book review

Copyright© 2021

All Rights Reserved.
No part of this Publication may be reproduced
or transmitted in any form or by any means: electronic or mechanical,
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system, without the permission in writing from the Publisher.
ISBN 978-978-48568-7-4
Published in Nigeria by
Kingdom Power Communication,
Ilorin, Kwara State.
All Correspondence to:
Rev. Peter O. Awojobi, PhD
UMCA Theological College, Ilorin,
Kwara State, Nigeria.
Telephone: +2348033798379
Email –
Printed by:
Modem Impressions, Ilorin.
08035959070, 09018850560
Peter Olanrewaju Awojobi
B.A, M.A, PhD (Ibadan)
his book is dedicated to my friend Late TRev. Ishaya Noma, President of the
United Missionary Church of Africa,
UMCA (2007-2013) for his selfless service to
the Church and humanity.
he Lord is good, all the time. My gratitude goes to God the Tkeeper of my Soul for His grace and protection on my life and
family. God has been good to me in all in everything, may His
name forever be praised.
I would like to appreciate different people who have contributed to the
writing of this book. My gratitude goes to Pastor Samson Oyetayo, Pastor
Dr Samuel O. Olukosi, Revd. Dr J.T. Harman, Revd. Dr E.A Babatunde,
Revd. Dr James F. Adetunji, Revd. John O. Adetunji, Bishop Willie Bolden,
and Bishop Chucks Gift Nnaji for their fatherly counsel and prayers.
I am grateful to all my Doctor of Ministry Students in UMCA
Theological College, Ilorin, ECWATheological Seminary, Igbaja and LIFE
Theological Seminary, Ikorodu for their contribution to this book.
I sincerely thank Revd. Professor Stephen Baba, Dr Cletus Orgu,
Comrade S.O. Ajayi, Rev Dr. T.K. Awojobi, Rev. James Manga, Revd. Paul
Oyeleye, Dr. J.A. Ajala, Pastor Dr Segun Adekunle, Pastor Dr Lola
Kuranga, Revd. Joshua Kuranga, Revd. Ft Lt. Timothy Agboluaje, Dr. S.I.
Olaniyi, Lawyer Segun Awojobi, Revd. Jacob Taiye Aina and Revd. Dotun
Philips for their love and concern for me.
Finally, I appreciate my dear wife, Honey Sarah Abiola Awojobi my
partner in life and ministry for her support, prayers, love and understanding
in our life journey, may God be with us. I also thank our Children; Mercy,
Victory, Emmanuel and Favour for their support.
consider it a singular honour and privilege to be invited to
contribute to the foreword to Rev Dr. Peter Olanrewaju Awojobi’s Ibook “Fundamental Issues in Church Administration.” Many
books have been written and published on this topic by several authors that I
have read but this one is with a difference. I believe that as a church man, Dr.
Awojobi is in the better position to contribute his own quota on such an
important subject like this. He is qualified to share his administrative
experience as a renowned Church leader in Africa. Dr. Awojobi’s book is an
attempt to redirect our focus on God by looking at the past in order to reveal
how God administered His own world that he created and help Church
administrators with biblical principles of proper and effective Church
Administration. The book you are about to read is a shared experience of a
Church administrator. This is one of the essential books on Administration,
a work of a seasoned administrator and an academician. He is a man of God
who has a passion for proper administration of the Church of God. In this
book, Dr. Awojobi reveals several fundamental issues and principles that
could be used for proper and effective administration of the Church of God.
The book has several parts. The first ten (10) chapter deals with issues like
Church discipline, conflict and conflict management, developing personal
integrity in the ministry, spiritual growth, combating stress, issues
bothering on marriage and divorce, retirement, church relating with the
society and lay leadership in the Church of God.

