When was the last time you were coached? Was it on a sports team in high school? Was it for an acting class or singing lesson? Have you been coached in your professional life by mentors or pastors in a directed and intentional way?
In his forthcoming book, Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders Through Coaching, Tom Camacho delves deeply into a topic that is his passion and life’s work. Camacho uses the image of a coach as the one who is mining for gold in other people’s lives and experiences, as a way of developing thriving kingdom leaders.
Early on, he lines out his four key concepts, which include, “Gold is Everywhere… Open Your Eyes to See It… Learn the Skills to Draw it Out… Develop Others Continuously… Thriving kingdom leaders are not a coincidence. They are the product of God’s intentional loving care and development. He is forever developing them. As Coaching Leaders we get to participate in the development of these precious leaders.”
I am drawn to the idea in his writing of an abundance model when looking for the gifts of gold in leadership. One of the suppositions of this book is that gold is all around us, even if we can’t always see it. That means that, while there are deep challenges in our society and in the church, that God is also at work to provide the people “for just such a time as this”to be identified and to step in to lead.
Part of the process that this book lays out is about coaching, which is another way of saying mentoring, discipling, listening to, shaping, encouraging and raising up other leaders. The gold mining image is describing a reality, that often times, the gold, or the true giftedness and best that is inside of a person, can be hidden from the world and especially from that person themselves. So, to have an expert coach who comes alongside and draws it out, sifts it out, helps to discover it is an important service.
There is also something sacramental about the kind of coaching moment that Camacho is describing. In my church tradition, we acknowledge that “Bidden or Not Bidden, God is Present” (“Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit”). This is the omnipresence of God, where God is everywhere at all times. But in our sacramental theology, we see those high and holy moments of baptism and communion as chances to experience the presence of God in a particular way. The sacraments are outward signs and seals of the inward reality of God’s presence and grace.
The power of coming to the baptismal font or the communion table, is that in that time and place, you are called again to see the reality of who you are and whose you are. We don’t baptize ourselves, and we don’t serve ourselves communion on our own at home, instead, in community with others, we are drawn closer to the reality of God with us. We are given spiritual eyes to see.
So it is with Camacho’s way of thinking about mining for gold. He says it this way, “We need to see the value of the things (especially the people) that are right in front of us.” Certainly we can say that God is at work in all people, but to sit as a coach with someone, is to be the one who says draws out the particular ways that God is at work in “this one”. It is a holy and beautiful task.
Part of the passion for this work comes from the author’s discovery of his own gifts and call and the way that he was coached and helped by someone in his life. But part of it also stems from his acknowledgment that those with great gifts (gold), there will also come great temptations and even a struggle over who will control or use that gold. He writes, “be informed. There is a battle over the gold of thriving godly leaders. Whenever gold has been found in human history, there is often a battle that ensues for the rights to control the wealth of that resource. It is the same with the gold of godly leaders. We have a real enemy, the devil, who wants to steal that gold and will fight the process at every turn.”
While this work has not yet been released for purchase publicly, it appears that for there will be many who will find it useful. In my own church right now, there are a group of men who are seeking to be coached, discipled and led, and this book will be a practical resource to bring their way. While it is true that there is gold everywhere, it is equally true that we walk past it and don’t notice it for much of the time. This book invites the reader to focus in, to learn the craft of seeing gold in others, while also asking each person to consider where their own gold might be found.
For members of my church, and leaders that I work with, Camacho has contributed a helpful resource. For those who would encounter Christ through the holy words and actions of a priestly figure (or coach), this book will be worth the read.
Camacho, Tom. Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders Through Coaching. Intervarsity Press, 2019, 5-6.
Esther 4:14 (New International Version).
Camacho, Tom. Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders Through Coaching. Intervarsity Press, 2019, 18-19.
Camacho, Tom. Mining for Gold: Developing Kingdom Leaders Through Coaching. Intervarsity Press, 2019, 9.