Inspiring Women Series - Nikki

Mar 10, 2011

I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Nikki.  She's been married to her husband Greg for 15 years.  They are both preachers’ kids.  They have three great children, JP, Gabbi and Colton. Nikki is employed by our church as the Director of Involvement.  But that is not why I think she is inspiring!  It is the service and love she gives to others outside of her job description at the church.  Let's chat with Nikki:

When did you accept Christ as your Savior?

NIKKI:  I can’t remember ever a time without Christ.  My dad and both of my Grandpa’s were preachers.  I was baptized by my mom when I was in 6th grade.  (And that was back in the day when you only saw the preacher or a man perform a baptism!  It was by my dad’s suggestion that my mom be the one to baptize me!!)  I knew when I was in high school that my life was going to involve Christian ministry.    I have amazing Christian parents and I’m like both of them in different ways.  I get my love for hospitality from my mom and my love of grace and truth from my father.   

Do you remember a woman in your life who inspires you?  

NIKKI:  I have been blessed with many Godly influences but my Grandma Odom (my mom’s mother) is at the top of my list.  There was no one like her.  At her funeral my dad spoke and shared something I had never heard before.  He said that when my dad starting dating my mom, that her dad (my grandpa) said to him privately that he had NEVER witnessed my Grandma knowingly sin.  My dad confessed that he thought to himself, “that’s very sweet of a husband to say about his wife, but certainly not true.”  But, years later, my dad could attest to the same thing of her- he had never seen her knowingly sin.  Certainly not claiming that she never sinned- but those that knew her the best never saw it.  She was the closest thing to what and who Jesus was in my life.    

My grandparents owned a clothing store in a small town and knew everyone that walked in.  My Grandpa was busy with being a bank president, community leader, business owner, making hospital calls, elders meetings, preaching so my Grandma did everything right alongside him and in his absence when has was working on other things.  She ran the store- worked at the church - she did everything- the picture of Proverbs 31 - she was an amazing strong woman of God.  She loved everyone with the love of Jesus. 

You and a group of friends have recently been spending some quality time with some precious women at a Gentleman’s Club.  Can you tell me how this came about?

NIKKI: I certainly did not wake up one morning and decide to go to a strip club.  But, I do remember when I really started studying the Gospels thinking that Jesus would be going to bars and wondering about what other places that “Christians” would condemn today…. What are the wells of this century?? This all started with an email that our senior pastor forwarded to me from a young woman in our church that emailed him telling him that she was a stripper and she was surprised to find out that there were MORE strippers at our church!!  Mike thought that I would want to follow up with her and I did…..  I finally got her to come in and meet with me in my office.  She would come in from time to time and we began a cool friendship.   A lot of meetings, prayers, and drama later…… I encouraged her to consider attending Bible college.  After I took her to a campus visit at Lincoln Christian University, I realized that she was totally out of her comfortable surroundings.  I decided that I needed to go into her environment.  She was no longer a stripper- but she sold the clothes that the girls wear.  So, I started going with her when she would sit in the dressing room of the clubs selling outfits to the girls.  

I can’t begin to tell you how heartbreaking it is to witness this setting.  My heart breaks for the men, women, and couples that patronize the clubs.  My heart breaks for the ladies that are use their bodies to make money to support their children.   I can’t even tell you how much I love them.  They all need Jesus and most feel so ashamed of who they are and what they’ve done that to attend church would be hypocritical.  No one needs to tell them that the lives they lead are messed up.  They freely talk about their lives and I LOVE being able to be there to be a listening ear.   

I’m convinced that when we get to heaven that many people will be surprised at those that enter the Kingdom.  I’m convinced that many of these girls pray more than ladies that enter church faithfully every Sunday.  (I do have a blog where I keep some updates- although I have stopped writing as much due to confidentiality  There are some very cool stories shared there though!!) 

You also became an ordained minister so that you could go into the jail/prison setting to teach bible studies.   To many readers, this would be a huge stretch of faith and courage.  What motivates you and gives you the courage to witness in such bold ways?

NIKKI:  I don’t think of what I do as being very bold or courageous.  Jesus says to go and make disciples of all nations- all nations doesn’t have to be a “missions” trip to Morocco.  Sometimes it may seem easier to need a passport to enter in Jesus’ name- but there are the same lost people down the road in the jail and strip clubs that have never heard the love and hope of Jesus Christ.  There’s nothing I LOVE more than to give someone their very first Bible and tell them how much Jesus loves them. 

