I have never been one for self help books. It always struck me as strange that instead of seeking out mentors or others to help myself along whatever journey I was on at the time that I should turn to a book. In his book Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders Through Coaching, Tom Camacho makes the argument that one of the reasons we have such poor leadership in the church is because we are not coaching leaders. In fact Camacho talks about the voluminous offering of self-help books and the premise of what they offer being wrong. He writes. “Most self-help materials begin from a wrong premise. They begin with self. They explain ways you need to think differently or act differently to find sure success and fulfillment”  The idea of starting with self when we need help he argues is where we swerve off the road. To not begin with God is to not thrive. “We will never experience real and lasting thriving when we begin with ourselves. To thrive we must begin with God.”  The idea of mining for gold is an attractive picture. We were all made in God’s image or the Imago Dei and if we are going to be what we were made to be it has to start with God.
Camacho lines out just how coaching can help leaders to reach their potential, and he starts with the story of his own failure. The story of his church plant starts as many do, the excitement and joy at planting a new church can be infectious. I was part of a team that visited and worked with church planters at a former church, the area where I was focused on was Vancouver and its surrounding areas. I was able to meet with six different couples who were planting churches to find out how we could help and support them. They were all excited to see where God was going to be working with them. They were sent out by the North American Mission Board or NAMB and Vancouver was one of the focus areas because of the influx of the world there. I met with them in the winter of 2013 and our church decided to partner with two of them both financially and by sending workers to help. After two years the first one had decided to move back to the states and basically quit ministry because they felt as if they had failed miserably. The other family fought it out for 2 years after that but have left because they failed to make any headway. I tell these stories because they were sent to the field with minimal training and no support other than churches who would help them. There was no investment in leadership and it showed. Not one of the families who went to that area are left.
So why did I tell you that story, I told you because it mirrors what happened with Camacho. They families were devastated by the failure of their plants. Camacho argues they failed, not because God did not want them to succeed but that they had never been invested in as leaders. This happens often in churches. Pastors in SBC churches have averaged a tenure of three to four years. If you have pastors who are not mentored properly, and they only stay 3-4 years in their position, then it is no wonder discipleship has fallen off in the church. Again, this falls within my problem, congregations are more inward focused because the lack of discipleship.
Now understanding that self help books are probably not the best route this book does have some aspects of a self help book. Camacho but when you dig deeper it is more than a self help, it is an others help book. This book gives an outline on how to be a good coach, not improving ones own self, but helping others to be a better leader. He calls it mining for Gold and the example from scripture Camacho uses that caught my eye was that of Queen Esther. I enjoyed how he gave a telling of Esther and how man looking at the outside sees only her beauty but through the Spirits leading, the strength of how God would use her was the beauty of the inside. His description captured my attention: “Mordecai saw a young girl that would make someone a wonderful wife one day. Maybe she would marry a butcher, or a baker or, with great fortune, a noble businessman, or government official. Like Samuel, Mordecai saw Esther through natural eyes, but God saw her through the Spirit. God knew what was ahead for her, and He was preparing her to be His instrument. He saw inside her the courage and character that would be needed for her particular assignment. There was gold inside this young woman.”  Camacho gives the mining for gold process as four stops.
- Deep Listening
- Asking Great Questions
- Cooperating with the Holy Spirit
- Determining the Right Next Steps
Digging into each of these steps could be a post on its own, suffice it to say it incorporates things we have been reading about over the last 2.5 years. Listening well, knowing the right questions, following God, then moving. It is a pretty solid outline for not only coaching leaders but for living in God’s will as well.
 Camacho, Tom. MINING FOR GOLD: Developing Kingdom Leaders through Coaching. INTER-VARSITY PRESS, 2019. 27.
 Ibid. 27.
 Rainer, Thom. “Six Reasons Pastoral Tenure May Be Increasing.” ThomRainer.com, 19 June 2017, thomrainer.com/2017/03/six-reasons-pastoral-tenure-may-be-increasing/.
 Camacho, Tom. MINING FOR GOLD: Developing Kingdom Leaders through Coaching. INTER-VARSITY PRESS, 2019. 44.
 Ibid. 46.