NorthStar Church is located in North Atlanta (GA) in the town of Kennesaw.  I recently wrote about their 20th anniversary celebration HERE.  The impact this church has made in its community will only be properly measured in Heaven.  The church’s pastor is Mike Linch.  In addition to being a dear friend, Mike is one of America’s greatest pastors.

Recently, Mike’s alma mater Liberty University, did a story on the impact of his life and ministry which you can see above.  As I watched the video, it became apparent why Mike is such a blessing to all who know him.

The following are 24 Practices Of Highly Successful Pastors Who Lead Great Churches which I gleaned from the video.  First is the principle followed by supporting thoughts as well as Mike’s comments.

  1. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Are Part Of The Fabric Of Their Communities – Mike helps coach the Allatoona Buccaneers high school baseball team.
  2. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Have Longevity – They do not bounce from church to church looking for the next good opportunity.  Churches are the Bride of Christ, not professional stepping stones.  Mike said, “I’ve been at NorthStar since we started.”
  3. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Develop Over Time – Mike started out as a youth pastor.  This used to be the preferred career path for pastors – start out as a youth pastor and then become a senior pastor after a time of seasoning.  This is why I think so many church plants fail.  The pastors have not gone through a proper time of preparation.  “I became the senior pastor in 2003.”
  4. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Teach The Bible – The only thing that can change a human life is God’s Word.  Great pastors prioritize the Bible.  It is God’s Word in written form.
  5. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Have Great Concern For Lost People – “We began as a church for people who didn’t go to church.”
  6. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Want People To Become Everything God Created Them To Be – “I want to be a place they can walk into and say ‘I can learn.  I can grow and be the person God created me to be.'”
  7. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Have Taken Great Risks – God honors faithfulness.  “A lot of sleepless nights because it was risky.”
  8. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Are Always Doing Something New – God is always moving forward.  He is always advancing, always using new wineskins.  And so do great pastors.  “There weren’t a lot of new churches back then.”
  9. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Have Many Choices But Few Options – The higher up you go in your career as a pastor, the fewer options you have. There are more things you can’t do.  Conversely, there are more things you have to do.  “I had a great job.  My wife was pregnant with my daughter and we knew we had to do it.”
  10. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Have Had Great Struggles – “And there were a lot of struggles – raising money, people didn’t understand, there were traditional churches and nothing else.”
  11. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Have Times Of Great Loneliness – I want to restate what Mike said in the previous point – “people didn’t understand”.
  12. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Paid The Great Price Needed To Experience Great Victories – Great joy, great happiness, a great sense of satisfaction, and great victories are reserved only for those who have paid a great price.  “There was a lot that went with it but I’m so glad we did it.”
  13. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Have Paid The Price Of Great Preparation – Mike attended Liberty University for four years.
  14. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Were Taught To Dream Big – Early in our lives we have to borrow the faith and dreams of others.  We need to have our minds and perspectives broadened.  Great leaders do that for younger leaders.  “Dr. Falwell taught you to dream big.”
  15. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Are Worthy Of Great Respect And Honor – “Every time you step foot on that campus you’re walking on a man’s vision and dreams.  I could never get over that.”
  16. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Give People A Great Picture Of What They Could Be – “Well there’s a Champion For Christ.”
  17. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Often Had No Idea How Much And Where God Was Going To Use Them – “I’ll never go to where that guy’s from because I’m tired and cranky.  I remember thinking I’ll never go there.  I don’t know what school that is.  I’ll never go somewhere like that.”
  18. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Did Not Seek Out Great Platforms – Pastors who have long-term success focused on their personal faithfulness, not the size of their platform.  And because of their faithfulness, God gave them a great platform.  The platform found them.  They did not seek it out.  This sense of humility allows them to maintain the platform.  “Out of the blue Liberty called.  Coach Bobby Richardson called my house…I visited and knew that’s where I was supposed to be.”
  19. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Use Their Platforms To Serve Others – Mike does a lot of personal coaching for amateur and professional athletes.  He teaches them, “It’s what you do.  It’s not who you are…Sometimes we get wrapped up in sports.  It becomes who we are and it really is just what you do.”
  20. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Have Experienced Great Personal Successes And Great Personal Failures – “It’s a game.  And you’re going to learn a lot of lessons.  You’re gonna have a lot of successes.  You’re gonna have a lot of failures.”
  21. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Have Bounced Back From Great Personal Failures.  They Have Great Resilience. – “Everybody’s got to learn to bounce back from their failures.  And you’re ability to bounce back whether it’s on the mound, in your marriage, or in life all goes back to things you learned while playing the game.”
  22. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Help People Know Their Identity Is In Christ, Not Their Career – “At the end, you’re going to hang it up…Do you have something in your life bigger than the game?”
  23. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Point People To A Relationship With Jesus – “Life makes a lot more sense when you have a relationship with Christ.”
  24. Great Pastors Who Lead Great Churches Are People Of Prayer – Your success as a pastor will ultimately be determined by the amount of time you spend alone with God and how much He marks your life.  Great pastors have calloused knees.  “And it’s in Jesus’s name I pray.  Amen.”

What is one thing you have learned from Mike’s life which would make you a better pastor?


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