Full Project – THE INFLUENCE OF LIVING FAITH CHURCH ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATION IN AKWA IBOM STATE
The beginnings of living faith church can be traced back to May 1983 when David Oyedepo at age 26 claims to have had an 18 – hour vision from God. In this vision, God spoke to him saying, “Now the hour has come to liberate the world from all oppressions of the devil, through the preaching of the word of faith, “and I am sending you to undertake this task”. Two years later the church began to operate with four members, on December 11th, 1983. And in 2014, the church is in 65 countries. Living faith church world wide (also known as winners chapel) is a Pentecostal Church that went into the establishment of schools early. Therefore this research is set to examine “The Influence of Living Faith Church on the Development of Education in Akwa Ibom State”. In order to arrive at this, the researcher employed distinct research methods, such as distributing questionnaires and the empirical method. The findings showed that living faith church incorporated among its mandate the establishment of schools as a goal, and as much as possible were ever it exists. This study was intended to assess the influence of Churches on the development of education. This study was guided by the following objectives; to examine the influence of Churches on the development of Education; To examine the educational activities of Churches in Nigeria. To identify the factors that can contribute to rapid development in education in Nigeria. The study employed the descriptive and explanatory design; questionnaires and interview were applied in order to collect data. Primary and secondary data sources were used and data was analyzed using the correlation statistical tool at 5% level of significance which was presented in frequency tables and percentage. The respondents under the study were 50 respondents. The study majorly focuses on the influence of Churches on the development of education. The study findings revealed that there is a significant influence of Churches on the development of education in Nigeria. In Akwa Ibom State, the church had established about 7 schools in different locations. The schools not only complement in the educational development of the state, it serves as Employment Avenue for workers. The work concluded that, while living faith church’s schools are not presently for the poor as compared with the earlier mission schools, the church can do better in realigning with the basic philosophy of church involvement in education by making it affordable to the nearest of the people.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Living Faith Church, also known as Winners’ Chapel, is a prominent Christian denomination in Nigeria. Founded by Bishop David Oyedepo in 1981, the church has played a significant role in the development of education in the country. The church operates a network of schools, including Covenant University, Landmark University, and several secondary and primary schools.
In the 21st century, it is no doubt that education is a vehicle that drives every society towards development and healthy living. In a nut shell, healthy living here has to do with living above the level of ignorance, illiteracy and poverty. In a country like Nigeria for example where there are over 170 million inhabitants, it has been observed that in some areas like in Akwa Ibom State, some people are still far from being educated which is not in the best interest of the country if it must transit into a developed society. Education, they say “is light and failure to live and work in this light, could promote a major set back for her country, as the growth of her economy could be tampered wing to the citizens who are not well enlightened. Osokoya in his article, “education and National development”1 the Nigerian perspectives opines that all schools at various levels are expected to educate future leaders and develop the high level of technical capacities needed for economic growth and development.2
However, while the missionaries brought with them education in the 19th century as a medium to evangelize Nigeria for Christianity,3 it has been observed that the South Western part of the country which comprises the Yoruba speaking people were enthusiastic and made good use of this golden opportunity. This in one way have contributed to the right level of industrialization and the establishment of a good number of schools at various levels of learning in this culture zone.
While the government took over the responsibility of the education of her citizens from the church, the Christian church has not relented in the establishment of schools in nufereon. Today in Akwa Ibom State, Living Faith Church have established a good number of primary and secondary schools as well as tertiary institutions in Nigeria and extended this endeavour to promote the development of education which will bring about the growth of the Nigerian society. Hence, it is against the background of this study that the influence of living faith church on the development of education in Akwa Ibom State would be explored.
One of the key ways in which Living Faith Church has influenced education is through its emphasis on quality education and moral values. The church believes in providing holistic education that combines academic excellence with character development. This approach has helped to shape the educational landscape in Nigeria, with many other institutions adopting similar principles.
The influence of Living Faith Church on education can also be seen in its commitment to infrastructure development. The church has invested heavily in building state-of-the-art facilities, including classrooms, libraries, laboratories, and sports facilities. This has created a conducive learning environment for students and has raised the standard of education in the communities where the church operates.
Furthermore, Living Faith Church has made significant contributions to research and innovation in education. Covenant University, for example, has been recognized for its research output and has received numerous grants and awards. The church’s emphasis on research and innovation has helped to foster a culture of academic excellence and has contributed to the overall development of education in Nigeria.
A global study and research on Churches is an on-going assignment because of its impact on the religious, political and socio-economic life of the people. A survey of the available number of Churches in Nigeria as shown that they are emerging daily in the nooks and crannies of the country. The emergence of Churches is daily challenging the existing Mainline and Aladura Churches in national development. It has therefore become a fundamental concern for scholars of Church History, History and Sociology in Nigerian Universities to devote much time to study such churches. Essien (1998) opines that “this situation calls for continuous research of their forms, the socio-religious and economic conditions that necessitate their emergence and their relevance to the social life of their adherents and to the society at large”. This has necessitated the need for this study on the Influence of living faith church on the development of education in Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria.
