I have had a great opportunity in this column to give thanks to many that have been an inspiration to me in some form or fashion. Today will be no different.
Around the year 1981, I met a young preacher named Mike Mullinax. We were introduced and immediately became friends. And although we no longer see each other like we once did, that friendship has lasted.
Since neither Mike nor I were married when we met, we did some fishing together down on Lake Allatoona. I guess we probably talked more than we fished, but it was good times.
I remember as I write this going to Fields Landing and fishing either from the bank or from the boat house of a friend. We both worked, so the fishing was usually done at night under the light of a lantern. During this period in time there were many boat houses at Fields Landing.
Mike is a couple of years older than me and I looked up to him. He is just that kind of guy. If you don’t like him, chances are the problem is on your end.
At the time, my dad was not much of a church-goer. That changed later in his life and I am happy about that. And Dad wasn’t too much for folks that tried to guilt him into going to church. But Dad liked Mike Mullinax.
You see, Mike would certainly talk to my Dad about church and even invite him to come. But there were no judgments. There was only conversation. Mike didn’t shy away from Dad and I think that is why my dad respected him so much.
Mike has gone on to pastor many churches in Cherokee and surrounding counties. But there was a time when he pastored North Canton Baptist Church. This happens to be the church where my dad was saved and baptized. My Granny and Granddaddy Collett were regulars there.
The years that Mike pastored at North Canton were some wonderful years that saw many souls being led to Christ. And I had the privilege to sit and listen to Mike preach on many occasions. He was young and full of energy.
During this period, North Canton Church held their baptizings in a make-shift pool at the old Scout hut that was located well below and behind the church. Since the water came straight from a creek, Mike assured me that it was cold no matter what time of year the baptizing was held.
This area has now become a residential area. But I assure you that there were many memories created at this old time baptizing pool, the Scout hut, and the ball field where many softball games have been played.
There are preachers and there are pastors. Mike is both.
I have seen preachers who seemed great in the pulpit but maybe not so great when it comes to relating to the audience outside of church. Mike isn’t that guy. He can relate to anyone whether they attend every Sunday or they don’t attend at all.
Mike has always been a big man in stature. And if you met him on the street he would be a man that you would say could take care of himself. But beneath that stature lies a man with a heart of gold.
Mike has been preaching and pastoring for I would say 30-something years now. There have been many that started like him and are no longer in the ministry for one reason or another. But Mike has stood steadfast as he has seen others come and go.
Mike has never been one to hold back in the pulpit, so I am sure those 30-something years haven’t been easy. But I can assure you he hasn’t changed the message to please the congregations he stands in front of.
There will be many that will have a memory of Mike preaching the night they were saved. There will be many who remember Mike taking them down in to the cold waters to be baptized. And there will be many that will remember Mike standing over their lost loved ones and offering words of encouragement.
As for me, I will always remember my friend that not only impacted my life, but the life of my dad. Keep traveling my friend.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of