Clergy Lifestyle and Church Growth
The main purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of Clergy Lifestyle on church growth. In this study, four research questions were formulated to guide this study. Literature was reviewed based on variables of the study. The study adopted a descriptive research design. The Population of the research consisted of Clergies In-Charge of Zones, Areas, Parishes, Altar Ministers of the Redeemed Christian Church of Goad, Lagos Province 28. The sample size of this study consists of 120 Clergies selected from different parishes within the RCCG, Lagos Province 28 using simple random sampling technique. The instrument used for data collection in the research was a structured questionnaire titled “Effects of Clergy lifestyle on Church Growth (EPFLCG)”. The analysis of the data collected was done with the use of simple percentage statistical method provided basis for answering the research questions, this was done by computing frequencies and percentages of strongly agreed, agreed, strongly disagreed and disagreed.
From the findings, it was discovered that: clergy lifestyle have a significant effects on church growth; clergy lifestyle affect the spiritual church growth; Clergy’s Lifestyle affect the numerical church growth; and that Clergy’s Lifestyle have a significant impact on the general well-being of a church. In the light of the findings of the study and conclusion drawn, the following recommendations were made:- The church must regain the conviction that Christ wants His church to grow, both in quality disciples and in quantity of disciples, the preachers, as well as the Christians, must be in control of his faculties, that is, their emotions, actions and deeds, the preachers should make every concerted effort to ensure they are fulfilling the major biblical purposes to develop a healthy church growth, and that the preachers should never forget the responsibility they have as a Christian, and never forget the even greater responsibility of a leader.
Lifestyle is not just something we put into our lives, but it is what comes out of our lives. It is beyond a system of value or virtue we learn from our parents or even at church. Lifestyle is who you are to God Himself and those around you. It is the real you! The church and parents must teach it, but they cannot insure its function. That is the responsibility of our choice, a determination we make ourselves, a stand in stress that we continue to uphold.
Definitely, every Clergy has a family. Sometimes the congregation forgets, sometimes even the Clergy seems to forget. As each member of our individual family has needs to be met and potentials to be developed, so also the Clergy’s family does.
Apostle Peter preached, recalling the book of Genesis and God’s promise to Abraham in Acts 3:25 “In your descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed”. So we become one family in Christ caring for every member of the body. Sometimes, a Clergy’s family may feel that church members are the Clergy’s family. This is because they seem to have more impact on the Clergy. Whenever they call and whatever they want, the Clergy seems to be ready to counsel, teach, preach and visit. This is because Clergy cares about what they do. It is often difficult for them to turn people away who crowd into family time.
More and more Clergies, however, are scheduling regular time away from their Clerical duties for their families and in addition to time for themselves. Frankly speaking, there are great rewards in the Clergy’s home. One of such is that Clergy’s children have access to their parents at times while some are not privileged to reach theirs. They understand what their parent, who is a Clergy, does more clearly than children whose parents “go to the office”. But there may be a sense of intrusion especially when the Clergy’s family lives in a Parsonage. Therefore, the research investigates into the effects of Clergy’s Lifestyle on church growth.
1.1 Background to the Study
The Bible in general and the book of Acts in particular record and affirm the expected and desired statistical growth in and through churches. But whenever statistical growth becomes the focused of a church instead of a valued consequence of the ministry, it is simply a matter of time until church leaders exchange biblically defined and principled faithfulness for worldly defined pragmatic success. The former brings the applause of heaven. The latter is always numerically measured thinking that it will bring the applause and approval whereas the reverse is usually the case.
Clergy lifestyle is one of the keys to success in the ministry of the church. Capable and skillful Clergies will create an atmosphere of excitement, give directions to move forward and develop people to grow into maturity. Only when Clergies understand leadership in the light of God’s calling on their lives will they be equipped to lead effectively. Leadership is the process of influencing people to give their energies, use their potential, release their determination and go beyond their comfort zone to accomplish goals . Leadership is a dynamic process. It affects, risks, drives, inspires, threatens, supports and leads. Local churches are looking for someone to lead them into God’s purposes and God’s way.
Local churches need leaders who truly believe that God will do what he says. People will follow spiritual leaders who understand God’s agenda and who know how to move them towards it. Effective Clergies recognize the three elements of a triangle: (1) their own preferred and comfortable leadership style, (2) the comfortable relational styles of their followers and (3) the most productively structured ministry suitable for them.
Clergy should be alert to the most comfortable and productive combination of these three elements leader-follower-situation. Leaders can select their own leader style and can help structure the ministry situations they work in. In other words, leaders can influence two of the three points of the leadership triangle that creates favorable, reciprocal and complementary possibilities for effective leadership. Leaders determine their followers’ style reactions, however, unless they choose to manipulate. The lack of leadership in today’s contemporary churches, especially the smaller churches, has caused all kinds of problems which have stagnated the healthy growth of the church.
The growth of the local church will definitely lead to the expansion of Christianity in the world. It is in this regard that it is essential for the local church to maintain a balance in both its quantity and quality. Although numbers are essential, church growth is more than just numbers . In this time of unprecedented opportunity and plentiful resources, the church is actually losing influence. Looking at the negligence of some churches not rising to their responsibilities towards the growth of the church, the Redeemed College of Missions has risen to this responsibility by modelling missionaries in tandem with the vision and mission statement of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
God has given each believer a combination of opportunities and gifts that are perfectly suited to his or her situation in life. Christians are really ministers, unique contributors to the body of Christ. The control thrust of your ministry depends largely on the spiritual gifts that you have received .This will ultimately enhance the growth of the church and as well have a close fellowship with God and men. Regardless of title, one cannot be a leader. The word “leader” according to Zeitchik Stone is defined “as one who guides by influence”.
A leader simply put is one who leads while others follow Leadership is nothing if not linked to collective purpose and the effectiveness of leader must be judged not by press clipping, but by actual social change, measured by intent and by satisfaction of human needs and expectations, which on the long term will be visible on the church growth and development. The work of a church is a noble task. Therefore, the study is designed to investigate the effects of clergy lifestyle on church growth in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Lagos Province 28.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The account in Matthew 28:19-20 shows that the early church grew from 120 believers to 3,120 numerically. This described the steady growth and multiplication of churches. So, churches were strengthened in faith both spiritually and numerically.
Unfortunately, the current generation has left the priority undone and begins to follow shadows in contrast to the zeal displayed by the disciples of old.