In the next sixteen (16) chapters, Dr. Awojobi’s concern is based on
character as panacea for effective and efficient church ministry, effective
principles of mentoring, principles of lay leadership as an important aspect
of Church ministry. Other areas are Church and politics, the biblical
examples and principles of praying, principles of leadership succession,
proper evangelism and discipleship, youth ministry as an important aspect
of Church Ministry, issues of interpersonal relationship, issue of power and
influence, and the importance of children ministry in the church which has
been neglected in some of the Christian Church and a chapter on causes and
handling of discouragement.
Since Dr. Awojobi is a Christian and Church man, a man of God with a
Mission with Vision, this book touches on preaching and on migration of
Christians from one denomination to the other, welfare package for Church
staff, the issue of spiritual formation and the steps to being spiritually
reformed for both laity and the clergy. Finally, the author is concerned about
interaction of the various religions; he believes that as long as we exist here,
there should be a means by which we should live together in peace. Though
we have diverse religions there is a need for religious interaction that will
promote peace, love and harmony. This book is the author mean’s of
opening the eyes of Church leaders, church administrators, and the entire
readers to matters of urgent attention in the fulfillment of Christ purpose for
the Church on the earth. This is the crux of the book you are holding and
reading. The book shines a clear light into many fundamental issues on
administration and leadership. The book is simple; the language is simple,
pragmatic, and instructive. This book is an indispensable primer for all who
seek to do a dynamic praxis and better administration and governance.
Therefore, I recommend this book to Universities, Theological Institutions,
Church leaders, Biblical Students and anyone who desires to be a
transformational administrator and leader.
Rev. Stephen Oluwarotimi Y. Baba, PhD
Professor of Biblical Studies (OT)
Former Provost, ECWATheological Seminary,
and ECWACollege of Education, Igbaja
am delighted to present to you the book titled “Fundamental Issues
in Church Administration”. The need to write this book arose on Itwo accounts. The first has to do with the necessity to produce a
book with special focus on issues in Church administration in African
perspective. The second is to bear out my mind on how the Church in Africa
should be administered. In writing I have tried to address some of the Issues
that are slowing down the Growth of the Christian Church in our
contemporary time especially in Africa. The issues discussed in this book
are crucial to the Growth and Development of the Church. The book
presupposes that the duty of the Church leaders is not only to preach. The
Church leader is to ensure that every aspect of the life of the Church is
attended to so that the body of Christ is healthy and strong.
Many churches are facing some challenges today because proper
attention has not been paid to issues raised in this book. This book is a wakeup call to Church leaders and members to do the needful for the Church to
fulfill divine purpose. My desire is to see the body of Christ well organized
and ready to fulfill the Great Commission. This book considers among other
things the issues that have been neglected by Church leaders over the years
but which are of utmost importance for the Church to remain healthy and
strong. As a Pastor, Church leader and a Theological educator for about
three (3) decades the issues discussed in this book if correctly addressed in
all denominations and congregations will go along away in solving most of
the leadership and membership crisis that the Church often have.
This book was made possible by the encouragement of many friends,
colleagues, and my present and formers students.
Revd. Peter Olanrewaju Awojobi, PhD.
February, 2021.
DEDICATION ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ……….iv
Church Discipline
Types of Church Discipline
Reasons for Church Discipline
Benefits of Church Discipline
Process of Church Discipline
Guidelines for Church Discipline
Study Questions .
Conflict .
What is Conflict?
Types of Conflict
Causes of Conflict
Conflict Management
Benefits of Conflict Management
Study Questions
What is Integrity?
Biblical Concept of Integrity
Types of Integrity
Necessity for Integrity
How to Develop Personal Integrity
Study Questions
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Spiritual Growth
Definition of Terms
Spiritual Growth for Church Leadership
Effects of Spiritual Growth
Study Questions
Stress ……….
What is Stress?
Reasons for Stress
Contributors to Stress
Why Christians have Stress?
Stress Management
Stress Management Techniques
Study Questions
What is Retirement?
Theology of Retirement
Preparing for Retirement
What Retired Leaders should note
Aconsiderable age for Retirement
Study Questions
Divorce and Remarriage
What is Marriage?
