THE EFFECT OF DENOMINATIONAL PRACTICES ON THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH


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THE EFFECT OF DENOMINATIONAL PRACTICES ON THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH

PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS ON THE EFFECT OF DENOMINATIONAL PRACTICES ON THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH


ABSTRACT

 

 

Over the years, various denominations have evolved from various Church tradition. However, denomination as a concept is said to be religious subgroup that follow some basic religious doctrines. On the basis of this research, some nagging problems arose which makes the growth of the Church seems hindered and these include but not limited to leadership problem, economic, and social problems among others. This study therefore examines denominational practices and its significant effects on Church growth. Also, it examines the relationship between Church growth and Church health. The methods implored here are historical, phenomenological and interpretative approaches. In the course of this research, it was discovered that Christianity which was introduced in Nigeria over 150 years ago has grown over the years to claim an estimate of between 40% of the population. It is worth noting that Christianity is a major religious tradition in Nigeria and has significant impact in lives and culture of people. The work therefore recommends that the Church is the theatre of the Holy Spirit irrespective of denominational differences. Hence, people should seek the Holy Spirit and also growth of the Church should not be based on orthodoxy, rather on orthopraxis to change Nigeria for better just as this research helps us find out that at its best, the Church Growth Movement (C.G.M) and the Church Health Movement (C.H.M) grew out of missional understanding of the Church.


CHAPTER ONE

 

 

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

 

 

1.1 Introduction

 

 

A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity. 1 It also refers to as a congregation of Christians in a region who have united themselves to work and worship together. They have a pattern of organizational work that they are to do, and funds they are to do this work. In the Bible, the Christians were not just members of the universal body of all saved people, but they associated themselves into local churches or denominations. It is a group of congregation that are joined together under some governing body that effectively serves to distinguish and divide them from other congregations.

 

Christianity as a noun connotes Christian faith, religion, being a Christian character or the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ Christianity refers also to the history of Christianity that is a history of salvation.2 It is a way people or ethnic group exhibits or practices its Christian faith. Christianity in Nigeria has come of age having metamorphosed through different phases since the early missionaries stepped their feet on the Nigerian soil in the 15th century. The Christian enterprise commenced in Nigeria as far back as 1842 with an early Portuguese missionary expedition to the kingdom of Benin in the Midwest of present day Nigeria. It was the Oba (king) who had requested for the missionaries from Portugal as a follow up to earlier trade contacts with Portuguese traders. The missionaries came but were unable to make any impact on the people of the Benin kingdom because at the time of their arrival, the kingdom was enmeshed in perennial wars, inadequacy in the number of Missionaries available at any time and their lack of understanding of their job because they were not trained for it and lack of material support for

 

2


the few missionaries available.3 Apart from language barrier, the Oba was in form groups of his domain and could not allow foreign bodies to interfere with his administration. In addition, the whole continent at that time was engulfed with human trafficking and every country in west Africa was ravaged by the inflame trade. Therefore, Christianity could not thrive well in that populated and inhuman environment.

 

Hence, this research discusses the history of Church in Nigeria. To achieve this objective, the history of the church in Nigeria is divided into five periods namely; one, the period of introducing Latin Christianity in the 15th and 16th centuries; two, the period of Denominationalism and missionary activities in the 19th century from 1842 onward; three, the period of evolution of Independent churches, four, the period of Indigenous African Churches; and five, the period of the birth of charismatic and Pentecostal churches in Nigeria. It is to be noted that the birth of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) which divided the Christian church into five major groups aided the growth of the church in Nigeria. The period between 1980 to 2010 is remarkable as it witnessed the spread, growth and spread of churches in Nigeria.4 Pentecostalism is seen as one of the fastest growing movements within Christianity in Nigeria today and the world at large.

