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Keywords: THE ROLE OF EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP ON CHURCH GROWTH
The various leadership styles emanating from the ever increasing number of churches and their consequences on the growth of the gospel calls for concern. It is common knowledge that some Pentecostal churches practice a sort of democratic leadership style by carrying every member along in their decision making, others practice autocratic leadership style in which decisions are taken solely by the general overseer while some practice other leadership styles like shepherding and motivational leadership styles. Mismanagement of church funds has continued to be a topical issue in Pentecostal circle, causing disaffection among church members and this has continued to lead to proliferation of Pentecostal churches in Nigeria.
1.1 Background of the study
Christianity in Nigeria 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 around here and there. We will look at the factors that facilitate the emergence and growth of churches in Nigeria. The global perspective in view of leadership, every organization has its own modus of operandi. Nigeria for instance, runs a participative leadership. An effective leadership is patterned by its goals and vision which help in achieving positive results. This is because any given organization with a with a questionable leadership style is prone to collapse. Therefore, leadership remains a fundamental process in every organization in which such an organization builds a style of operation. On this note, Adam (2003), noted that leadership is a common phenomenon in every facet of life. This implies that leadership is a thing that has captured the attention of many in order bring all pending matters to orderliness. In the same vein, Hybels (2002) states that leader often has impact not only because they are highly gifted but because their leadership styles mesh perfectly with specific ministry needs. Therefore, to distinguish leadership, it must be borne in mind that different styles of leadership abounds. These are political leadership, economic leadership, and socio-cultural leadership. Each of these leadership type operates based on the principles required within the setting. Leadership is someone led a group or team from the front. according to me, no one can be a leader if a person doesn’t have this talent in it, you can say it’s a natural talent that god doesn’t give to everyone. Not everyone can be a leader or can lead a team. Your behavior or nature should be cooperative and friendly in order to be a good leader. On this basis, the major focus of this study is religious leadership and how it affects the growth of the church. It is interesting to know that leadership within churches involves series of vital roles such as teaching, counseling, discipline, and policy implementation, and co-ordination, recruitment of staff and retirement of staff. Based on these, leadership in churches faces a great challenge. The world has changed, is constantly changing, and will continue to change. Change is inevitable and occurs throughout facets or cycles of life and is a necessary component for life the analogy described can be applied to the church. Continual change in growth is an important ingredient to shaping the future of the church; therefore, the role of the l leader is an important one. The ecclesial leader must encourage and allow for change to take place, thus not stopping or staunching growth in the church. This can become a daunting task, however, necessary for ecclesial leaders to design structure, and challenge organizational and leadership structures of faith communities with purpose for growth, change, and production in the church. The Lord God Almighty wants the church to progress forward in doing his will. After the flood account, the people that were born from Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gn 10:1) were of all one language and speech (Gn 11:1). Everyone could communicate with the other, therefore was of the same culture; however, as they traveled from the east they decided to stop progressing forward (v. 2) but instead to build a city and tower that would reach the heavens and to make a name for themselves so that they would not be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth (v. 4). Their actions resulted in them not doing the will of God as commanded to Noah and his sons after the flood. Genesis 9 states, “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (v. 1), and, “As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it” (v. 7). 1 Their disobedient actions landed them into a state of confusion. God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit confused their language and speech (v. 9), thus there was a break in communication that caused individuals to band together or attach to those who were common to them in dialect. People had no choice but to scatter abroad in the earth with one another (v. 9) to progress forward in bringing about change. Differences in culture and nations of the world began. The purpose of this article is to describe my own understanding of the role of the ecclesial leader to shape the future of the church by design, and to challenge organizational and leadership structures of faith communities through planning and preparation.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This study focuses on selected leadership personality traits, qualities, and behaviors of pastors of Free Churches in relationship to church growth. If churches in Nigeria secular society want to grow (again), churches need to address the issue of pastoral leadership. But the challenge is to define an effective, growth-oriented leaders as clearly as possible. The complexity of the task, the spiritual context of spiritual leadership, and the plurality of pastoral roles complicate any endeavor of fairly evaluating a pastor. Ideally, professional pastors lead their churches by providing stimulation, impulses and coordination, and this is precisely how they promote the independence of their members and coworkers. They differentiate between individual and professional, psychological and social perspectives and can therefore, when necessary, readily put the interests of the church before their individual convictions and private interests, it is on this basis that the researcher intends to investigate the effect of leadership role on church growth.
The main objective of the study is to ascertain the effect of leadership role on church growth. Other sub objectives to be achieved by the researcher include;
For the purpose of the study, the following research hypotheses are formulated by the researcher;
H0: leadership style does not have any significant role on the growth of the church
H1: Leadership styles do have a significant role on the growth of the church.
H02: there is no significant relationship between leadership quality and growth rate in the church
H2: there is a significant relationship between leadership quality and growth rate in churches.
This study will contribute to a deeper understanding of an effective growth oriented leadership style of pastors on personal, missiological, educational, and denominational levels. Personal the call to preach the gospel and to make disciples is the core mission of every Christian church. Being a minister and a teacher of future pastors, it is important to help students to become better pastors, and to understand church growth and their leadership role within the process. The present study will help me to evaluate my courses and the way of consulting with churches, and it will broaden and clarify the understanding of leadership and church growth. The study will also be beneficial to researchers who intend to embark on study in similar topic as the study will serve as a guide to their study. Finally the study will be beneficial to academia’s students and the general public
The scope of the study covers the effect of leadership role on church growth, however in the cause of the study, the researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
(a)Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
(b)Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
(c)Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
A church building, often simply called a church, is a building used for Christian religious activities, particularly worship services. The term in its architectural sense is most often used by Christians to refer to their religious buildings, but it is sometimes used (by analogy) for buildings of other religions. In traditional Christian architecture, the church is often arranged in the shape of a Christian cross. When viewed from plan view the longest part of a cross is represented by the aisle and the junction of the cross is located at the altar area.
Growth refers to a positive change in size, and/or maturation, often over a period of time. Growth can occur as a stage of maturation or a process toward fullness or fulfillment. It can also perpetuate endlessly, for example, as detailed by some theories of the ultimate fate of the universe.
Leadership is both a research area and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual or organization to “lead” or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations. The literature debates various viewpoints: contrasting Eastern and Western approaches to leadership, and also (within the West) US vs. European approaches. US academic environments define leadership as “a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task
The word “pastor” derives from the Latin noun pastor which means “shepherd” and relates to the Latin verb pascere – “to lead to pasture, set to grazing, cause to eat”. The term “pastor” also relates to the role of elder within the New Testament, but is not synonymous with the biblical understanding of minister. Many Protestant churches call their ministers “pastors.
1.8 Organization of the study
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion and also recommendations made of the study.
Keywords: THE ROLE OF EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP ON CHURCH GROWTH