Full Project – DISCIPLESHIP: THE MISSING LINK IN TODAY’S CHURCH

Full Project – DISCIPLESHIP: THE MISSING LINK IN TODAY’S CHURCH

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ABSTRACT

The study is titled “DISCIPLESHIP : THE MISSING LINK IN TODAY’S CHURCH “. Many researchers recognise the influence of effective Discipleship on the total health of any church and the spiritual growth of members into maturity. The study adopted both qualitative and quantitative research methodology. The qualitative research consisted of 20 in-depth interviews with some church workers, ministers and church leaders of Foursquare Gospel Church Ijeshatedo Zonal Headquarters formed the population of the study.  The quantitative research was gathered using structured questionnaires. 150 questionnaires were sent to 20 churches within the area of jurisdiction of the research and 105 responses were received. The response rate was 75%, upon which the results and conclusion of this study were based.

 The results of the questionnaire revealed an average level of usage of discipleship programme in the churches investigated. With regards to beliefs that are expected of a true disciple of Christ, 70.7% of most respondent said the statements were completely true for them. On practices that disciples should display, 43.03% of most respondents said they were involved in one form of spiritual practices or another. When asked on the virtues that disciples should release to others, a huge 76.7% of most respondents said they are fully engage in these. The in-depth interviews revealed that church member assumed that attending 2-3 services weekly is enough to help them grow into maturity. The church workers/ministers assumed that being in God’s service is a form of discipleship as most were not frequent to participate in the small group meeting that could help them grow spiritually. Interviewed church leaders felt they were doing enough discipleship programmes to help their members grow spiritually. Most of these leaders believed that organising programmes is a form of discipleship, while there was apparent neglect of teaching on doctrines that grow members. The interview revealed that church leaders who were disciplers did better to help members grow spiritually and vice-versa.

The discipleship programmes well instituted in a church have positive effect on the rate of growth in that church. There exist a significance difference between churches headed by leaders who are disciplers and those without disciplers. There is a positive and direct relationship between discipleship programme instituted in the church and the rate of growth observed and experienced.

It is recommended that church leaders should develop a well organised and coordinated discipleship programme as process that help converts to grow into maturity. It is also recommended that leaders spend quality time (at least 60%) to teach their congregation, and mentor a few under-leaders who would assist to fan the embers of discipleship in the church. It is recommended  that further research be carried out into specific churches  to discover the depth of their discipleship practices and proffer solution that are specific  relevant to assist in the building of a healthy church that will draw men to Christ.

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0 Introduction 

1.1       Background to the Study

Christian mission is not simple about the multiplication of the church, it is about the discipling of the nations (Matt:28;19-20). This means that the task of winning souls must be balanced by an emphasis of what is to happen to the souls after they have been won.

Over the years, the researchers has been carrying this burden in his heart because some churches have neglected their discipleship ministry and leave the new convert half baked and shallow in spiritual growth. Gunter Krallmann noted in his book Mentoring for Mission that;

Jesus is our great model of discipling. The foundation of Jesus Christ’s mentoring of the twelve was laid through building blocks like the following; His total obedience to God, His intercession for them, His deed of love for His follower, His anointing, His trust in God’s work in them, His apparent witness and His primary concern for character development (Akin-John 2007).

In fact, discipleship is a process that should be occurring throughout the believer’s life. A Disciple always follows his master’s life once a disciple, always a disciple. Also disciple is a lifestyle. Believers are Christ’s disciples and this Christian life calls them to learn and live like Him.

This requires significant changes in the way they think and live. True discipleship takes all of Christ’s teaching and implement them into their lives in such a way that their liven in such a way that they live like Christ did. But this is not so in the church of today. In his book, Understanding the Concept and Condition for Discipleship, GbileAkanmi wrote:” if we must be joint-heir of God together with Jesus Christ, we must become like Jesus Christ, the first born, otherwise, that will be contrary to God’s righteous demand. Discipleship is a fundamental principle on which other rest because it has the heart of Christ’s purpose for the church.

Moreover, it is important to observe that some churches in the present day society have replaced their discipleship ministry with other activities such as evangelism, crusades, diverse prayer programmes, night vigils, empowerment programmes, conferences, seminar, to mention just a few, Robert Coleman explain the great commission in the following way:

The Great Commission is not merely to go to the ends of the earth preaching the gospel (Mark 16:15) nor to baptize a lot of converts into the name of the triune God, nor to teach them the precepts of Christ, but to “make disciple” to build people like themselves who were so constrained by   the commission of Christ that they not only follow but also lead others to follow His way.

The urgency of discipleship grows as believers understand the heavy damage the church is suffering from the Lack of God’s truths into His people. Jesus commanded believers to make disciples. Paul has compactly given believers the plan of discipleship. It is not complicated but crucial. But, remember that the believers success or failure depends on how well they follow this pattern.