What is Divorce?
Divorce and Remarriage in the Old Testament
Divorce and Remarriage in the New Testament
Divorce and Remarriage in the Contemporary Church
Causes of Divorce
Study Questions
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Church and Society
The Church
The Society
The Impacts of the Church on the Society
Study Questions
Lay Leadership in the Church
The Challenge of Lay Leadership in the Church Today
Biblical Concept of Lay leadership
The Early Church and Leadership
Principles to Develop Lay Leadership
Benefits of Utilizing Lay Leadership
Study Questions
What is Character?
Types of Character
Character for Effective and Efficient Christian Ministry
Study Questions
Concept of Mentoring
History of Mentoring
Purpose of Mentoring
Mentoring Models
Effective Principles of Mentoring
Jesus’ Model of Mentoring
Study Questions
Leadership Succession
The Concept of Leadership Succession
Benefits of Leadership Succession Plan
Hindrances to Leadership Succession
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Study Questions
Definition of Evangelism
Steps to keep Evangelism central in the Church
Leadership involvement in Evangelism
The Scope of Evangelism
The Role of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism
Study Questions
Youth Ministry
Who is a Youth?
Meeting the General Needs of the Youth….
Spiritual Development Needs…..
Nurturing the Youth at different age Levels
Resolving Early Adolescent Conflicts…….
The Young Adult
Qualities of an Adult Leader for the Youth
Study Questions
What is Discipleship?….
Commitment of a Disciple
Transformation Discipleship in the Church
How to Develop a Discipleship Ministry in the Church
Study Questions
Children’s Ministry
The Concept of Children’s Ministry
The Importance of Children’s Ministry
Challenges in Children’s Ministry
Leadership Role in Children’s Ministry
Study Questions
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Church Politics
What is Church Politics?
Election of Officers in the Church
Christians’ involvement in Politics
Study Questions
Concept of Prayer
Types of Prayer
Hindrances to Prayer…..
Biblical Examples of People who prayed..
Importance of Prayer to a Pastor.
Study Questions
Interpersonal Relationship
What is Interpersonal Relationship?
Forms of Interpersonal Relationship
Necessities of Interpersonal Relationship
Stages of Interpersonal Relationship
Benefits of Interpersonal Relationship……
Study Questions
Power and Influence……
Sources of Power
Types of Power
Leadership, Power and Influence
Study Questions
Definitions of Discouragement…
Stages of Discouragement
Causes of Discouragement
Handling Discouragement
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People who Became Discouraged in the Bible……..
How to Overcome Discouragement
Benefits of Discouragement…….
Quotes about Discouragement….
Study Questions
Qualifications of the Preacher….
Necessity of Preaching
Preaching through Social Media
Study Questions
Migration of Christians
What is Migration?……..
The Mainline and Pentecostal Churches….
Causes of Migration of Christians
Implications of Migration of Christians….
Study Questions
Welfare Package to Church Staff
Importance of Church Staff Welfare package
Why should Church Staff be Remunerated?
Fixing Welfare package for Church Staff…
Review of the Church Staff Welfare Package or Compensation
Study Questions
Spiritual Formation…….
What is Spiritual Formation?……
Steps to Spiritual Formation…….
Hindrances to Spiritual Formation
Benefits of Spiritual Formation…
Study Questions
Interaction of Religions
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he word Discipline means training that makes people more Twilling to obey or more able to control themselves, often in the
form of rules, and punishments if these rules are broken; or the
behavior produced by this training: the ability to control yourself or other
people, even in difficult situations. Discipline is a way of life where one
tries to be on time and lives in a systematic way. Discipline is not limited to
money, riches or poverty but it is just a personal orientation towards life. It is
a habit and not an adaptation in life.
