Nikki Lerner serves as the Worship Ministry Director at Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia, Maryland, under the leadership of Dr. David Anderson. She has the honor of leading worship for a thriving multicultural congregation of 3500+ people every weekend. In addition to leading worship, Nikki does extensive mentoring for pastors and worship leaders around the country. She is a contributing author to the Multicultural Ministry Handbook: Connecting Creatively to a Diverse World. She continues to consult for The BridgeLeader Network by helping organizations navigate racial reconciliation and matters of diversity in addition to speaking on issues concerning multicultural leadership, team-building, vocal training, and relationship-building.
First let me say that it is an honor to sit with you and I think the ministry work that you do is so very important for this critical time in American history. When we discuss topics like race, racial reconciliation, and diversity in the church, people are reminded of the estimation that by the year 2050, the racial and ethnic minorities will be the majority in America. Why is it important that we share this information with church leaders and train them concerning the challenges they will face when leading multi-ethnic and multicultural churches, organizations, and teams?
For one thing, it (meaning the changing demographics) is already happening. Also, I believe that the issue of diversity across racial and ethnic lines is God’s kingdom issue and not just a nice thing to talk about. God cares about people. I have been married to my husband, David, for 14 years, and as an interracial couple, we joined Bridgeway because we wanted to be members of a church where people didn’t stare at us when we walked through the door. Interracial marriages are a reality and multi-ethnic children are a reality, and both are beautiful pictures in God’s sight. So I do believe that church leaders have to ask the question concerning who they are welcoming—and not simply tolerating—in their congregations.
I am thankful for Dr. Anderson’s leadership and intentionality to this end. As an African American male, he is in a devoted marriage to his Korean wife, and together they planted Bridgeway Church a nondenominational, multi-ethnic vision.