Hence, the need to understand and return to the fundamental principles of discipleship and it effect on church growth from the biblical stand point, because this is the principles on which all others found their starting point and it is at the heart of the purpose of the church as seen in Jesus  commands to His disciples( Matt 28:19-20)

Therefore, the researcher, using Foursquare Gospel Church Ijeshatedo Zonal Headquarters as a case study, went into findings and came up with some suggestion and recommendations to correct this inconsistency in the contemporary church and be able to share the burden of Christ for the world

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Discipleship has become one of the greatest challenges facing the present day church. The believers service’s in today’s church no longer have much effect as expected in the life of growing Christians and the society. There have also been great deficiencies in the lives of those who profess to be members of the body of Christ producing much of unwanted characters and attitudes that makes one doubt if truly they are born again. This research work is therefore carried out with a view of examining the present structures of discipleship and its effects on church growth and makes suggestion as to raising the standard. The question the researcher needed to investigate and proffer solution to in this research work are:

  1. What is the discipleship strategy of Foursquare Gospel Church Ijeshatedo Zonal Headquarter?
  2. What are the challenges of discipleship in Foursquare Gospel Church Ijeshatedo Zonal Headquarter?
  3. What are the effects of lack of discipleship in the church?

1.3         Purpose of the Study

  1. To evaluate the effects of discipleship training programmes on the spiritual growth of members of the church.
  2. To find out why discipleship programmes on the decrease in the present day church.
  3. To create awareness of the significant of discipleships as a tool for church growth.
  4. To recommend to the church the biblical principles of discipleship as demonstrated by biblical leaders of various eras.
  5. To help the body of Christ, especially Foursquare Gospel Church Ijeshatedo Zonal Headquarters to rise up to the task in relation to the subject matter.
1.4 HYPOTHESIS

The Hypothesis to be tested is:

Ho1 Discipleship programme in churches do not enhance the rate of church growth.

Ha1   Discipleship programme in churches enhance the rate of church growth.

The Second Hypothesis is:

Ho2 There is no significant difference between Churches headed by people who are disciplers (with teaching gifts) and those headed by people who are not disciplers (with no teaching gifts).

Ha2 There is a significant difference between Churches headed by people who are disciplers (with teaching gifts) and those headed by people who are not disciplers (with no teaching gifts).

The Third Hypothesis is:

Ho3 There is no relationship between discipleship programmes instituted in the churches and the total growth observed and experienced.

Ha3 There is relationship between discipleship programmes instituted in the churches and the total growth observed and experienced.

 

1.5         Significance of the Study

This research is worthy of consideration, and the study is so important for the following:

  • This research work will aid the church especially Foursquare Gospel Church Ijeshatedo Zonal Headquarters to review and where necessary improve their discipleship programmes in growing mature believers with Christ-like characters.
  • It will help disciples to receive the principle of spiritual multiplication and make believers to be mature in their Christian work and walk
  • The study will help to prepare the youth and others arms of the church in getting laborers for the end time harvest
  • It will also help believers, especially in Foursquare Gospel Church Ijeshatedo Zonal Headquarters to know, appreciate and achieve the purpose for which they are called as members and leaders
  • The study will serve as a source of material for the seminarians and future research into areas related to the subject matter.
  • This study will also be useful for the purpose of conducting seminars, conferences and discipleship programmes that will lead to the further expansion of the Zonal Headquarters and the body of Christ in general.

 1.5 Delimitation of the Study

  The topic under consideration in this research is “Discipleship: The Missing Link in Today’s Church”. This study is strictly restricted to Foursquare Gospel Church Ijeshatedo Zonal Headquarters, although the result can be applicable to the church in general.

  1.6.       Research Procedure

This section of the research work deals with the method and procedure used in carrying out the research work. It describes the method of data analyses, the population of the study, samples and sampling methods.

The population used for this research work includes people in leadership position in the body of Christ (church) and these include: pastors, church council, head of ministries (youth, music, evangelism and so on), deacons, deaconesses and church members.

The main instrument used in carrying out this research work is questionnaire. Purposeful sampling techniques was used to samples pastors, head of ministries deacons. Deaconess and church members for this purpose. The use of this technique became necessary because of the large number of probable respondents.

The researcher conducted a survey of related literatures such as text books, commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, newspapers, magazine and Christian journals. The survey was done in the following libraries.

1       LIFE Theological Seminary Library Ikorodu

2      The researcher’s personal library

3      Library of friends

The researcher also made great use of the internal facilities in which the appropriate references were made where applicable. And some information was collected from personal observation and verbal contribution of the researcher with some church members.

1.7 Limitation of the Study                         

The major impediment that confronted the research work is lack of proper record keeping by Foursquare Gospel Church Ijeshatedo Zonal Headquarters. Also, difficulty was encountered in retrieving the questionnaires. Moreover, some leaders and members served with questionnaires were hoarding relevant information. In spite of these limitations, the research work still achieves its purpose by consulting other sources for adequate information and collection of data.

1.8 Definition of Terms 

Church

All Christian considered as a single body. A building set apart or consecrated for public worship or religious service.

Disciple

A person who has made a commitment to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior who is learning and following His teachings

Discipleship

This is the process whereby a converted person learn at the feet of Christ with the aim of practicing and doing what he learns until his lifestyle and habit conforms to God’s standard.

Follow Up

To ensure that a new convert is permanently established in Christ.

Leader

A leader is a person who direct or controls a team, organization, country etc. In biblical context, a leader is a person with a God given capacity and responsibility to influence a specific group of God’s people towards His purpose for the growth of the church.

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