Full Project – IMPACT OF PASTOR’S RELATIONSHIP ON CHURCH GROWTH
This study was carried out to examine Impact of pastor’s relationship on church growth. Other objectives were to identify the functions and duties of church leaders in a church and also to identify the other factors militating against church growth and survival. The research design adopted for this work is cross –sectional survey and descriptive analysis on a randomly selected sample of the different categories of church leaders (Bishops, Pastors and Priests). A total of one hundred and twenty well-structured questionnaires were distributed among the principal leaders. The descriptive statistics was used to analyse the research questions while chi-square was employed to test the null hypotheses. Findings from the study reveals that majority of the respondents are of the opinion that church leaders plays a vital role in ensuring growth and survival of the church. The finding from the study also reveals that a church will grow if church leaders are actively involved in the affairs of the church.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
One of the most crucial ingredients that determines the effectiveness of an organization is leadership. Because this is true in business, volunteer and religious organizations, leadership has been widely studied all over the world. In one of the most comprehensive studies of leadership, Bass and Stogdill Handbook of leadership were reviewed in over 1,000 page volume. Despite its massive nature, the work fails to name all the articles on leadership written before 1990.
Within the church of Jesus Christ, pastor’s relationship is a vital factor. Many churches flourish or flounder based on the type of pastor’s relationship provided. Peter Wagner, one of the leading authors in church growth contends that pastor’s relationship is a key to church growth. Wagner’s assertion is supported by frequent commits of lay persons giving credit to pastors when their churches thrive or blaming the pastor when their church is not doing well. Giving the importance of pastor’s relationship , one may then ask, what are the ingredient that can enable one to be a pastoral leader?
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 pastor’s relationship. 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. Pastor’s relationship involves working in a challenging blending of public and private setting. Participative processes are fundamental to effective pastor’s relationship . 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 pastor’s relationship in the local church, the ministries and people will suffer. We must pay attention to pastor’s relationship work in local churches. The reasons the importance of pastor’s relationship 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 pastor’s relationship 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 Pastor’s relationship . 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 Pastor’s relationship , 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
The advancement of the work of the kingdom has a heavy dependence on the leadership, any problems being witnessed in the church of God today are traceable to the challenges in Pastor’s relationship . Even in our contemporary times, there have been reported cases on stunted growth and other growth –related challenges in the church of God as a result of challenges in Pastor’s relationship .
It became a major problem when the key actor, the pastor, who is one of the major solution to the overall growth of the local church, is also waiting for solution to come from someone else; not knowing that every aspect of the church majorly is molded after the type of pastor’s relationship that is on ground. It is from this problem that this research work was conducted as a modest contribution to the postulations on the issue of pastor’s relationship especially as it attracts the growth of the local church.According to Dairo (2008), many Churches in Nigeria are characterized with false teaching, preconceived ideas and human-formed regulations which have too often undermined the Holy Spirit’s specification and has militated greatly against church growth and survival. According to Apostle Paul, church leader must be kind of man that can carry the followers along. All church leaders may not possess these qualities in thesame measure but a leader must have these quality attributes to a degree that is noticeable in his life to ensure sustainable growth. If a man isknown to be harsh instead of being gentle, intemperate instead of being temperate, disgraceful instead of being respectable, he has disqualified himself (Bible Org. 2004).
The work of Pastor’s relationship is a noble task. Suchan office needs the right kind of people to serve. Accumulation of material wealth, by capitalizing on the “gross ignorance” of the people about the teaching of the Bible on wealth by church leaders as also limited growth and survival of many churches because of the increased awareness of these dubious strategies. However, the researcher is examining Effect of Pastor’s relationship on Church growth.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine effect of Pastor’s relationship 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.
- What is the effect of Pastor’s relationship 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: Church leaders do not have a role in church growth and survival
HA: Church leaders do have a role in church growth and survival
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- 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 Pastor’s relationship 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 – IMPACT OF PASTOR’S RELATIONSHIP ON CHURCH GROWTH