KENNESAW, GA – – – – NorthStar Church celebrated its 25th anniversary with its services Sunday, January 9, 2022 on its campus on Blue Springs Road in Kennesaw. The church welcomed back some special guests and former staff members, gathering together in its Compass venue to celebrate during the 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services.
NorthStar Church launched on January 5, 1997, with Founding Pastor Dr. Ike Reighard leading the charge along with seven full-time staff members. For that very first worship service, 365 people gathered at the Days Inn Conference Center off Barrett Parkway in Kennesaw (a venue which no longer exists). The congregation quickly outgrew the venue, and was forced to find another location to accommodate the increasing numbers. The Theater at North Cobb High School became the home for the church from February 1997 until November 2000 (with a short summer stint at Vaughan Elementary School while the NCHS Theater was refurbished).Today, the church remains a stone’s throw from North Cobb High School, a visible reminder of its early days.
“How fast time has gone!” said Mike Linch, who serves as Senior Pastor at NorthStar Church today, and was one of the original staff members when the church launched. “I was 28 when NorthStar started and married a little over five years to Anne – my son (Casey) was 3 and my daughter (Mary—Michal) was not born yet. Casey is turning 28 this spring and now serves as our High School Pastor, and my daughter will be 25 and serves a great church in Winder, Ga. – and Anne and I have been married 30 years! Seems like yesterday!”
Dr. Ike Reighard, who serves today as Senior Pastor at Piedmont Church in Marietta, Ga., as well as CEO of MUST Ministries, shared some emotional words when reflecting back on 25 years of history at NorthStar.
“It gives me such a great deal of joy to see how NorthStar has never missed a beat under the amazing leadership of Mike Linch,” he said. “I never had a doubt that Mike would be anything but successful as a leader of NorthStar. Looking back, it was like the birth of a child…the love that I had for what we were going to do was overwhelming and I simply followed the passion of my heart! When I see the everyday impacts of NorthStar it thrills me because that was what we wanted to do from the very beginning: to truly create a church that would not be the best church in our community but would be the best church for our community… and that is what we accomplished!”
By supporting and partnering with schools, city and county governments, other non-profit organizations, and even other churches – NorthStar continues to exemplify the same passion for reaching Acworth and Kennesaw it had in the beginning.
“The cities of Acworth and Kennesaw have played a huge role in our journey,” said Linch. “I believe we live and serve in the greatest communities in the country. Mayor Allegood (Acworth) and Mayor Easterling (Kennesaw) are part of our NorthStar family, and we all are trying to make this the best place to live, work and play. I love this place! I moved here in the summer of 1991 to serve my first church and I’ve never left.”
Mayor Allegood echoed those sentiments, expressing gratitude to the families of NorthStar Church for pouring into the community for a quarter-century.
“We are so grateful for the generosity given from the hearts of everyone at NorthStar Church during these past 25 years,” Allegood said. “NorthStar’s generosity has changed the lives of many children, families and organizations – and its kindness has been life-changing! Thank you to every member of NorthStar Church for helping transform Acworth into the most loving and caring community in America.”
Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling shares Allegood’s appreciation for NorthStar Church and its partnership through the years.
“Congratulations to NorthStar Church on their 25th Anniversary!” said Easterling. “I am delighted to have NorthStar Church as a part of our community, leading, serving, and helping people find their way home. May God continue to bless NorthStar Church and all they do in and for our community.”
In concert with its 25th anniversary, NorthStar is launching “25 Days of Giving,” an endeavor which once again puts others at the center of its month-long celebration. Linch explains why blessing others was a vital piece to NorthStar honoring the past, and looking ahead to the future.
“It’s who we are,” said Linch. “It’s the DNA of the church. Jesus gave us two great commands: Love God with all of your heart and love others as yourself. I believe this is what Jesus has called us to do. After we paid off nearly $7 million of debt in 2018 we made a promise to begin to use that money we had given the bank all of these years for a greater purpose. I can think of no better way to celebrate our 25th than by blessing others like we have been blessed!”
Between January 9-February 2, NorthStar Church will embark on a 25-day giving campaign. The church will invest more than $120,000 to support other churches, schools, first responders, people who work in the service industry, college students, and many more. Additionally, the congregation will participate in its own giving campaign through acts of kindness, such as sending words of encouragement to the elderly, providing gift cards to postal and sanitation workers, and recognizing difference-makers in a variety of ways.
NorthStar Church’s Mission:
NorthStar Church exists to help people find their way Home by Loving God, Loving People, and Living Sent.