This month NCN News will begin a series on women in ministry in the Church of the Nazarene’s Eurasia Region, courtesy of the region’s communications department.
From its very first days, the Church of the Nazarene has recognized that God calls women into preaching, teaching, and other forms of ministry just as He calls men.
Women have played an integral role in expanding God’s kingdom around the world. In the Eurasia Region, women serve in numerous leadership roles with Nazarene Missions International and Nazarene Youth International, as local pastors, missionaries, district leadership roles, and the list goes on. Just last year, 30 women were ordained in Bangladesh – the largest group of women to be ordained in denomination history. The region also has three women serving as district superintendents — the most women to hold this position in any region.
This series will highlight five women who hold key leadership roles in the region: three district superintendents and two field education coordinators. They are just a few among many women whom God is using to shape the church in Eurasia.
God continues to call and anoint women to lead and expand the Kingdom around the world. The Eurasia Region is opening doors for women to fulfill that call.
This week’s feature: Tamara Hudson, Romania
Hudson, a missionary serving in Romania with her husband, Michael, was appointed as the superintendent of the Romania District on November 20, 2011. With the appointment she becomes the first female district superintendent in Europe (story). Prior to this new role, Hudson has been offering her experience and gifts to theological education, mentoring the district’s youth council, and assisting with literature development.
She previously co-pastored the Nazarene church in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, with Michael (2007 – 2009); before that, they served as missionaries in Albania for nine years (1996 – 2005) and Romania for two years (2005 – 2007.) They returned to Romania in 2009.
Eurasia Communications (EC) talked with Hudson about her experience as a woman in ministry, both in her home culture and in the Eurasia Region.
Eurasia Communications: Talk with us about God’s call on your life.
Hudson: When I was young, I grew up in a Christian family, in a Nazarene family. My grandfather was my pastor growing up. We had missionaries coming to our house to stay with us and our whole life really was the church when I was young.
And then when I was eight, I realized that I wasn’t a Christian just because my family was a Christian, but I recognized that I needed to ask Jesus to be my personal Savior. When I was about nine, I felt like God was speaking to me, saying, “When you grow up you’re going to be a missionary.”
As I continued to grow older, the Lord continued to strengthen that call. And when I was a teenager, I had an experience of entire sanctification and just gave my life to the Lord; I felt like he was calling me to preach when I was 16. And so, just step by step, the Lord has been faithful to lead and to guide.
EC: As a 16-year-old and being a woman called to preach, did you ever question that?
Hudson: Yes, definitely. As a teenager in the 1980s, feeling this call to preach … one leader I talked to said, “You know, that’s great. But maybe you should find a nice pastor to marry. You’ll make a good pastor’s wife.”
That was devastating. I was kind of a shy teenager and not really outgoing and didn’t think that I could really do it. And then to have a leader say, “Well, maybe you should just become a pastor’s wife,” was pretty discouraging.
So through the years I feel like the Lord has really had to make it clear to me that it was His call to preach and to become ordained. But I praise the Lord for the people in my life who have been encouraging influences.
When I went to university, I knew I was called to be a missionary. So I continued to follow the call to missions. I’m a registered nurse. I felt that it was important to have a skill, especially not being accepted [as a preacher]. I felt … if I did have a skill [beyond ministry] that I could go to some country [and] it would help to open doors.
EC: So as a missionary, what have your roles and responsibilities been?
Hudson: As missionaries we don’t pastor churches. We understand our call to be more like the equipping of Ephesians chapter 4. We do preach, but more than that we want to be training preachers and evangelists and missionaries.
EC: Do you anticipate any challenges in being a D.S.?
Hudson: No more so than if I were a man. There will be challenges for sure! I’ve just received nothing but positive affirmation from the other pastors and the people in the churches. I feel like the people in the Romanian Nazarene churches respect me as their servant. I would like my time in ministry here to be one of servanthood and just leading in love and humility.
EC: As a woman in leadership, how do you fit in with the surrounding societies you’ve been ministering in?
Hudson: When we lived in Albania it was a lot different. It’s interesting because during the communist years, men and women were treated equally. They all did military service; they could have university education; they were government officials.
But then after communism, going back to some of their traditional religions having a big influence in Albanian society, women weren’t so encouraged to take places of leadership, especially in the religious sphere of things. We just really feel that that’s one reason why the Church of the Nazarene maybe was in Albania — to be that voice. There are several young women in Albania, and I really feel like the Lord was able to use me to encourage them in their call to ministry. Praise the Lord for that!
EC: Are those women now in ministry?
Hudson: Actually two of them; we were at Albania’s district assembly just two weekends ago, and two of them received their district licenses. One just finished the Spiritual Formation Certificate at EuNC and is continuing on with her studies. So they’re continuing to follow the call that God has put on their life. Really exciting that we got to go back after a few years and see that they’re continuing and they’re faithful.
EC: What are some important milestones on the Romania District?
Hudson: In 2006, we had one of the young women ordained as a deacon on our district, Magdalena Balaban. She is right now the only ordained Romanian on our district, and she’s also the district secretary.
[Relu Cristurean also answered a call to preach and is currently leading in the Sighisoara church.] That was such an answer to prayer, and I think that’s one of the milestones of our district that God is continuing to call a new generation of ministers for Him. And the restart of the theological education program here in Romania, again that’s just amazing. We need that. We need to put all our efforts and energies into it.
EC: What is your vision for the future of the Romania District?
Hudson: Well, this year I feel like we need to really focus on the basics of what it means to be a healthy church – our mission is to make Christlike disciples. Our role here in Romania is to tell others about Jesus and to help them grow in their relationship with Him. And so that carries over into everything that we do in our local churches, any of the district things that we do – it’s all with this focus of telling others about the Lord and then helping people to grow as disciples in Him.
Source: Nazarene Communications Network