Biblical Patterns of Leadership and Its Effect on the Church Growth (A Case Study of Cherubim and Seraphim Church Lagos State Nigeria)
The Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to identify to what extent the leadership approach contribute to a successful growth of the church. The objective was to add to the existing body to the leadership research.
The major determining factor of stability in any organization or institution is the ability of the leader to leave power for a trained follower. Thus the purpose of this study will be.
- To examine and look into how the leadership of the church have being practicing leadership in relation to biblical patterns.
- To offer suggestions and recommendations that relate to leadership patterns and church growth.
- To examine how Churubim and Seraphim church leadership has being using the power or incumbency.
- To examine the extent to which leaders in Churubim and Seraphim church in Nigeria runs the organization from its inception.
- To make a call on leadership to speak the truth to those in position of authority (power)
- To identify the impacts of leadership patterns in Churubim and Seraphim church in Nigeria.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
LEADERSHIP THEOLOGY/PRACTICE AND CHURCH GROWTH
The pattern of congregational government among Brethren varies. The smaller the church, the more congregational the practice. The larger the church, the more centralized the decision-making process tends to become. The older, more traditional churches seem to be more congregational while the more recent church plants tend to go with a governance by church elders. Those churches that are more intentional about their growth and church planning tend to have a more centralized form of governance. Still, Mennonite Brethren have thought of themselves as having a strong biblical pattern of leadership, one that incorporates several significant components.
Leadership Sharing. Mennonite Brethren have tried to minimize the distinction between clergy and laity. The Church Growth leaders also strongly affirm the involvement of the congregation in ministry. Both bodies affirm, for example, that leadership in the New Testament churches was multiple rather than single (Acts 6); that decentralization of ministry allowed each to serve according to spiritual giftedness (Eph. 4); that the relationship between leaders was akin to a conference brotherhood (Acts 15); that some leaders, not unlike our current conference area ministers, worked in the interest of a number of churches (2 Cor. 8:18-19); that a spirit of mutuality and of submission to one another in love and respect is basic (Rom. 12); and that greatness means servanthood (Matt. 20:26-28).
Leadership Humility. Leadership among Mennonite Brethren has also reflected an attempt to live within the paradox of strength and weakness. Mennonite Brethren describe their leaders as servant leaders who lead from a position of humility. The CGM has been weak on these biblical leadership assumptions. Yet from the Scripture it is clear that the work of Christ is at its best when one ministers from a position of dependency and weakness (2 Cor. 11:16-12:10). The disciples were convinced that true leadership had to do with self denial and of losing one’s life to find it (Matt. 10:38). A willingness to suffer for Christ and to become like him in his death is a requisite (Phil. 3:10). God uses the weak to confound the wise (1 Cor. 1:18-2:5). In the early church, leaders made themselves accountable to the congregation for the work that God had done through them (Acts 14:29).
Leadership Honor. The New Testament portrays a model of leadership that holds leaders in honor; it is a style which is less than totally congregational. For example, Christians are instructed to obey their leaders and to submit to their authority (Heb. 13:17). The leaders (elders) who direct the affairs of the church are to be considered worthy of double honor (1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Thess. 5:12-13), and are to be financially supported (1 Cor. 9:14). Leaders are described as shepherds of God’s flock who serve as overseers and caregivers of the body but in a “non-lording” way (1 Pet. 5:2-3; Acts 20:28). Church Growth leaders have been more ready to emphasize singular status of leaders than Mennonite Brethren with their theology of equality.
Leadership Qualification. Important to the Mennonite Brethren understanding of leadership has been the character and spirituality of church leaders. They have taken seriously the biblical qualifications for ministers, deacons and elders. Somewhat in contrast, the focus in Church Growth is more often on being technically qualified. The Scriptural directives for a leader’s qualifications are clustered in Paul’s letters (1 Tim. 3:2-10). Among other items leaders are to be above reproach, gentle, not lovers of money, and able to manage their own family well. They must first be tested; theirs must be a firm grasp of the gospel teachings. It is the church which discerns these qualifications (Acts 6).
Leadership Modeling. For Mennonite Brethren no leadership model has been as powerful as that modeled by Christ and his followers. We learn from Christ about a relational, informal style in small groups which turned into more assertive and directive leadership in task situations such as the feeding of the five thousand and the sending out of the seventy. Christ gave more leadership time to his primary leaders, Peter, James and John than to the larger group. He balanced his time between individuals, small groups and large group involvements. In Peter and Paul we see aggressive extrovert leadership while in Barnabas and Timothy we find a more subdued style. All were focused on reaching their world for Christ. James, the pastor from Jerusalem exerts considerable influence-strong leadership-in solving a difficult church situation (Acts 15). The overriding impression from the New Testament leaders is that they were oriented towards the great commission, highly motivated as stewards of the gospel, and as co-laborers with Christ, often at risk to themselves, extending the kingdom of God.
