Mike Linch is the Senior Pastor of the great NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, GA. Since its inception in 1997, NorthStar’s intent was not to grow a church but rather to reach a city. With over 2,000 in weekly attendance, a backlog of volunteers, and literally doing some form of ministry that impacts the community 365 days per year, the cities of Acworth and Kennesaw are better places to live because of this loving church.
Understanding churches across the country are sensing a deeper need to impact the under-resourced and marginalized in their cities, I recently asked Mike what three things every church leader should know as they attempt to transform their communities.
- Love The Things They Love. What is your city’s culture? What are the needs of your local school boards and teachers? What is on the hearts of your civic leaders? What does your city celebrate? Mike points out that by loving the things your city loves, you build rapport. Rapport then allows you to build the bridges needed to impact the local culture.
- Become Part Of The Fabric Of The Community, Not Just Part Of The Community. Don’t compete with your city. If your city has an upcoming July 4th celebration, don’t put on one yourself as a church. Rather incorporate your efforts into the city’s. This principal works the same for holidays, county fairs, sporting events, etc… By incorporating your church into the life of city, you can then be seamlessly woven into its non-competitive fabric.
- You Must Feel Called To That City. As Mike talked about this principle, I felt challenged. Many church planters select a city because of demographics, population growth, or denominational intentionality. You will never change a community with this approach.
I am honored to call Mike one of my dearest friends. Every person is unique and I think Mike’s uniqueness is his kindness. He loves Acworth and Kennesaw. He loves the teachers, police officers, elected officials, sports teams, business leaders, and his neighbors…just to name a few. Since coming into our area after graduating from Liberty University, a person with Mike’s obvious giftedness will get a variety of offers. He’s never left however…he loves our city.
Thank you Mike.
Church leader, do you know what your city loves and feel the same way about those things? Do you compete with your city? And most importantly, how deep is your calling and love for your city? I hope you incorporate Mike’s thoughts and your church becomes everything God wants it to be. Hey, we’re all in this together. Tell us things your church is doing that’s having a huge impact in your community. Let’s learn from each other.
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