Full Project – EFFECT OF PASTORAL COUNSELLING ON CHURCH GROWTH
- BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Churches can benefit greatly from pastoral counseling, according to reports. Counseling as part of Pastoral Counselling has been shown to have a favorable effect on church growth as a whole by Thumma and Travis (1999). This is due to the fact that pastors who engage in counseling are better equipped to meet the spiritual and emotional needs of their congregations. There is also a correlation between pastoral counseling and increased church attendance and participation. Vellenga and Paarlberg (1997) found that church members who sought out pastoral counseling were more faithful than those who did not. This is because therapy contributes to a more cohesive and supportive church body. In addition, financial support for churches grows when pastors offer counseling services. Flores and Poloma (1986) found that church members who received therapy were more likely to make large financial contributions to their church than those who did not. To sum up, pastoral counseling is crucial to the maturation of churches. Pastors that provide counseling services to their parishioners foster an atmosphere that is more amenable to spiritual development, church attendance, participation, and service.
Pastors must be congregational leaders. Though there are other leaders in the church, but pastors must provide leadership in the congregation. Their leadership involves vision and initiative. They see vision of the ministry, communicate the dreams clearly gain consensus and commitment to common objectives, take initiative by setting the pace in ministry action and multiply their Influence by transforming followers into new leaders. Practically proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers by means of preaching and worship as well as evangelism and nurture.
Diligently care for the church members and other persons in the community through pastoral counseling and visitation as well as family ministries and grief support and Consistently lead the church in the achievement of its missions. All the work of a pastor is important. Planning and management are linked to preaching, evangelism and Pastoral Counselling. The work of shepherding is not done for the benefit of the sheep alone. The Lord has chosen the church as a means of spreading the message of salvation to the entire world. The pastor must be committed to feeding, organizing and leading a well-trained group of God’s people to fulfill His will.
The chief administrator of the local congregation is however the pastor. He is responsible for the over-all actions and results in the work of the church. He needs develops skill in planning, overseeing and evaluating work of the church. He should have the ability and the authority to make decisions and to decide upon the best course of actions. From the social perspective of community of faith, proclaiming usually is practiced one-to-one. Caring is often one-one-one or one-to-a few. Pastoral Counselling involves working in a challenging blending of public and private setting. Participative processes are fundamental to effective Pastoral Counselling . Congregationally, leadership can be used as a lens through which we can examine proclaiming, caring and managing. Preaching for instance provides a prime opportunity for leaders. In this role, pastors can articulate the congregation’s vision, model the congregation’s atmosphere and mood, and demonstrate their trustworthiness and credibility or to illustrate from the angle of caring, leadership is shown concretely in the development of support structures and problem-solving procedure.
Leadership in congregational setting is relational; and interactive in its focus. After all, the leader isn’t the only member of the congregation. There are followers, preferences and the full range of ministry demands and circumstances to consider. Leadership isn’t exercised in isolation. Leaders and followers relate to one another; leaders and situations interact. Without strong Pastoral Counselling in the local church, the ministries and people will suffer. We must pay attention to Pastoral Counselling work in local churches. The reasons the importance of Pastoral Counselling are as follows:
First, the problem of the church is the pastor, because it is he whom God has entrusted to lead the sheep. The pastor is responsible to fulfill that calling. While not everyone is born to lead, leadership skills can be developed, articulated and enhanced. It is the pastor’s responsibility to learn and to be trained. The church has all kinds of problems such as conflicts among people or co-workers, but some of them could be avoided and better handled if the Pastoral Counselling has the skills to handle them correctly.
Secondly, concept in the managerial world today have made a great effect on many businesses. The church is not a business, nevertheless, it deals with people, programs and projects as much as any other organization. Knowledge and skills of handling people, abilities to envision the future, methods of setting long range goals and ways of communication are just as important in the church as they are in the business world. Integrating useful material from the managerial world into the ministry of the church will be beneficial.
Thirdly, as some churches are growing larger and larger, pastors are tempted to be as successful as their peers. Sometimes they go beyond their means to satisfy their ambition, and the result is failure. Therefore, it is important that pastoral leaders develop their character along with their ministerial skills.Leadership is indeed a dynamic reciprocal process of personal influence by which a manager or a leader shapes the attitudes and activities of others towards the achievement or attainment of organizational objectives (Abogunrin, 1986). Even before the modern concepts of leadership came into being, the apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul in the Pastorals lists the qualifications for church leaders to ensure sustainable growth and survival (Dairo, 2007). These have remained the model for ages. For any church leader to steer the ship of the church successfully, these qualities must be imbibed. But contemporary experience in Nigeria has shown a marked departure from this Pauline list of qualifications for church leaders which has really affected growth and survival of churches. The level of understanding expected from both the leaders and the followers is missing in most cases. This often results in crises within “the body of Christ”.
There are some common features in various definitions of leadership. It will be presumptuous for anyone to attempt a definition that will satisfy the populace especially regarding Pastoral Counselling . Leadership is nothing if not linked to collective purpose; and the effectiveness of leaders must be judged not by press clippings but by actual social change, measured by intent and by satisfaction of human needs and expectations which on the long term will be visible on the church growth and development.
