Lord of the House
By Kristi Northup
Before we were church planters, my husband and I were living in Dallas, TX, traveling as evangelists and serving as staff evangelists at a church. Our lives were relatively comfortable.
When it was time to put the plan in motion to plant the church God had put on our hearts for New Orleans, one of the first things we knew we needed to do was to sell our house. It was a beautiful, brand new home at end of a cul de sac that backed up to a field and a horse farm. When we bought it I thought, “Our daughter will come down this staircase in her wedding dress.”
Selling that home felt like the death of a dream, but it had to be done.
When we bought the home in 2007, it had been a great deal. However, the bottom had dropped out in the market when we listed it in the spring of 2010. We were upside down on the property. We listed it with a great agent who did several open houses, but there were no bites.
Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. We began doing our own open houses every Sunday afternoon. Eight Sundays in a row a friend showed the house, and still there was not a single offer.
I would walk in our neighborhood and cry, repenting before the Lord for buying too expensive of a house and begging Him to send us a buyer.
Those long months helped me to shed the material desires that had crept in. I kept the verse in front of me: “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2) I thought, “If Jesus could endure the cross for the joy of saving humanity, I can endure the sale of this house for the joy of lives being changed through church planting.”
After five long months, just when we thought we could not go on, we had a breakthrough. A family gave an incredible sacrificial offering. The next day we got an offer on the house. We were owed back pay for salary we had not taken. The amount we needed to bring to the table was the exact amount that family had given. Miraculously, we were able to sell the house at a loss and walk away debt-free.
On my 34th birthday, we signed the papers selling the home of my dreams. However, it was the #1 thing that had to happen in order for us to pursue a much bigger dream. We were free to follow the call of God!
One year later, we had moved and launched the church. A young couple, Nick and Adrianna received Christ for the first time during our pre-launch. They asked if a minister from the church could perform their wedding ceremony.
On my 35th birthday, I officiated the marriage of the first people who were saved in our church, and my heart was overflowing with gratitude.
Sometimes the miraculous is still painful, but through that pain God accomplishes his purposes in us and through us. “Unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels – a plentiful harvest of new lives.” Being part of life transformation in others is the greatest joy I’ve ever experienced, and I thank God for the privilege of church planting.
Kristi Northup and her family moved to New Orleans in 2011 to start Saints Community Church, where she serves as the worship leader and associate pastor alongside her husband, Wayne. She is licensed in insurance and investments, and loves using that knowledge to serve the church. Kristi graduated from North Central University in 2000 with a B.A. in Urban Studies and Music. Ordained in 2007, she has a passion for women in ministry and for seeing people saved. Serving as the field representative for CMN Women is a great combination of this work. She is also a columnist for Influence Magazine. Kristi is a mom to three kids: Libby, Lincoln, and Levi. She is religious about coffee and close friends.