When Restoration Church senior pastor Huey Hudson moved to Madison in 1986 to work as an engineer for Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, he estimates that between 6,000-8,000 people called the very small community home.
Over time, he watched as the cotton and soybean fields slowly began disappearing while the number of residents steadily trickled in. He’s one of the few people that currently lives in Madison that has watched it grow through the decades.
Quite a few things have changed for Hudson since he first arrived in Madison, while other things have stayed the same.
After working as an engineer for 25 years, Hudson has now devoted more than a decade to serving as the senior pastor at Restoration Church on Wall Triana Highway, located just a hair south of Highway 72. His family is much bigger too; He’s the father of seven children and 16 grandchildren.
But his love for Madison has never changed.
“We fell in love with this city right away and decided early on that this was going to be our home,” he shared.
Hudson says that his family has worked diligently to build strong, personal relationships with many residents and community leaders in Madison, citing that one of his granddaughters – whose name is Parker – is actually named after former Madison City Schools Superintendent Robby Parker.
“We really think the world of that guy,” Huey shared with a soft chuckle.
Hudson is known and admired by many in our community for the way he intentionally serves and helps those in need, and he leads his church to do the same.
“One of the biggest things we focus on as a church is being community-minded,” he shared. “Restoration Church is a church that wants to make an impact. If our church was suddenly taken away, our community would miss us. And it would be a great undoing if the church was taken away and it didn’t matter to anyone.”
Hudson shared a story about how the church really solidified itself as one that strives to help others after the April 2011 tornados that ravaged parts of North Alabama.
“Our staff had gone through natural disaster relief training just months before, and then we sprang into action immediately after the tornados hit.”
Hudson says they worked tirelessly to provide three meals a day to anyone that needed them for three solid weeks.
“Even without power, we still found ways to provide meals.”
Hudson says that he believes many church facilities are underused, which is why he strives to be a host site for various non-profits that need to use the building from time to time.
“We are always looking for ways to invite people in,” he shared. “Most churches only have their doors open one day a week, but we know we have the ability to open them every day if we can.”
Hudson was first appointed as an associate pastor at Restoration Church back in 1995 as a way of intentionally diversifying the church.
“Bob (the former senior pastor) was passionate about diversity, and not just racially. He wanted the church to look like Heaven, and he envisioned that if our church had a black pastor that other black community members would feel more comfortable coming to our church.”
When Hudson first came on staff at Restoration Church in 1995, he says that the Madison campus (the main campus) had about three white members. By the time he became senior pastor in 2006, the church had grown to 60% black members. He continued to share that now on Sunday mornings the church is filled with roughly 75% black members and 25% white members.
“I believe God gives different churches different missions,” he shared. “And one of the missions of this church is to create healthy diversity within our community.”
Hudson is quick to add though that he isn’t just passionate about racial diversity, but also generational and gender diversity.
He says that Restoration Church has numerous congregations, including Hispanic and Vietnamese. They even have a rabbi for their Jewish congregation.
“Generational diversity is so important as well. We have five generations of members that come here, and we are so grateful for that.”
Finding leadership options for women is also a way that Hudson intentionally works to diversify what’s happening at Restoration Church. This church is under the umbrella of The Foursquare Church, which has its eye on the future, and “creating diversity via avenues and opportunities that embrace diversity, and giving women leadership opportunities is one of those ways,” says Hudson.
“I believe that one of the things God has raised me up to do is to be a bridge-builder between people that are different from each other,” he says. “We have to read The Bible the way it was written while also being intentional about creating a space for allowing people to come as they are.”
He encourages others to understand that tackling issues of diversity can be messy but that it’s “so worthwhile.”
When asked what community members could expect if they visit Restoration Church on a Sunday morning, Hudson says that guests will enjoy “dynamic and lively worship, great speakers who love Jesus, and a focus on teaching a solid word that will help people navigate life.”
In closing, Hudson says that he loves Madison, enjoys watching it continue to prosper and that he really loves what he gets to do, which is lead people to Jesus and love them well.
To learn more about Restoration Church, click here.