Church discipline is the process of correcting sinful behavior among
members of a local church for the purpose of protecting the church,
restoring the sinner to a right walk with God and renewing fellowship
among the church members. In some cases, church discipline can proceed
all the way to excommunication, which is the formal removal of an
individual from church membership and the informal separation from that
individual (See Matt. 18:15-20).
The process of church discipline is never pleasant just as a father never
delights in having to discipline his children. However, church discipline is
necessary. The purpose of church discipline is not to display a holier-thanthou attitude. Rather, the goal of church discipline is the restoration of the
individual to full fellowship with both God and other believers. The
discipline is to start privately and gradually become more public. It is to be
done in love to the individual, in obedience to God, and in the fear of God for
the sake of others in the church. The Bible’s instructions concerning church
discipline imply the necessity of church membership. The church and its
pastor are responsible for the spiritual wellbeing of the members (See 1 Cor.
5:1-13; Eph. 5: 25-27; 2 Sam. 12:14). Any disciplinary action a church takes
against a member is successful when it brings about godly sorrow and true
repentance. When repentance occurs, the individual can be restored to
Types of Discipline
There are different types of Discipline. They are:
1. Formative discipline which helps to form the disciple through
2. Corrective discipline which helps to correct the disciple through
correction of sin (Matt. 18:15-17; Gal. 6:1; Eph. 5:11; Titus 3; 10; 2
Thess. 3:14-15; I Cor. 5:1-13).
3. Preemptive discipline which disallows someone from participating
in the fellowship of the church in the first place (2 John 2:9-10; see an
example of this in Acts 8:17-24).
Reasons Churches Should Practice Church Discipline
1. Church discipline is biblical. Mutual accountability and discipline
within the church is commanded by God in Scripture and is one of the
most important responsibilities of a true church of Jesus Christ (see
Matt. 18:12-20; Rom. 16:17; I Cor. 5;1-13; 2 Cor. 2:5-11; Gal. 2:1-14;
Eph. 5:11; I Thess. 5:14 2 Thess. 3:6-15; I Tim. 1:20; 5:19-20; 2 Tim.
3:1-5; Titus 3:10; Heb. 10:24-30; 12:5-17; 2 John 7-11; Rev. 3:19).
2. Church discipline is an implication of the gospel.
3. Church discipline promotes the health of the church.
4. Church discipline clarifies and burnishes the church’s witness before
the nations.
5. Church discipline warns sinners of a greater judgment to come.
6. Church discipline protects the name and reputation of Jesus Christ on
How Church Discipline Demonstrates Love
1. Church discipline shows love for the individual, that he or she might be
warned and brought to repentance.
2. Church discipline shows love for the church, that weaker sheep might
be protected.
3. Church discipline shows love for the watching world, that it might see
Christ’s transforming power.
4. Church discipline shows love for Christ, that churches might uphold his
holy name and obey him.
The Process of Church Discipline
1. The process should involve as few people as possible for yielding
2. When the process moves beyond one or several people, church leaders
should lead the process.
3. The length of the process depends on how long it takes to establish
that a person is characteristically unrepentant.
4. Individuals should receive the benefit of the doubt until the evidence
indicates otherwise.
5. Leaders should involve and instruct the congregation as appropriate.
The Guideline forChurch Discipline
The under listed should be carefully considered:
1. If a leader falls into sin, it is the responsibility of other leaders to
lovingly confront him and, if he refuses to repent, they should initiate
whatever disciplinary action that is needed to move him toward
repentance and protect others in the church from his wrongful actions.
2. The ultimate goal of all discipline is to train Christians to be selfdisciplined so that they may share in the holiness of God (see Heb.12:7-
3. When an offense is personal and known only to a few individuals,
discipline may not be instituted until there has been a good faith effort to
resolve the matter privately and informally (Matt. 18:15; Gal. 6:1).
4. Discipline shall be carried out in the church in a redemptive, biblically
faithful manner. This requires adherence to acting in a loving, patient,
and redemptive manner, rather than being harsh, abrupt, or vindictive.