Leadership Heritage. Basic to the Mennonite Brethren theology of leadership is their strong mission evangelism heritage. Herein is a strong link with Church Growth leadership theories. Mennonite Brethren stand in the tradition of the Anabaptist missionary vision. 3 The denominational statement of faith reads, “We believe that the command to make disciples of all nations is the primary task of the church. Every member has the responsibility to be a witness to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and to call men to be reconciled to God.” 4 The church leadership manual (1985) defines ordination by the “laying on of hands as an act by the local church and conference, of affirming those called by God for the ministry of the gospel. Denominational leaders would readily agree with Darrel Robins: “The mission of the church is to reach people and disciple them so they can reach other people and disciple them. This is the mission of Jesus. Consequently this is the mission of the local church.
In this chapter, we described the research procedure for this study. A research methodology is a research process adopted or employed to systematically and scientifically present the results of a study to the research audience viz. a vis, the study beneficiaries.
Research designs are perceived to be an overall strategy adopted by the researcher whereby different components of the study are integrated in a logical manner to effectively address a research problem. In this study, the researcher employed the survey research design. This is due to the nature of the study whereby the opinion and views of people are sampled. According to Singleton & Straits, (2009), Survey research can use quantitative research strategies (e.g., using questionnaires with numerically rated items), qualitative research strategies (e.g., using open-ended questions), or both strategies (i.e., mixed methods). As it is often used to describe and explore human behaviour, surveys are therefore frequently used in social and psychological research.
POPULATION OF THE STUDY
According to Udoyen (2019), a study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitutes of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description.
This study was carried to examine biblical patterns of leadership and its effect on the church growth. churumim and seraphim church in Lagos state forms the population of the study.
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
This chapter presents the analysis of data derived through the questionnaire and key informant interview administered on the respondents in the study area. The analysis and interpretation were derived from the findings of the study. The data analysis depicts the simple frequency and percentage of the respondents as well as interpretation of the information gathered. A total of eighty (80) questionnaires were administered to respondents of which only seventy-seven (77) were returned and validated. This was due to irregular, incomplete and inappropriate responses to some questionnaire. For this study a total of 77 was validated for the analysis.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain biblical patterns of leadership and its effect on the church growth. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of biblical patterns of leadership and its effect on the church growth
This study was on biblical patterns of leadership and its effect on the church growth. five objectives were raised which included; To examine and look into how the leadership of the church have being practicing leadership in relation to biblical patterns, to offer suggestions and recommendations that relate to leadership patterns and church growth, to examine how Churubim and Seraphim church leadership has being using the power of incumbency, to examine the extent to which leaders in Churubim and Seraphim church in Nigeria runs the organization from its inception, to make a call on leadership to speak the truth to those in position of authority (power) and to identify the impacts of leadership patterns in Churubim and Seraphim church in Nigeria.. A total of 77 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents were drawn from Churubim and Seraphim church . Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS).
The study established that although majority of pastors claimed to be practicing democratic type of leadership style, a larger percentage of the congregants at Churubim and Seraphim church perceived their leaders as having adopted an autocratic leadership style. Further this was said to be affecting the numerical church membership growth of the district. The main features of democratic leadership are decentralization of authority and participatory planning through mutual communication, a factor that is likely to positively influence church membership growth. The autocratic leadership style which seemly is practiced in Churubim and Seraphim church lacks the element of consultation and denies participation of members in key decision making of the church hence affecting numerical growth. The leader is left working alone in an environment that lacks flexibility. In conclusion is need for adopting various leadership styles depending on situation and circumstances because every style of leadership has both advantages and disadvantages. For example, charismatic leadership and servant leadership give direct interpersonal relationships with people through visitation and one on one witnessing, which are essential for numerical church membership growth.
The leader should therefore be accorded the right and proper honour, respect and dignity that go with his office or responsibilities and service. It is when this is put into consideration that leadership would be selfless and sacrificial in all its ramifications in the home, church, Nigerian society as a nation and Africa as a whole. The church will be healthy and the society will be sanitized and free from the bondage of mediocrity and self-centered leadership.
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