Complete Project -THE IMPACT OF HOUSE FELLOWSHIP SYSTEM ON THE LIFE OF AN INDIVIDUAL CHURCH MEMBER BY USING LIVING FAITH CHURCH IN BENIN CITY, EDO STATE, NIGERIA AS A CASE STUDY.
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This study sought to investigate the impact of house fellowship system on the life of an individual church member by using Living Faith Church in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria as a case study. Field survey design was employed. The sample size was 200 selected from the church members of Living Faith Church, Edo State. Data collected using questionnaires were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Scientists (SPSS). The followings were the objectives of the study: to evaluate the effects of house fellowship on the life of individual church member in Benin City, to determine the reasons why Living Faith members in Benin City attend house fellowship and to investigate the prevalence of house fellowship among the members of the Living Faith Church in Benin City.
1.1 Background to the Study
Biblically, the first Christian churches began with basic house fellowship as in the cases of Priscilla and Aquila (Rom. 16:3). When several home groups became established in a city, they eventually constructed a place of worship. However, evangelism and church growth activities centered in home cell groups. Research shows that most people attend church, not because they understand and accept all the doctrines, but because it offers them a Christian support system. Conversely, most people stop attending church, not because they disbelieve the church’s doctrines, but because they do not find in that church the support they need. And one of the most successful, time-tested Christian support systems is the well-run home cell group. First, the home cell setting gives more fellowship than the regular church setting. In a church situation, people may visit with each other before and after service, but this barely meets the definition of true fellowship which requires sharing, warmth, caring, and healing. Second, the informal and relaxed environments of the home provides for free and open discussion and involvement. Even those not ready to identify with our church feel comfortable in the nonthreatening atmosphere of a home group. Third, the home group meetings in a very personal way care for the three areas in which people who come to worship need help: the inreach in which God reaches into people through His Word, the outreach in which people reach out to people through witness, and the upreach in which people reach up to God through prayer. No method of Bible study is entirely free of subjectivity. The inductive method, however, has less risk of human contamination than other methods. To teach inductively, the group leader need not be a qualified theologian. All that is required is a basic understanding of the principles of inductive inquiry. The deductive method starts with a preset position, such as the secret rapture, or premillennialism, and seeks support from the Bible for this belief. By contrast, the inductive method does not start with a preset position. There are no such positions at all in the inductive method. We do not bring positions to the Bible; we seek them from the Bible. We do not judge the Bible by our teachings; we judge our teachings by the Bible. We study the Bible from the inside out. Most home groups have their sharing time at the beginning of each meeting. This is the time to reach out to one another for help and with help. The sharing of joys and blessings and disappointments is a natural way to begin a meeting. It acts as a relief valve for emotions and tensions, and creates empathy within the group. Sharing time helps group members to grasp what God’s Word is saying about how they should relate to their real-life circumstances. Members also thus share “one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2, NKJV). Sharing, of course, requires trust. A betrayal of trust can undo in one brief moment a relationship that has taken several months to build. The purpose of every home group is to build the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11).
This building process should increase the body in quantity as well as in quality. The group is to be built up numerically by inviting nongroup people into its fellow ship, and it is to be built up spiritually by helping each member to come to maturity in Christ. Both goals go hand in hand. One goal does not precede or negate the other.
Personal growth is enhanced by sharing the gospel with others. Where sharing lacks, spirituality suffers. Prayer is the nutrition of the home group. Praying as a group, in pairs, as individuals, as families, or in small sub groups bonds the group members. When members have special concerns or needs, the group should not only pray for those needs but also assure those persons of continued interest and prayer through the week. During the week a personal call providing such assurance will be a great source of strength. Prayers in a group should be short and meaningful, free from clichés. Make the prayers personal, warm, and specific. Pray with love for one another. Pray by name. Pray for the people you intend to invite. Pray for the people who have come. Pray for the church and the pastor. Pray for the Holy Spirit. Ministry of prayer is a ministry of support and growth. However, in Nigeria, there has not been any particular study that talks about the impact of house fellowship system on the life of an individual church member. Certainly, that is what this study is going to talk about by using Living Faith Church in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria as a case study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The spiritual growth of house fellowship among Christians has been hindered by a lot of ugly developments. Many Christians especially females now see house fellowship as a place where they can feel relaxed and gossip about anybody both within and outside the fellowship. This is a number one factor that brings the church down. People do not see house fellowships as places to discuss about the word of God and even share burden of one another through prayers but they see it as places where they can gossip about one another.
Another hindrance to the growth of house fellowship is the lack of genuine love with one another within the fellowship circle. Some people pretend to love one another but in the real sense, it is the other way round. Also, many people see lack of want as a hindrance for them to attend fellowship. People are faced with the problem of having no money as this makes them not to be attending fellowships and thereby decreasing their spiritual growth. They think to themselves that if I do not have offering why should I go to house fellowship? Forgetting the fact that money is not essential in serving the Lord.
1.3 Research Questions
This research will be carried out to answer the following research questions:
- i) what are the effects of house fellowship on the life of individual church member in Benin City
- ii) what are the reasons why Living Faith members in Benin City attend house fellowship?
iii) what is the prevalence of house fellowship among the members of the Living Faith Church in Benin City?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to investigate the impact of house fellowship system on the life of an individual church member by using Living Faith Church in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria as a case study. The specific objectives include:
- i) to evaluate the effects of house fellowship on the life of individual church member in Benin City
- ii) to determine the reasons why Living Faith members in Benin City attend house fellowship
iii) to investigate the prevalence of house fellowship among the members of the Living Faith Church in Benin City.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study investigates the impact of house fellowship system on the life of an individual church member by using Living Faith Church in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria as a case study and therefore would benefit churches and religious leadersto enable them to determine the various problems associated with setting up house fellowship young Christians will also find it beneficial to understand what being born again Christians is all about. It will add to academic knowledge in the area of religion studies.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study will be carried out among the members of Living Faith Church in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. Information collected from these workers shall be subjected to further analysis and the results got from it shall be final.
1.7 Limitation of the study
The study will be faced with a lot of challenges and one it the problem of finance. There is not going to be enough funds to print questionnaires and to also transport the researcher to meet the desired respondents. Another one is time; the researcher is currently busy with the demand of his academics. A lot of assignments are available for the researcher to do and coupled with his desire to read and learn at the same time. These are the major challenges of this study.
1.8 Definitions of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
House fellowship: House fellowship can be defined as a meeting in a house, an office, market place, etc where believers, unbelievers and people at different levels of spiritual maturity gather at an agreed and particular day and time of the week to share the Word of God.
Church member: A person who manifests devotion to a deity congregant – a member of a congregation (especially that of a church or synagogue) a member of a religion that expresses ecstatic fervor parishioner – a member of a parish.
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