TO THE STUDY
Christianity in Nigeria which has led to planting
of churches dates back to the 16th century when the Portuguese
introduced Latin Christianity in Benin and Warri. Looking at Christianity from
that early beginning to the present time, many stages of development had taken
place resulting to the planting and growth of churches. Several Christian
churches abound here and there. However, the researcher will examine issues and
prospects of church planting in Nigeria.
planting is a process that results in a new (local) Christian church being
established. It should be distinguished from church development, where a new
service, new worship center or fresh expression is created that is integrated
into an already established congregation. For a local church to be planted, it
must eventually have a separate life of its own and be able to function without
its parent body, even if it continues to stay in relationship denominationally
or through being part of a network (Wikipedia, 2015).
the missionary and clergy men have always believed that the most effective way
to reach the world for Christ is by starting new churches. This is why every
people group and community needs a church. According to many scholars, the church
is the hope of the world which is why they are committed to building
missionally-minded, transformational churches among every people group and
community in the world.
Our global society today is undergoing
significant constant proliferation and planting of churches which have brought
not only changing values, but also greater source of solutions to people’s
problems. This rapid multiplication of churches is borne out of the
understanding that in Nigeria, there is freedom of religious worship. Central
to the constant planting and proliferation of churches is the issues of its
environmental effects on the people in the society and the prospects as it’s
provide solution to peoples problems which this research is out to address. To
an observant mind, the pace at which churches are spreading like a wildfire in
Nigeria is alarming. In the country, there is freedom of worship, places of
worship are full, pilgrimages are over-booked and there is evidence of
religious expansion all over the places.
people were cashing in on the situation of massive church planting, as they
launch new religious organizations and societies. There is evidence that many
are just charlatans looking for a means of livelihood. Many are perhaps
genuinely religious. But it is obvious that our society has not become upright.
It certainly has not become peaceful. There have been and still many hot and
cold wars in the name of religion (Fayomi, 1993). Churches are noted to be
springing up at an alarming and unprecedented rate in all available spaces,
shops and uncompleted buildings. Worship come up in warehouses, hotels,
abandoned cinema buildings, studios and other public places. It is a common
sight to see a minimum of fifty different churches on a street of four
kilometres long. This may paint a terrible picture, but such is the present spate
of church proliferation and planting in the country.
a statement made by Ogidi (1997), he categorically asserts that, “Nigeria is a
country with easily the largest number of churches per capital in the
world.”(Ogidi, 1997). Fayomi (1993) also described Nigeria as “a fertile soil
for the growth of independent churches.”(Fayomi 1993). In urban cities and even
rural areas, for lack of space and accommodation, six or more different
churches could make do with a storey building. Such is the present state of
events all over Nigeria. For example, in Ekiti State, as rightly observed by
Tokunbo (2007), there are well above One hundred and fifty-seven Pentecostal
denominations alone between 1970 and 2004 (Tokunbo, 2007). More parishes and
new religious movements continue to be springing up each passing day. The
spiritual discernment reportedly used by the Pastors and leaders planting
churches in Nigeria is, “We prayed about it, and God said go and establish your
own church.” Very often, one cannot compete with the self-proclaimed
revelations and answers to prayers received by leaders looking to baptize their
whims in God-talk. The phrase is usually evoked to silent objections and avoids
careful teaching and accountability. And apparently, its use is on the rise,
“God told me so” is now perhaps the dangerous four-word-sentence uttered by
church leaders and planters. Several factors have been found to be responsible
for this massive church planting. They include economic recession, rapid
evangelization, beliefs and practices, unhealthy rivalry, genuine thirst for
spiritual nourishment, theological issues, fanaticism, leadership tussle and
the likes (Falayi, 1998).
OF THE PROBLEM
phenomenon of church planting has its merits and demerits. The merits include,
rapid evangelization, development of new leadership, provision of checks and
balances to orthodox churches, promotes specialization in ministry and enhances
the provision of an atmosphere in which human problems are at times solved (Adesanya,
2004). On the other hand, the demerits include, personality clashes, unhealthy
competition for convert via homiletical propaganda, lack of unity, monetary
crises, heresies, fanaticism and bickering (Tokunbo, 2007). Although, massive church
planting has certain demerits as noted above, but they are not strong enough
for total condemnation of the phenomenon. This is because Jesus was reported in
the Bible to have said that, the Gospel should be preached to all nations (Mk.
16:15). Then, Paul in Philippians 1:15-18, supports church planting and proliferation
for the expansion of the kingdom of God. This is because religion is not
fossil, but a living and dynamic phenomenon. It will surely continue to
increase. However, the researcher is out to examine the issues and prospects of
church planting in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
following are the objectives of this study:
examine the issues and prospects of church planting in Nigeria.
determine the merits and demerits of massive church planting in Nigeria.
examine the factors encouraging the proliferation of churches in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
are the issues and prospects of church planting in Nigeria?
are the merits and demerits of massive church planting in Nigeria?
are the factors encouraging the proliferation of churches in Nigeria?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
following are the significance of this study:
from this study will educate the church administrators and the general public
in Nigeria on the merits and demerits of massive church planting in Nigeria.
2. 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
study on the issues and prospects of church planting in Nigeria will cover the
spate at which new churches are been established in Nigeria with a view of
identifying the merits and the demerits.
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
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.
I.O (2004) “Proliferation of Churches: Bane or Blessing” in journal of
contemporary issues in Education, Vol. 11,No.1: 55-60.
M.O (1993) The Christian Response To Our Moral and Social Crisis,
Ado-Ekiti:Hope Paper Mills.
O. O. (1998). “Proliferation of Churches: Causes and Effects on Church Growth,
A Case Study of Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State,” an Unpublished
project submitted to the RCCG, Bible College, Lagos, p. 42.
D.O (2002) “Pentecostal and Charismatic Perspectives of the Redeemed Christian
Church of God’ in Ondo journal of Religion, Vol.111, No. 1 and 2. 3.
Ogidi, R. (1997) “Worries over Failure of Religion as Moral Anchor,” The
Guardian, March, 28, 11.