Impact of Minister’s Family Relationship on the Spiritual Growth of the Church (A Case Study of Assemblies of God)
Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study was to investigate the impact of family lifestyle of pastors on church growth.
The specific objectives of this research include the following:
(i). To investigate the effects of minister’s family lifestyle on church growth;
(ii). To examine the impact of minister’s family lifestyle on the spiritual growth of the church;
(iii). To explore minister’s family lifestyle on the general well-being of a church;
(iv). To discover the effects of minister’s family lifestyle on numerical church growth;
REVIEWED OF RELATED LITERATURE
The Family and The Church
The relationship between the family and the Church is the last, but maybe the most important, of the four components that make up family discipleship. We will start by explaining the family God provides in Christ Jesus and end with how we all play a part in the discipleship of people in our community, including individual families and their kids.
Here are six things Scripture tells us about family.
- Jesus speaks of a forever family not built or sustained by flesh but by faith. When asked about his biological mother and brothers in Mark 3:34-35 Jesus said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” In Matthew 19:29 after Peter said they had left everything to follow him (including many family members, their homes, and careers) Jesus gave his disciples hope by promising an everlasting spiritual kinship with those who had and would soon follow Christ as they had. Jesus also placed the relationship with him and his kingdom above family relationship since there will be families divided by the faith offered in Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 14:26).
- God established the wider faith family dynamic when he established the Israelite people. Though God’s law separated Israel from other nations its design was to bring people in, not keep them out. God’s people showed the world His power and covenantal promises as God’s people were faithful to follow him. When Israel followed God’s commands the glory of God was on display, which brought people to know God (Matt. 5:16-17, 1 Peter. 2:12). Think of those God brought into relationship with him in the Old Testament like Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (Dan. 4:37), or, more explicitly, how beautiful it is to see Rahab, a prostitute who lived in Jericho, and Ruth, a Moabite in the lineage of Jesus (Matt. 1: 5). These were not born Israelites, but they became family through faith (Romans 4:16-17)!
- Paul continued to speak of a family built of faith. In Romans 9:8 Paul said,“This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” Paul wanted to show those gentiles coming to faith that they would not lose the promises of God mentioned in Romans 1-8. Paul is reminding those who saw the historical Israel fall that God did not fail his spiritual family then and He won’t do it now with us. Paul tells us God’s family (his people) will be judged according to the heart, not the flesh (1 Sam. 16:7). In heaven, the picture (marriage) will be superseded by the reality- Focus on the Family
- Paul, throughout his letter, uses the language of brothers and sisters when talking about the Church (Romans 1:13, 1 Cor. 1:10, Gal. 1:11, Phil. 1:12). In the Church the idea of family is seen in relation to God as our Father, Christ our brother and King, and the Holy Spirit as our seal and helper. We are no longer individual families but, in Christ, are baptized into a spiritual family- mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters in Christ. Bringing us into a faith family does not diminished marriage or blood relationship; a physical family has a great purpose. Blood family and marriage are meant to be beautiful illustrations of a greater picture of promise- a forever family in Christ!
- The Bible speaks of the promise that one day there will be no sin, separation, favoritism, or pain. God will be King and we will worship in fullness without any hindrance. During that time we will be fulfilled and earthly marriage or parenting will not be needed (Luke 20:34-36). Why? Because God has restored all things and we are complete in him. He is Father and Husband. We are his bride and children.
- Paul tells us we still have responsibilities to our individual families. Our biological families matter to God. Paul when defining what a widow is states that if the woman has children or grandchildren she is not to be considered a widow in the church community and be provided for, but to be provided for by her children (1 Tim. 5:3-5).
With these six truths in mind we can see that God’s plan for the numeric number of growth to his kingdom is not limited only to a biological impression one can make with the help of another in the context of marriage. Discipleship goes beyond the capacity of parents and parenting. God sends singles into the mission field (men and women) to be disciples who make disciples. God has provided us with the church and the church with us to make disciples! Our ultimate role then as disciples is about pursuing God’s will by the power of the Spirit with the gifts he has provided as a means to be making disciples of all nations trusting the Lord is providing a forever family all for his glory (Eph. 1:16)! We are to be actively pursuing outside of our homes the discipleship of adults and children believing in the promises God made to those in Acts, “for I have many in this city who are my people.” (Acts 18:10).
Now that we can see a broader view of family we can see the need of teaching and training one another to become a true community of believers who make disciples in and out of the home while looking for other believers to teach and influence our biological children in the gospel of Jesus!
The church is a real family. We are a family in which Christ is the head (Col 1:18). We place our head, heart, and hands to his work together.
So what is the work? Ultimately it is to make disciples of Jesus (Matt. 28:18-20). This means WE, as families, unified by baptism in Christ Jesus, are disciples who pursue evangelism and discipleship of all nations/people and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (into the faith family) and teach them all that Christ has commanded.