Pastor David Oyedepo in Ilorin started Living Faith Church with about 48 members in 1980 and within nine months of its existence, membership rose to about 128. He eventually established the Living Faith Outreach Centre in May, 1981.Pastor Oyedepo then relocated to Kaduna. It was from Kaduna that he went to Lagos in September 1989 before he moved to Ota, Ogun state which is now regarded as Cananland and International headquarters of the church. The church has over three hundred branches in Nigeria alone (Opoola, 2010). The church building at Ota is assumed to be the biggest auditorium in Nigeria seating fifty thousand and four hundred congregation as at September 2000. Living Faith Church has however contributed to education development in Nigeria in several ways (Omotoye, 2006).
Western education was introduced to Nigeria by the Christian missionaries in the 19th century. It was a strategy adopted by the early missionaries to get converts into Christianity. The Living Faith Church went into the establishment of schools early, unlike some other Churches that ventured into education. The Living Faith Church has to its credit a conglomerate of Nursery, Primary, Secondary and Universities. The nursery and primary schools are under the name Kingdom Heritage while the Secondary section is named Faith Academy. These schools are found in all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. The first University of the Church was named Covenant University and was established in Ota in 2002.The second University was named Landmark and was established in Omu-Aran, the native town of Pastor David Oyedepo in 2010. The Universities as also complemented the efforts of Federal and State Governments in providing admission to many applicants who are seeking admission to the Universities in Nigeria. We also believe that that the missionary orientation of the schools would minimize cultism and moral decadence in the Nigerian Universities. Apart from providing jobs for teaming Nigerian populace, scholarships are usually provided by Pastor Oyedepo for indigent students, most especially in the Covenant and Landmark universities. He was once quoted saying that “All school age children, not in school, due to inability of parents, will be fully taken care of by the Church”.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The living faith church international is one Pentecostal church which as not long from it’s establishing undertaken the establishmentof schools early enough in Nigeria and in Akwa Ibom State in particular. However, there is a contrast presently between the primary reasons for the establishment of schools by the missionaries and the schools by Christian churches to day. In the early days of the Christian church in Nigeria, schools were established for the purpose of evangelization and development but on the contrary, today the Christian church is approaching it from the angle of personal benefits. While the general overseer of the Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo received a vision from God to raise future leaders that will alleviate poverty from the nation, yet the schools established by him through his church are unaffordable by the poor in the society including the children of the average members of the church whose offerings have been used for the establishment of such schools.
Further more, as opposed to what obtained in the early days of the missionaries in the country, became a problem whereby the schools established by these (Pentecostal) churches close their door against those who do not su7bscribe to their doctrines. It is also observed that these schools established by the Living Faith Church impose their doctrines on the students of thee school. As a result of this problem, stated above there is a severe misconception about any church venturing into the establishment of schools at the present and in Nigeria as such the present endeavour of the mission of the churches, the churches run counter to which is evangelization and development. Without bias as epitomized by the ministry of Christ in the suspecs.
The Churches was introduced at a time when Nigerians were experiencing economic depression, poverty, un-employment, corruption and sicknesses. The education sector is in the poorest state. These are socio-economic problems being witnessed in Nigeria because of bad leadership in the country. The Living Faith Church has been able to provide schools that offer quality education services from Nursery to tertiary level nationwide. The cost of education in Nigeria is very high. Odumuyiwa (2006) observed in his study that the tuition fees being paid in the Christian Universities are too exorbitant and beyond the reach of the common man in the society. He opines “A situation in which churches establish private universities, charge exorbitant fees should be replaced with technical colleges that can be maintained within the resources of the church. However, this study is examining the influence of Churches on the development of Education.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the influence of Churches on the development of Education
- To examine the educational activities of Churches in Nigeria.
- To identify the factors that can contribute to rapid development in education in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the influence of Churches on the development of Education?
- What are the educational activities of Churches in Nigeria?
- What are the factors that can contribute to rapid development in education in Nigeria?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- The outcome of this study will educate the general public on the influence of Churches on education development in Nigeria.
- It will be a useful guide for the management and the authorities of Living Faith Church Worldwide and their academic institutions on how to improve on their services in a bid to contribute to educational development in the nation.
- 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 on the Influence of living faith church on the development of education in Akwa Ibom State will cover all the educational activities and contributions of Living Faith Church A.K.A Winners Chapel.
LIMITATION 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.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following terms will be defined in the course of this work such as: influence, development and education.
Influence: The term influence, according to new English dictionary, can be defined as the power to change or affect someone or something. Also it can be seen as the power to course changes, without directly forcing them to happen.
Influence according to vocabulary dictionary, is the power to have an important effect on someone or something.
Development: New English Dictionary defines development as he active placement of new ideas to practical problem. Development can also mean the process of developing growth and direct change.
Education: Education according to oxford dictionary is the process of facilitating learning or the acquiring of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits. Education can also be seen as the art or process of imparting knowledge, skill or judgments.
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Full Project – THE INFLUENCE OF LIVING FAITH CHURCH ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATION IN AKWA IBOM STATE