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This research study is to carefully examine The Role of the Church in building a Healthy Community a case study of Rock Foundation Church ‘REFUGE Community Centre, Iyana Mortuary, Abeokuta. It was done to reawaken the church to its responsibility of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world that Christ calls it. The researcher finding revealed that the unrest being witnessed in the society was due to the misplaced priority of the church, hence the motivation to finding a lasting solution to it. The research method and information was gathered from textbooks, Journals and Articles, Encyclopedias, Bible Dictionaries and internet. Also questionnaire was administered and oral interview were conducted. The researcher concluded that for any community to be healthy the Church must play a vital role recommended by the Founder of Church – Jesus Christ and practiced by the first church. Recommendations were made by the researcher that churches should use its financial resources to pioneer different faith-based institutions like clinics, hospital, hostels, etc instead of expending so much in church building at the detriment of building a community, knowing fully well that if the community is distressed, then the peace of the church is not guaranteed.




1.1    Background to the Study

The role of the modern church in the life of the 21st-century believers is critical because it fills a void only the church can. If a car needs fixing, it is brought to the mechanic shop. If someone is sick, the health center or hospital is the best place to seek medical attention. Church is where people should go if they are in need of a “spiritual fix.” The church is really a hospital for sinners and not an exclusive club for saints.

Regardless of what is said about churches, people expect that their life problems can be addressed in some fashions or forms. With all the weight and pressures of their world weighing down on their minds, people expect the church to provide Bible-based answers that no other institution can provide and since community is made up of people, then whatever the church does to a community, it does to enhance the livelihood of its people.

D.J Bosch in his work remarked that “Today much emphasis is placed on the role of the church as a transformation and change agent and rightly so”1. However, this is not a new concept or understanding of the role of the church. Throughout the ages, as the study has shown, in spite of other ecclesiologies, that church has been involved in the life of humankind, in making of nationhood, building of culture, structuring of society with its functions and institutions and in shaping the form and quality of political systems.

The Church of Jesus Christ has normally understood the transformation of society to be an essential part of its mission task. While the focal point of missions has been to communicate the Good News of Christ, to call men and women to repentance and faith, and to baptize them into the church, it has also involved a process of teaching them to ‘observe all things’ that Jesus commanded. Christians have assumed that this obedience would lead to the transformation of their physical, social and spiritual lives. Sometimes this has been well done, sometimes poorly done. But missionaries have always implicitly assumed that the reception and the living out of the gospel would begin to transform both individual and community life. And more often than not, specific steps were taken and institutions were established to aid this process. While we recognize today that the missionaries often envisioned a model of the transformed community that looked suspiciously like the ones they knew in their own cultures, there is no doubt that this transforming dimension was an essential aspect of mission.

1.2    Statement of the Problem

Observation shows that the church, which is the Body of Christ has lost focus on one of its primary assignments, especially which Jesus was found occupied with during His earthly ministry, which is impacting lives of the people. The church is now more focused on building physical structures that bring no value to the community that housed them except that they create more problems. For instance, the history of formal education in Nigeria cannot be completed without mentioning the impact of the church.

This can be captured well with these examples looking back to the eighteenth, early nineteenth and twenty first centuries: The Church Missionary Society (CMS) Grammar School in Bariga a suburb of Lagos State, is the oldest secondary school in Nigeria, founded on 6th June 1859 by the Church Missionary Society. For decades it was the main source of African clergymen and administrators in the Lagos Colony. The seed funding for Church Missionary Society (CMS) Grammar School, Lagos was made possible by James Pinson Davies who in April 1859 provided Babington Macaulay with £50 (equivalent of ₦1.34 million as of 1914) to buy books and equipment for the school. With the seed funding Macaulay opened CMS (Church Missionary Society) Grammar School on June 6, 1859. In 1867, Davies contributed another £100 (₦2.68 million as of 1914) toward a Church Missionary Society (CMS) Grammar School Building Fund. Thus the first secondary school to be established in Nigeria was established by the church and funded by the church and not the student. In other words, western education was birth in Nigeria for evangelistic purposes.

The Bible also recorded that Jesus “went about doing good…” (Acts 10:34).

Philip’s arrival in Samaria turned the city into a happy arena such that the Bible has this to say about Philip’s influence “So there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8).

Today, among the top ten most expensive Universities in Nigeria, is a church owned Babcock University Ilisan Remo which ranked fourth with the tuition fees ranging between #502, 000 and #3, 100 000. On the 5th position is Bowen University owned by the Nigeria Baptist Convention with tuition fee ranging between #470, 000 and #1,850, 000. After this is Benson Idahosa University (formerly Christian Faith University), then Covenant University owned and run by Living Faith Church International (a.k.a Winners Chapel), this is followed by Crawford University and Caleb University respectively. It may interest you to note that church owned Universities formed the larger percentage of the top ten most expensive universities in Nigeria having six out of ten which forms 60% of the total..

It is very disheartening to note that the larger population of the members of the churches whose hard-earned money went into building these institutions cannot afford to send their children to these schools. This is just a few of the many things that the church is busy doing neglecting the primary assignment of reaching out to the people, downtrodden and the less privileged as demonstrated by the first church in the Acts of Apostles and the very many missionaries that have come to Africa and especially, Nigeria.

These research work is not targeted at attacking, insulting or condemning any church, because none of these things are out rightly bad but that the church focus should be geared towards making impacts on the society and especially their immediate community.

Every church should have a place in their finances and programmes for their immediate community as the Bible emphasizes that the earnest expectation of the creature awaits the children of God to manifest, the church is therefore awaited by their host community to be influenced and affected by them. Once Christ has promised to build His Church, then the church is also expected to build the community. .

1.3    Purpose of the Study

The specific purpose of this study is to investigate and discover the secret of what it takes a church to build a healthy community.

However, the general purposes are:

  1. To examine the history of Rock Foundation Church ‘refuge’ – Community Center, Iyana Mortuary Abeokuta in relation to building a healthy Community.
  2. To identify the roles of church in building a healthy community
  3. To determine the impact of church within the community.
  4. To proffer possible solution to the problem of focusing too much on the physical structures at the expense of participating on building a virile community

1.4    Significance of the Study

This study is aimed at reminding Christians of:

  1. How church began
  2. The steps the church fathers took in ensuring that their immediate communities are positively affected
  3. The strength of the Church in building a healthy community.

The study will also serve as enlightenment for bible students and would be church leaders on the need to revert to the Apostles methods in regard to the church participation in building a healthy community and as a record for future reference.

1.5    Delimitation of the Study

This study will consider an appraisal of church roles in building a healthy community with emphasis on ‘Refuge’ – Community Centre of Rock Foundation Church, Iyana Mortuary, Abeokuta, which is the church of our case study.


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