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 Impact of Minister’s family relationship on the spiritual growth of the Church. Assemblies of God form 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 Impact of Minister’s family relationship on the spiritual growth of the Church( a case study of assemblies of God). 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 Impact of Minister’s family relationship on the spiritual growth of the Church( a case study of assemblies of God)
This study was on Impact of Minister’s family relationship on the spiritual growth of the Church( a case study of assemblies of God). Three objectives were raised which included: To investigate the effects of minister’s family lifestyle on church growth, to examine the impact of minister’s family lifestyle on the spiritual growth of the church, to explore minister’s family lifestyle on the general well-being of a church and to discover the effects of minister’s family lifestyle on numerical church growth. A total of 77 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents were drawn from assemblies of God. Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS).
In conclusion, this study on the impact of a minister’s family relationship on the spiritual growth of the Church, focusing on the case of Assemblies of God, highlights several significant findings. It is important to note that due to the lack of specific studies directly addressing this topic, the conclusions drawn here are based on a combination of anecdotal evidence, observations, and general principles.
The role of a minister’s family relationship emerges as a crucial factor in influencing the spiritual growth and vitality of the Church. The findings suggest that a minister’s family can serve as a powerful model for church members, inspiring and influencing their faith journeys. When a minister and their family demonstrate a consistent and authentic faith lifestyle, it can foster trust, admiration, and emulation among the congregation.
The integrity and credibility of a minister are key factors impacting their effectiveness, and the family lifestyle plays a significant role in this regard. A minister’s family that aligns with the teachings and values they espouse enhances their credibility and strengthens the trust that church members place in them. Conversely, challenges or misconduct within the family can undermine the minister’s effectiveness and erode trust among the congregation.
Furthermore, a minister’s family lifestyle contributes to the emotional connection between the minister and the church community. Active involvement of the minister’s family in the life of the church, along with their care and support for its members, fosters a sense of belonging and connection. This emotional bond can deepen the commitment and dedication of congregants to the church, ultimately influencing its spiritual growth.
However, it is essential to recognize the potential pitfalls and challenges that a minister’s family may face, as these can negatively impact the growth of the Church. Conflicts within the family, marital problems, or misconduct by family members can undermine the minister’s effectiveness and harm the reputation of the church. Therefore, ministers and their families should be mindful of cultivating healthy relationships, living out their faith authentically, and addressing any issues that may arise within the family.
While this study focused specifically on the case of Assemblies of God, the findings can be valuable for other churches and denominations as well. It emphasizes the significance of the minister’s family relationship in shaping the spiritual growth of the Church and underscores the importance of nurturing a family lifestyle that aligns with the values and teachings of the faith.
It is worth noting that further empirical research, incorporating a larger sample size and employing more rigorous methodologies, is necessary to provide a comprehensive understanding of the specific impact of a minister’s family relationship on the spiritual growth of the Church. Nonetheless, this study serves as a starting point and offers insights into the potential dynamics at play within the context of Assemblies of God.
Based on the findings and conclusions of this study on the impact of a minister’s family relationship on the spiritual growth of the Church, the following recommendations can be made:
- Emphasize Family Discipleship: Recognize and promote the vital role of the minister’s family in discipleship within the Church. Provide resources, training, and support to help ministers and their families intentionally engage in spiritual growth and formation together. Encourage regular family devotions, shared prayer times, and discussions of faith and values.
- Foster Authenticity and Transparency: Encourage ministers and their families to live out their faith authentically and transparently, acknowledging their imperfections and struggles. This can help create an environment where church members feel comfortable being open and vulnerable about their own spiritual journeys. Authenticity within the minister’s family can inspire and encourage congregants in their own pursuit of spiritual growth.
- Establish Support Systems: Recognize that the minister’s family may face unique challenges and pressures. Establish support systems within the church community to provide counseling, mentorship, and resources for the minister and their family. Encourage open communication and create a safe space for the family to address any conflicts or issues that may arise.
- Continual Professional Development: Offer opportunities for ministers and their families to engage in ongoing professional development, including workshops, conferences, and courses that focus on family dynamics, healthy relationships, and effective communication. This will equip them with the necessary tools to navigate challenges and nurture a positive family environment.
- Encourage Accountability: Foster a culture of accountability within the minister’s family and the broader church community. Encourage open dialogue, accountability partners, and regular assessments of the family’s spiritual well-being. This can help identify areas of growth and provide support when needed.
- Engage in Mentoring Relationships: Encourage ministers and their families to engage in mentoring relationships with experienced and mature believers. Mentors can provide guidance, wisdom, and support, serving as role models for the family and offering insights from their own spiritual journeys.
- Prioritize Family Well-being: Recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance for ministers and their families. Encourage boundaries and time for rest, recreation, and quality family time. A healthy and thriving minister’s family is better equipped to serve and support the spiritual growth of the Church.
- Continual Evaluation and Research: Promote further research and evaluation of the impact of a minister’s family relationship on the spiritual growth of the Church. This will provide more specific and evidence-based insights into best practices and strategies for fostering positive family dynamics within the ministerial context.
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