Women play a prominent role in Nazarene pastoral ministry in India and across South Asia.
Some are ordained elders; one serves as a district superintendent. Others are local- or district-licensed pastors. Many who pastor have responsibility for more than one local church. Still others support local church ministries alongside their pastoring husbands.
To invest in these women in ministry, the Eurasia Region is hosting a Women’s Conference in Hyderabad, India, immediately following the upcoming regional conference in January 2020.
“Many times, being in India or in a South Asian country, women don’t share as much,” said Shradha Saraf, co-pastor at Chikhli Church of the Nazarene in Central Maharashtra, India. “We [Annemarie Snijders and I] had been thinking that there should be a place where women can be out of their home atmosphere and feel welcome to share. We felt that women needed a place where they can refresh their minds and boost their spirit. We are happy that the conference will be able to offer this.”
Saraf and Snijders, who previously was a church planter in the Netherlands before serving as missional assistant to the Eurasia Region director, are part of a seven-woman planning team organizing the Women’s Conference, January 29-30. They hope women already attending the regional conference will stay two more days.
Saraf explained that the conference theme is “Women as History Makers.” Speakers and workshops will center on the questions: “What does it mean to be women in ministry?” “What does the Bible say about Women in Ministry?” and “Is ministry for men only, or are we just as much called as the men?”
“Every lady, whether she is in a ministry or in a supporting role as a minister’s wife, is making a history by standing firm in the ministry or by standing firm next to their husbands,” said Saraf.
Because not every woman’s ministry calling takes the same shape, the conference will have workshops that are focused on the different callings. During the two days of the Women’s Conference, the participants will be able to attend workshops that best suit their calling.
“Each day, there will be two ministry tracks with regards to the workshops,” said Saraf. “One will aim at women in ministry. Those who are – or would like to become – an elder, deacon or missionary in the Church of the Nazarene. The other will be for women who are in a supporting role in ministry. For example, district superintendents’ and pastors’ wives, or even for women who support their pastor in the local church through prayer or other roles.”
The Women’s Conference is just six months away. Shradha and the committee have been praying since the very first day for all the women who will attend.
“We pray that this may be a place that women will come, have a time just for them and be spiritually refreshed,” said Saraf.
This article was written by Nicole Almeida and previously published in the July 2019 edition of Where Worlds Meet.