the shape of leadership

Individual Callings, Joint Pastoring

A Q&A with Wayne and Kristi Northup

Chris Colvin on October 30, 2019

Wayne and Kristi Northup planted Saints Community Church (Assemblies of God) in Metairie, Louisiana, in 2011. Now their mission is giving comfort to Greater New Orleans through the hope of the gospel.

INFLUENCE: What led the two of you to plant a church in New Orleans together?
When I was a junior in college, I was asked to lead a missions trip to New Orleans. I had never been, I had never even considered going there, but once I was there, it changed me in deep, deep ways. I remember one evening eating in the French Quarter and just being overcome with emotion. I clearly heard God tell me, “I’m going to give you a love for this city.”

After that first trip, I went back again and again and began to take hundreds of people with me. Then one night in a service at General Council, God spoke to me that it was time to move to New Orleans.

KRISTI: My parents were missionaries, so I’ve always had a heart for this type of ministry. It was during college that God himself put in my heart a desire to plant urban churches.

“Your role may change, but you have to continue to keep the mission in focus.”
— Wayne Northup

Then, years later, in the midst of my comfortable life, God spoke clearly to me, “You were made for more than this, but it will cost you everything.” Little did I know that literally meant almost everything. We sold our comfortable home in Dallas at a loss and moved to New Orleans.

How does your individual calling play into your ministry?
KRISTI: Worship leading is my primary craft. But that doesn’t mean it’s my only means of leading in church. I realized that my role would be to fill in the gaps wherever I was needed.

WAYNE: Kristi is an executive pastor and very good at being a utility player. She is in charge of all worship at all of our campuses, as well as all operations, including finances and marketing.

KRISTI: And Wayne is such a gifted leader. His role is the primary vision caster and main communicator. Each couple needs to figure out their own gifts and how they fit together with their spouse.

How does being lead pastors together enhance your ministry?
Sometimes people want to split hairs and give clear-cut titles, but that doesn’t always work. I grew up in a Spanish-speaking environment on the mission field, and in that context there is only one word for a person who ministers, pastora, and it means anything from senior pastor to staff member to pastor’s wife. There really is no distinction when you serve together.

WAYNE: Your role may change, but you have to continue to keep the mission in focus.

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 edition of Influence magazine.

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