Pastoral Development and Church Growth in The Apostolic Church

Pastoral Development and Church Growth in The Apostolic Church
Pastoral Development and Church Growth in The Apostolic Church



1.1       Background to the Study

The word “pastoral” indicates that is has to do with the duties and work of a man who fills the office of pastor in a church. The precise definition of the term ‘pastoral’ is open to considerable debate. Some, for example, claim simply that ‘Pastoral care is that aspect of the ministry of the Church which is concerned with the well-being of individuals and communities.’ Another definition which has been widely adopted by contemporary writers on the subject is that of ClebschansJaekle (1995) in Pastoral Care in Historical Perspective. According to them pastoral care is “directed towards the healing, sustaining, guiding, and reconciling of troubled persons whose troubles arise in the context of ultimate meanings and concerns.” Hence, the need to examine their attribute to the growth of the church.

Pastoral development has been mainly the basis behind the rapid growth of churches. Aside from providing spiritual leadership, pastors also play administrative leadership roles in the development of their church, a role that they themselves often fail to recognize within their respective spiritual organizations (Kim, D. S., & You, D. H., 2010).

Broadly described, Christian ministry including The Apostolic Church calls on pastors to proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers by means of preaching and worship as well as evangelism and nurture, care for the church’s members and other persons in the community through pastoral counseling and visitation as well as family ministries and grief support, and lead the church in the achievement of its mission.This great commission can only be achieved through the help of the Holy Spirit (Okon, 2006).

For instance, a spirit filled pastor must see visions of ministry, communicate the dreams clearly, gain consensus and commitment to common objectives, take initiative by setting the pace in ministry actions, and multiply their influence by transforming followers into new leaders (Cole, 2003). He must study and teach the Word of God in order to feed the people. He must know the mind of Christ in order to utter, “Thus saith the Lord.” He must lead the church to fulfill Christ’s mission of seeking and saving the lost.People will follow spiritual leaders who understand God’s agenda and who know how to move them to it. Hence, the Pastor of a church has an awesome responsibility to develop himself both spiritually and scripturally to be able to face the task ahead (Ekong, 2009). 

Pastoral development encompasses both spiritual and administrative outgrowth expected from a pastor as a prerequisite for growing the church of God (Engle, 2004).Although men are saddled with the responsibility of leading others, but they are consciously and willingly leading in submission to the Ultimate Being-God. This is to say that they lead with His principles and are aware of the fact that they will render account of their leadership at the end (Floyd, 2003). Therefore, Pastoral leadership which is the leadership of the Church is a corporate effort of Christ the Chief Shepherd and pastoral leaders the under-shepherd (Murdock, 2008). This implies that the pastor needs additional attribute to be able to shepherd the flock. Hence, they must look unto the Chief Shepherd as the source.

All of the leadership activities of the Christian shepherd occur within a given organizational framework: the visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ where the pastor is the chief administrator of the basic, given structure ordained, built and maintained by Christ Himself. As such he is responsible for the over-all actions and results in the work of the church. That church is an organic entity that manifests itself in this world through a visible structure that, for its maintenance, requires planning, organization and rule (Floyd, 2003).

“Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth” (Liu, 1995). No wonder today’s pastors are unsure how they measure up. There are too many standards to meet! Each definition offered seeks to contribute a new insight to the understanding of leadership, and many of them do. Not minding the fact that they are the administrators saddled with the responsibility to lead persons away from the things of the world and into the high calling in Christ Jesus (Tracy, 2011). His responsibility demands that they have a clear understanding of the nature and functions of the church in other develop themselves towards the direction of achieving optimum growth such as imbibing the skills in planning, overseeing, and evaluating the work of the church as well as possessing the spiritual characteristics of Christ. He should have the ability and the authority to make decisions and to decide upon the best course of action (Oladimeji, 2007).

Pastoral quality indeed affects church growth; the right pastor can cause a church to sink or soar. When a pastor is good at his job, the church grows (Heward-Mills, 2011). Many people come to church expecting to receive something from God through the pastor. So if the pastor is a very good communicator, who delivers good sermons and cares for the spiritual well being of the parishioners, the church grows (Murdock, 2008).

“A Christian leader is someone who is called by God to lead; leads with and through Christlike character; and demonstrates the functional competencies that permit effective leadership to take place.” (Maxwell, 1993).As such, every pastors should be working towards strategies to achieve growth in discharging their ministerial duties. Such Pastors who aim at significant growth are those that will spend quality time in prayerful study, reading and researching on church growth under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Coutts, 2006).