 

The term ''church growth'' has become something of a catch-phrase in a great deal of recent religious promotional material. In the minds of many people, it is synonymous with evangelism or corporate renewal. The author, in using the term ''church growth'', subscribes to the following formal definition: Church growth is that science which investigates the nature, function and health of the Christian church as it relates specifically to the effective implementation of God''s commission to make disciples of all nations. It is simultaneously a theological conviction, and an applied science which strives to combine the eternal principles of God''s word with the best insights

 

3


 

of contemporary social and behavioural sciences, employing, as its initial frame of reference, the foundational work done by Dr. Donald McGavran.5 Church-growth principles are discovered by observing where churches are growing where the numbers of members are increasing and new congregations are being born, and where men and women are introduced to Jesus Christ, commit their lives to him, and become responsible members of his Church.6 In this work, an inquest into the church history will be studied and the focus will also be on the denominational practices and Church growth in Ikare-Akoko in Ondo state and Nigeria as a whole. Focus will also be on Pentecostal movement in Nigeria and the factors for the proliferation of the church in Ikare-Akoko.

 

1.2 Statement of the Problem

 

 

Over the years, there is no denying fact that the Pentecostal movement in Nigeria has experienced tremendous growth in terms of the proliferation of its churches and its membership strength. Indeed, the explosion of the movement in Nigeria and in Ikare-Akoko is a glaring reality. Recognizably, Pentecostal has penetrated the mainline churches. Obviously, Pentecostal are proliferating on daily basis and are winning many converts.

 

The growth of Pentecostal churches, which seems uncontrollable, is substantiated in the heavy presence of its churches in every nook and cranny of the Nigerian society of which Ikare-Akoko is not left out in this. It is the speedy growth and expansion of church in Ikare-Akoko and elsewhere that constitute a major problem. The problem will be thoroughly investigated in order to highlight the key factors that are responsible for this rapid growth and expansion in the church. This therefore forms the basis upon which the work stands in order to explain the growth and expansion of the Pentecostal churches in Ikare-Akoko.

 

 

 

 

 

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1.3 Aim and Objectives of Study

 

 

This research aims at studying in detailed form, Church Growth and tends to know the Effect of Denominational Practices on the Growth of the Church. Specifically, to know whether denominational practices have significant effect on church growth. It will also look at the historical origin of Church growth and this work also aim at studying the relationship between Church growth and Church health. In this work, the Pentecostal Churches in the contemporary Ikare society and its impacts will be studied. Another aim which this work will achieve is examine the factors responsible for Pentecostal Church growth Ikare-Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria.

 

1.4 Justification of study

 

 

Over the years, the terminology used to describe Church growth has been varied owing to the various views which people have about this movement from its inception. This study is of great importance in the sense that it will help people have a better understanding about the meaning of Church growth movement, origin of Christianity in Nigeria and its impacts on the people of Ikare-Akoko. It will further enable researchers to continue from the aspect which this study has not covered.

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Over the years, various denominations have evolved from various Church tradition. However, denomination as a concept is said to be religious subgroup that follow some basic religious doctrines. On the basis of this research, some nagging problems arose which makes the growth of the Church seems hindered and these include but not limited to leadership problem, economic, and social problems among others. This study therefore examines denominational practices and its significant effects on Church growth. Also, it examines the relationship between Church growth and Church health. The methods implored here are historical, phenomenological and interpretative approaches. In the course of this research, it was discovered that Christianity which was introduced in Nigeria over 150 years ago has grown over the years to claim an estimate of between 40% of the population. It is worth noting that Christianity is a major religious tradition in Nigeria and has significant impact in lives and culture of people. The work therefore recommends that the Church is the theatre of the Holy Spirit irrespective of denominational differences. Hence, people should seek the Holy Spirit and also growth of the Church should not be based on orthodoxy, rather on orthopraxis to change Nigeria for better just as this research helps us find out that at its best, the Church Growth Movement (C.G.M) and the Church Health Movement (C.H.M) grew out of missional understanding of the Church... religious and cultural studies project topics

THE EFFECT OF DENOMINATIONAL PRACTICES ON THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH

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