must help bring those gifts into the kingdom’s service, develop them, and marshal their power. Spirituality alone does not make a leader; natural gifts and those given by God must be there too.” Camacho points us to an important mandate imposed on us by virtue of being Christian leaders to seek out and develop others that God brings our way to be leaders. Camacho’s symbolism in the process of “mining” and the precious and refined “gold” is a very good pointer that leadership development is a painstaking process of the intentional human effort in coaching but, more significantly, a refining divine process by The Holy Spirit to produce quality leaders, that are kingdom minded. He bases his work on six principles:
- Refining leaders into gold is the work of God. We must surrender our lives to and allow The Holy Spirit of God to refine us.
- Helping people to find their true identity in Christ is the foundation of tapping into their great potential.
- Leaders and coaches should focus on directing people to God, who helps them discover their God-given design or gift.
- Every person God brings your way has a sweet spot where they naturally bear fruit.
- As we consistently point people to the cross as the primary refining tool, they will grow into kingdom-minded leaders.
- It is through developing genuine relations that people grow and thrive in leadership.
From seeing potential in people even when others do not see to coaching them, mining for Gold, and helping them to thrive, Camacho brings out an essential message on leadership multiplication and raising kingdom-minded leaders. Graham Cooke says, “I think the responsibility of leadership in the church is not to do slick meetings and not to figure out how to get 5,000 people through a facility in a weekend. It is to produce a people like Jesus. Let’s be people producing something on the ground that could annihilate the enemy in our city. That’s our job!” The importance of having the right mindset to see leaders even in people that do not look promising. Just like David was not seen as a leader in the human eyes of his family and Esther was far from being seen as a likely candidate for the king’s wife, as we allow God to use us to identify and coach believers to bring forth “gold” that will increase the influence of the church. He sees the thriving of Christian leaders as a birthright, quoting John 10:10, and describes a thriving leaders as Flourishing leaders who are growing and thriving; Planted in a community with deep roots and lasting relations; doing God’s work with commitment in seeking God first and His righteousness; bearing fruit because they’re living in their God-given design and thriving in their sweet spot; and they are continually being renewed, experiencing freshness and regular renewal. Jesus sets a great example for us in how He walked with His disciples from His first encounter with them to the time He commissions them to “go and make disciples.” Coaching cannot be done other than in close proximity and in serving them, in conformity with Jesus’ example in saying, “come, follow me,” in telling his disciples, “do what I do” rather than “do what I say.” Christian leaders must be close enough to see and hear them make mistakes, coach them and help them get into a relationship with God that allows the Holy Spirit to refine them into gold. Antoine de Saint-Exupery says, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” John C Maxwell says, “A leader knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” As Christian leaders, our example can be our most persuasive influence on the followers we desire to see empowered to be leaders. Do others imitate us because we model Christ? Jesus prepared His disciples, modeled leadership development through coaching, and got so much work done, which will continue perpetually. For me, it’s a great challenge to leave a legacy of many kingdom-minded leaders that will continue o use this leadership development model.
 Camacho, Tom. Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom-Minded Leaders through Coaching. (Nottingham. Intervarsity Press, 2019).
 Sanders, J. Sanders. Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for every Believer. (Sanders Spiritual Growth Series). (Chicago, Illinois, USA. Moody Publishers, 2017)
 Cooke, Graham. A Divine Confrontation. (Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Destiny Image Publishers, 1999).
 Camacho. Mining for God. Pg 171
 Antione de Saint-Exupery. The Little Prince. (New York, NY, USA. Reynal & Hitchcork /Harcourt, Brace, 1943).
 Maxwell, John C. Quotes from John Maxwell: Insights on Leadership. (Nashville, Tennessee. B & H Publishing Group. 2014).
13 responses to “When a Leader raises more leaders, More is accomplished in perpetuity.”
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Thank you for sharing your insight. I appreciate the other sources you used to substantiate your perspective. I am particularly drawn to the following portion of the Graham Cook quote, “It is to produce a people like Jesus.” I have heard you say that this is your one of your goals for your organization. What skills, techniques have your used and how do they compare with Camacho’s leader coaching?