The pastor is responsible for the church growth because the point of being a pastor is to teach and care for the body of Christ (the church). Pastors are supposed to be leaders that guide people into becoming the best they can be so to speak. If a pastor is just going up to the pulpit to preach every Sunday and does not get involved, many people will not really see the benefit to attending a church. Many people will also feel lost because there is no guidance. In order for a church to grow the pastors must influence God’s people towards God’s purpose. In view of the above, the relationships of pastoral development now become the pivotal point in which everything revolves.Hence, this study seeks to asses on pastoral development and church growth in The Apostolic Church Uyo Field, AkwaIbom State.

Pastoral Development and Church Growth in The Apostolic Church

1.2       Statement of Problem

According to Engle & McIntosh (2008), Pastoral development is defined primarily as preparing the body, soul and spirit for the ministry thus accomplishing the task of the great commission. If this is true, then it will also follow that for the body, soul and spirit to be armed for the ministry, the Pastor must be ready to contribute to the growth of the church and no Pastor can actually be such except he prepares himself to withstand the hassle of the ministry.

From the preceding notions, it is apparent that pastoral development in a synopsis is pointing to the contribution of the pastors to the growth of the church. Pastoral development is the key to success in the ministry of the church. Only when pastors understand the dynamics of developing themselves in the light of God’s calling on their lives will they be prepared to lead effectively. Such pastors should be ready to influence the members to give their energies, use their potential, release their determination, and go beyond their comfort zone to accomplish goals.

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. Hence, leadership of such organization requires continuous development in their spiritual life, academic level and biblical understanding to be able to accomplish the primary function of the great commission. Therefore, on the premise of this assertion, it can be logically inferred that the growth of the church depends of the level of pastors operating in such organization. In view of this, it is however imperative to investigate on pastoral development and church growth in The Apostolic Church Uyo Field, AkwaIbom State.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to investigate on the influence of pastoral development and church growth in The Apostolic Church Uyo Field, AkwaIbom State. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. Determine the influence of spiritual development of a pastor and the growth of the church.
  2. Investigate on the effects of pastors’ academic progress and the growth of the church.
  3. Determine the influence of Biblical knowledge of a Pastor and the growth of the church.
  4. Suggests different measures to be adopted by Pastors for development and the growth of the Church.

Therefore, at the end of this research, one should be able to know what pastoral development is, its cardinal factor, what Church growth is, the factors that influence it, its problems as well as get suggestions for possible solutions.

1.4       Research Questions

The following research questions are raised to aid the study:

  1. To what extent does Spiritual development of a pastor contribute to the growth of the church?
  2. To what extent does academic development of a pastor contribute to the growth of the church?
  3. To what extent does theological development of a pastor contribute to the growth of the church?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

To guide this research work and to accomplish the above outline objectives the following null hypotheses will be subject to testing at 0.5 level of significance.

H0 There is no significance effect of Spiritual development of a pastor and the growth of the church.

H1 There is a significance effect of Spiritual development of a pastor and the growth of the church

H0 There is no significance effect of academic development of a pastor and the growth of the church.

H1 There is a significance effect of academic development of a pastor and the growth of the church

H0 There is no significance effect of theological development of a pastor and the growth of the church.

H0 There is a significance effect of theological development of a pastor and the growth of the church

Pastoral Development and Church Growth in The Apostolic Church

1.6       Scope of the Study

The study covers all the Fields of The Apostolic Church, AkwaIbom State Territory. However, due to time and financial constraint, the researcher limited the study only to Uyo Field of The Apostolic Church, Akwa Ibom State Territory.

Therefore this study seeks to empirically investigate on Pastoral development in the areas of spiritual development, academic development and theological development using chi-square method of analysis on primary data obtained from the pastors of the church.

1.7       Limitation of the Study

In the course of this research work, a lot of problems are bound to be encountered among which includes the following:

  1. Secrecy: Most respondent were indifference on their part to provide credible answers to the researcher.
  2. Human errors and biasness: This is because some data were obtained through discussions and interviews therefore there is the possibility of human error of omitting some vital information. Respondent may also exaggerate important information in order to give their organization a positive credit for fear of what seems an invasion into the personal privacy.
  3. Time factor: The time given within which the work has to be completed is definitely inadequate considering the tedious work involved ranging from getting the raw data, computation to conclusion.

1.8       Significance of the Study

This research work will be a working tool as long as The Apostolic Church Uyo Filed is concerned. This research work will be of immense significance to other congregations due to the fact that most congregations share the same fate when it comes to pastoral development and the Church growth.

  1. Pastors will be fully enlighten on the important of spiritual development to the growth of their ministerial assignment.
  2. Low academic qualified pastors in the ministries will also understand the importance of academic advancement towards the growth their ministry.
  3. Pastors will also be informed on the need to enhance their knowledge level in biblical understanding to achieve the goals of their ministry.
  4. This material will also serve as a reference work to researchers in related fields of study as it is capable of gingering research into related fields of study.

Originally posted on August 29, 2021 @ 4:53 pm

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Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.