Oluwasegun (2005) defines leadership as the ability to gain consensus and commitment to common objectives beyond organizational requirements which are attained with experience or contribution and satisfaction on the part of the working group. Leadership could also be defined as the relationship in which one person or the leader influences others to work together willingly on related tasks to attain that which the leader desires. It is a means of direction. Leadership is the ability of management to induce the subordinates to work towards a group’s goals with confidence and keenness. It implies that the leader accepts responsibility for the achievement of the group objectives and it is, therefore, essential for the trust and cooperation from both sides to be evidence all the time (Oluwasegun, 2005). Leadership is an art of getting things done. It can be learnt, improved, developed and perfected. It is the key process of influence and the process always includes a number of key components such as leader and followers, they interact in situations and means of influence which emerge from the leader and from the followers, based on their value system and goals which the leader and the followers seek to achieve (Dairo, 2004).
With respect to Pastoral Counselling , it implies that the church leader gives direction, motivates, reprimands and develops a set objective along with his group andresolves individual or group needs within the church. This is perceived as the only way towards the church growth and survival. In the New Testament it was more often used as Christological title for the exalted Jesus. The results of semasiological and lexicographical investigation of secular Greek indicate an extremely polyvalent spectrum of meaning for the word “church leader”, the basis being he who is the first, who stands at the head of, who leads.
According to the New Testament, the terms “bishop,””pastor,” and “elder” are synonymous. Bishop means “overseer,” and the elders had the responsibility of overseeing the work of the church (Acts 20:17,28; 1Pet5:1-3). “Elder” is the translation of the Greek word presbytes, which means “an old man.” Paul used the word presbytery in (1Tim 4:14), referring not to a denomination, but to the “eldership” of the assembly that ordained Timothy. Elders and bishops (two names for the same office, (cf Titus 1:5,7) were mature people with spiritual wisdom and experience to ensure the survival of the church of God. Also, “pastor” means “shepherd,” one who leads and cares for the flock of God (Vine, 1996:67).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Pastors and other clergy members often provide pastoral counseling to members of their congregations. Issues of faith, spirituality, and connections to God are common topics. The importance of pastoral counseling to the expansion of churches has received more attention in recent years. In particular, many heads of churches think that good pastoral counseling may assist bring in new members and keep old ones around. However, there are a few obstacles to relying on pastoral counseling to expand the church’s membership.
The issue of training is one of the most pressing problems that needs fixing. Pastors and other religious leaders may have extensive knowledge of the Bible and theology, but they may lack formal education in more conventional forms of therapy like CBT and psychoanalysis.
Pastors who want to include pastoral counseling as a means of growing their congregations should have the training they need to be able to effectively help individuals in need. The widespread occurrence of mental health concerns within the church community is another barrier to pastoral counseling in the context of church expansion. Several research suggest that religious people may be more vulnerable to mental health problems like depression and anxiety than atheists and agnostics.
Pastors and other religious leaders who offer counseling services to their congregations must be equipped to deal with a wide range of emotional and mental health challenges, not just spiritual ones. These difficulties are compounded by the need to think about the real world. For instance, many places of worship cannot afford to maintain a full-fledged pastoral counseling service. As a result, pastors may need to rely on laypeople or other outside help to meet the spiritual needs of their congregations. Providing pastoral counseling services may also be complicated by factors including schedule conflicts and worries about client privacy.
Despite these obstacles, pastoral counseling has the potential to be a helpful resource for expanding the church’s reach. Pastors may foster development in their churches by fostering a feeling of community and belonging among their congregations via genuine spiritual support. Furthermore, pastors and other religious leaders may facilitate a healthy and flourishing church community by addressing mental health issues and other obstacles faced by members. Pastors and other religious leaders should take a comprehensive approach to counseling in order to reap the full advantages of pastoral care for the growth of their congregations. This involves combining considerations of spiritual well-being with those of mental health and other more earthbound concerns.
Providing a full range of services for the congregation’s well-being requires collaboration with other members of the church community, such as counselors, psychologists, and other professionals. Pastors and other religious leaders’ passion and perseverance is crucial to the effectiveness of pastoral counseling in the context of church expansion. Church leaders may foster spiritual growth and well-being in their members by acknowledging the special difficulties of pastoral counseling and cooperating to overcome them. Churches can adapt to the changing needs of their communities with the support of pastoral counseling.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine effect of Pastoral Counselling on Church growth.
- To identify the functions and duties of church leaders in a church.
- To identify the other factors militating against church growth and survival.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the effect of Pastoral Counselling on Church growth?
- What are the functions and duties of church leaders in a church?
- What are the other factors militating against church growth and survival?
HO: Pastoral Care do not have a role in church growth and survival
HA: Pastoral Care do have a role in church growth and survival
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
Pastors play a crucial role in the spiritual growth of their congregations, and they may also affect the growth and prosperity of their churches, which is why pastoral counseling is so important to the expansion of the church. Better connections and more active participation in church life are the results of pastoral counseling, which allows pastors to meet the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of their congregations. By fostering open lines of communication and trust, pastors may encourage their congregations to feel more connected to one another and more invested in church life. In turn, this can boost the church’s standing in the community, attracting more people to worship there. Moreover, pastoral counseling may help members through transitions and crises, increasing retention rates and maintaining participation in church life. Churches may invest in the long-term health and growth of their communities by providing pastoral counseling services.
- Findings from this study will educate the church authorities and the general public in Nigeria on what the church leaders need to do or incorporate into the system to ensure growth and survival.
- This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the activities of churches in Nigeria with special focus on the effect of Pastoral Counselling on Church growth.
Limitations of study
- Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
- Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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Full Project – EFFECT OF PASTORAL COUNSELLING ON CHURCH GROWTH