Thank you Denise for your question; we work among the very vulnerable in society who are disenfranchised in a different way that undermines their confidence in life. We believe that they have great potential, and through holistic ministry, they find their identity in Christ. These are the people that are disciplined to leadership in the church plants. One of the programs we use for leadership development is based on the Biblical worldview called “Work 4 A Living” which was developed by Ena Richards of South Africa, and she has allowed us to use it. This program aims at leading people to discover their identity in Christ and discover their God-given abilities.
Mary: Could you elaborate a bit on the logistics of this leadership program and how you maintain consistency throughout the 28 different communities you have people in? I’m interested to know if it’s done by each site, regionally, organizationally, or something else.
Mary, as you think about your leadership style, is coaching a natural fit? If so, what are some of your favorite questions to ask those under your leadership? If not, what will it take to shift into this leadership style?
Thank you Andy for this great question that allows me to self-evaluate. Naturally, I’m an introvert and passively aggressive go-getter who has adapted to my leadership role, which puts me in a position that requires me to constantly interact with people, lead meetings, present funding proposals, initiate interactions to establish new ministry partnerships and constantly make decisions. I have learned to coach people along the way, especially with the exponential growth in the ministry and the high turnover of young staff members. We have to continually train new staff and mentor people to take up leadership roles and God has given me the patience to coach. It was not so at the beginning because I lean towards perfectionism and I tended to be impatient with non-performance nut God has brought many great leaders on my path that have coached me in my leadership and trained me to be a coach. I’m always looking forward to be a better coach and Tom Camacho’s book is a good addition o my reference library.
Mary, thanks for this comprehensive post. I am curious to know, as someone from another culture who reads a book by an American who serves in an American context like Comacho, do you encounter cultural barriers to applying Western principles to your context?
Thank Roy, for your excellent question. My context of ministry is different in many ways, especially in the level of literacy and limitations imposed by their economic realities. Still, the truth is parallel and is applicable in any context. I know that some of his illustrations are not applicable, but the main principles of coaching are very relevant. I have to customize his approach to coaching to be culturally appropriate and contextually relevant. One of the big limitations is the culture. Many only relate to leadership as hierarchical and top-down because of their background of tribal kings and chiefs that ruled by the rule of thumb and the predominantly paternalistic leadership structures in our culture.
Excellent post, Mary. I love all the connections you make with the cited authors.
It sounds like you have done a great job “coaching” and seeing the “gold” in others. Amen to His work through you all. That is amazing.
Knowing that we can’t “blueprint” ministry, if you were to coach a leader in how to lead in a way of faithfulness to the Lord, what points of guidance and encouragement would you provide them?
Thank you, Erick, for your question; first and foremost, it’s important to point the leader to Christ to find his/her identity and help such a leader to nurture their relationship with God to discover their God-given design or gifting; secondly, the leader should know what God says about them; thirdly, coach the leader to put their faith in God over things, methodologies and people; and encourage them to develop the right relationships with strong believers, that are life-giving so that they can thrive in their work, in faithfulness to God.
Mary K: I like how you bring John Maxwell into the discussion. He has written some great books on leadership. I too liked this book and got a lot out of it. The heart is to know that we are loved and called by God to contribute to God’s kingdom-building activities. Nice post.
Mary thank you for your insights. I especially appreciate, “Coaching cannot be done other than in close proximity.” In this new digital age, how do you apply coaching if proximity is a thousand miles away?
Thank You, Nicole, for your good question. Razzetti’s book, Remote not Distant, was a God-send for me. It was such an eye-opener on the need for a leader to adjust for the people working virtually in a remote location from control o facilitation. He emphasized the need to intentionally build a culture that supports the hybrid organization. With an intentionally designed culture, proximity will take a new form where your approach o facilitating the mentee is made with intentionality to build a close, supportive relationship.
Mary, thanks for sharing so well about the need for leadership development from your ministry experience. Having realized this, what might be a good way to help other ministries across Africa embrace this lesson, and what role do you see coaching playing in African leadership development?