Every Friday morning from 9-11 is the highlight of my week!  Most of the girls in the jail have NEVER had anyone in their life that has loved them like Jesus loves them.  
Being the Director of Involvement for a large church is a big task.  What is your favorite part of this job?  Hardest part?

NIKKI: My favorite part of my role is having the opportunity to meet people when they first enter Eastview.  It’s overwhelming to most and I love the task of helping them realize that it’s easy to make a big church feel small just by getting involved.  The other part of that is that a lot of people that are new- are overwhelmed that there’s a God that would love and forgive them.  It’s not uncommon to hear something like, “if I told you what I’ve done you wouldn’t want to talk to me anymore.”  Satan has a great scheme of keeping people out of the church by making them feel unworthy of grace because of past sins.  

I would say there are 2 things in my role that are really difficult.  One is just hearing about people’s backgrounds and all the garbage they have been through or are going through in their life- sin and consequences they are trying to overcome.  The stories are heavy and when I’ve heard a lot in a short period especially it really weighs on me.  My heart hurts.  I often read Matthew 11:28-30 for myself and to those I meet with.  “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  

The second thing that is difficult for me is to see people make really unwise choices.  It’s the parable of the soils- to some the message falls on shallow soil and they come and go quickly.  Others the message is falling on rock and never really changes their life.  But God is always at work and never out of God’s reach. 

What kind of encouragement would you give my readers about living their faith out loud?

NIKKI:  Do something!!  Don’t just hang around with people that call themselves Christians. Get out of your comfort zone.  I believe that one reason why God has me going to the places where I go is because then I TOTALLY need Him!  I have the tendency to tell God, “I’ve got it- if I need anything- I’ll let you know!”  So- He puts me where I don’t have it- and I do need Him!  

Several years ago, a good friend of mine and I decided that we needed to pray on the west side (the bad side!) of town.  So, we met together every week and walked and prayed the streets of the west side.  Something happened through that and neither of us have been the same since.    I will say that it is scary and uncomfortable.  But if it’s not, do you really need God?    

Well friends, didn't I promise you inspiration?  Nikki, thank you so much for sharing your life with us! (I love serving with you!)

Now it's your turn. Tell us about an Inspiring Woman in your life and link up below!


smiley_netta,  March 10, 2011 4:13 AM  

I went and checked out her blog, and I have to say, I am very moved. I lived with a friend for a while that ended up turning to the life of working in a strip club, and she and I have recently re-connected. Her stories break my heart. I would love to be able to get in contact with Nikki and donate some handmade things (like hats and gloves) for her ministry in the strip clubs and prisons. (She doesn't have her e-mail available on her google profile.)

Stef,  March 10, 2011 1:33 PM  

Wow Nikki - thank you for what you're doing. We have a family member completely submerged in that life style - living in Las Vegas. She refuses to help herself, and relies on this horrific lifestyle to support her materialistic appetite. Thank you for being a light in a dark place for others!! Matthew 5:16
praying for you and the lives you touch ...

Marci,  March 10, 2011 2:01 PM  

I love that you are such an example of getting out of the pews and meeting people where they are. Our church just got done doing a study in our small groups about just that - getting out of our comfort zones and leaving the comfort of our Christian friends to reach out to non-believers, not to preach to them, but to just be their friend. Now, we just have to live it!

You are inspiring!!

Jenn,  March 10, 2011 8:42 PM  

This makes me want to scream YES!!! I have served in this type of ministry locally the last couple of years. I am a firm believer that when we get to Heaven, we will see all kinds! Not just the *pretty people* - He WANTS us to reach all kinds. If someone cared enough to reach ME, who am I not to reach out?? I am no better or no different than any other. We all make wrong choices in life at one time or another; they all may just be DIFFERENT wrongs. Therefore, no one should be judged. Just LOVED.

When I first started with this ministry, what spoke to me the most was a *voice* in me that kept saying *What if it was Maggie?* (my daughter) I would be on my knees every night begging God to send SOMEONE to her - I know there are other Mommas out there doing that exact thing each night. Praise God for your obedience!

Bless you, my dear! I will def. be in prayer for you as you continue His work!

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