Mike Linch serves as pastor of NorthStar Church in the Kennesaw/Acworth area just north of Atlanta. If you can’t find Mike at NorthStar or at home, you will most likely find him on a baseball field in the area! Mike pitched at Liberty University for Yankee legend Bobby Richardson. Besides being a pastor, he is also the pitching coach for Allatoona High School and is the chaplain for the Bucs football team. I met Mike during a SCORE International coaches clinic a few ago and then quickly joined his Zoom Bible Study each Monday morning. Mike has a phenomenal podcast called “Linch With a Leader” that is a wonderful resource for any coach, businessman or pastor. He is having a profound impact on the baseball community and leaders nation-wide. Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Mike a few questions:
Keith Madison: Mike, you obviously love baseball. When did you fall in love with the game and what was the inspiration behind your passion for the game?
I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn’t love baseball!! I grew up in the era of the TBS superstation and watching the Atlanta Braves back in the 70’s & 80’s. I started playing baseball at the age of eight and did not stop until my senior year of college. My dad loved the game and I caught his love for it. When I was not playing, I was watching, when I was not watching – I was throwing a tennis ball against a wall and facing MLB hitters in my brain!
KM: Bobby Richardson is obviously a legendary Yankee great. What was it like playing college baseball for a legend?
I remember the day that Coach Bobby Richardson called my house about seeing whether I would have an interest in attending Liberty University. At the time I had not heard about his legendary years with the New York Yankees but my dad sure had! After a short recruiting process and a visit to the campus, Coach made a scholarship offer for me to attend Liberty! I accepted the offer and little did I know that the next four years would change the course of my life! I went there to learn baseball from a legend but I got so much more. I got to see someone up close for three years that lived and breathed his walk with Jesus. His journey was not just what he said but it was who he was. I had never seen someone in a baseball uniform truly live out what it meant at all times to be a follower of Jesus. There are no words to describe the impact that Bobby Richardson had on my journey!
KM: How did you get involved in coaching at the high school level? You are a very busy guy, why do you coach?
I ran baseball clinics for five years in my hometown and after that time I really did not do anything until my son started playing. I coached his “rec” leagues and travel teams until he got to High School. Even though I still helped coach his summer and fall teams, I passed him on to the coaches at High School and enjoyed being a dad every spring! After his graduation in 2012, the head coach at the high school he attended asked me to join their staff as the varsity pitching coach. I just finished by eighth season with Allatoona HS (Acworth, GA) and now get to serve in the pitching role along with my son Casey! As I said, baseball is my blood and even though it is not my full time job, it is my hobby.
KM: How did the concept of a Bible Study for professional baseball scouts and coaches develop?
A few summers ago, I met at a Chick-Fil-A in Emerson, GA with a few MLB scouts and one college coach to just catch up with them. They were in town for a Perfect Game tournament and we discussed how hard it is to get plugged in to a regular Bible Study because of recruiting and scouting. Most Sunday’s they are at a field somewhere watching baseball and can’t get a long-term connection with a group. We threw around the idea of what it would be like to connect on the computer and open it up to other scouts and coaches. There was a new platform just coming out called Zoom and we gave it shot! The first group consisted of MLB scouts Kevin Burrell, Tommy Jackson and Steve Smith, and college coaches Rick Robinson, Fred Corral and Tom Griffin. We added a few guys here and there and then during the pandemic it exploded from 14 to 80! I am super thankful for the vision these guys had and their willingness to jump in!
KM: What is your favorite thing about spending Monday mornings with these coaches and scouts? Is this Zoom study open for any coach or scout, or is it invitation only?
My favorite part every week of gathering with these scouts and coaches is seeing them grow in their walk with Jesus! I love helping lead the study but they always learn most from each other. There is nothing like seeing people like you trying to live out the same faith that you are trying to live out! Seeing “iron sharpen iron” is an amazing thing and knowing that these men are changing and growing means that those in their clubhouses and homes are being “affected” by their walk with Jesus.
The zoom study is open to any scout or coach! We have a few travel coaches in the group along with lots of high school, college and a few current and former MLB coaches from Ontario to the Dominican Republic! We meet every Monday at 9am EST via Zoom. Please reach out to me and let me know if you are interested in joining by emailing me at [email protected]
and I will get you connected!
Mike Linch is the Pastor of NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, GA (www.northstarchurch.org) and host of the Linch with a Leader Podcast – www.mikelinch.com.