5. Be consistent in applying discipline to the people in our church. Be
careful not to show favoritism as you follow your disciplinary
1. Discuss the role of leaders in Church Discipline.
2. Examine the Guidelines for Church Discipline.
3. What are the Reasons for Church Discipline?
4. Discuss the Types of Church Discipline.
onflict means disagreement between individuals or group. CConflict is as old as mankind. It is a salient feature of the human
society. Conflicts are inevitable in any human relationship. The
church of today is not immune to conflicts, several cases of conflicts are
evident in the scriptures such as Adam and Eve rebellion against God (Gen.
3:1-19), Abraham and Lot (Gen. 13), the neglect of the Hellenists widows
(Acts 6:1-6), Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-41), etc. Since conflict is
inevitable, learning to deal with it in a healthy way by church leaders is
crucial. When conflict is mismanaged, it can harm the relationship. But
when handled in a respectful and positive way, conflict provides an
opportunity for growth, ultimately strengthening the bond between two
people. By learning the skills for successful conflict resolution, church
leadership can help members to keep personal and professional
relationships strong and growing.
What is conflict?
According to Coser, “Conflict is a struggle over values and claims to
scare status, power and resources to which the aims of the opponents are to
neutralize, injure or eliminate their rival”(Coser, 1986:8). McSwain and
Treadwell say that “a conflict is a situation in which two or more human
beings desire goals which they perceived as being attainable by one or the
other but not by both” (McSwain, 1981:25). Joyce Hocker and William
Wilmot provide a thorough definition of conflict as “an expressed struggle
between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible
goals, scare rewards, and interference from the other party in achieving
their goals” (Hocker, 1997:86). From the foregoing, conflict can be defined
as an active disagreement, anger, quarrel, hatred, destruction, killing, or
war. Any untoward attitude capable of charging up the political or social and
spiritual environment is likely to culminate in conflict. Greed,
covetousness, self-centeredness, discontent, envy, arrogance, rudeness,
impunity, among other acts, is capable of producing a breakdown of human
relations. In a way, these vices are innate attributes of the ‘conflict nature’ of
Types of Conflict
“Conflict can be classified into four major types; namely, Interpersonal,
Intrapersonal, Intergroup and Intra group” (Evans, 2013).
Interpersonal Conflict: This refers to a conflict between two
individuals. This occurs typically due to how people are different from one
another. We have varied personalities which usually results to incompatible
choices and opinions. Apparently, it is a natural occurrence which can
eventually help in personal growth or developing your relationships with
others. However, when inter-personal conflict gets too destructive, calling
in a mediator would help so as to have it resolved.
Intrapersonal Conflict: This occurs within an individual. The
experience takes place in the person’s mind. Hence, it is a type of conflict
that is psychologically involving the individual’s thoughts, values,
principles and emotions. Intrapersonal conflict may come in different
scales, from the simpler mundane ones like deciding whether to eat or not to
ones that can affect major decisions such as choosing a career. It leads to
restlessness and uneasiness, or can even cause depression. In such
occasions, it would be best to seek a way to let go of the anxiety through
communicating with other people. Eventually, when you find yourself out
of the situation, you can become more empowered as a person. Thus, the
experience evoked a positive change which will help you in your own
personal growth.
Intergroup Conflict: This is a type of conflict that happens among
individuals within a team. The incompatibilities and misunderstandings
among these individuals lead to an intergroup conflict. It arises from
interpersonal disagreements (team members have different personalities
which may lead to tension) or differences in views and ideas (in a
presentation, members of the team might find the notions presented by the
one presiding to be erroneous due to their differences in opinion). Within a
team, conflict can be helpful in coming up with decision which will
eventually allow them to reach their objectives as a team. However, if the
degree of conflict disrupts harmony among the members, then some serious
guidance from a different party will be needed for it to be settled.
Intergroup conflict takes place when misunderstanding arises among
different teams within an organization. For instance, the sales department of
an organization can come in conflict with the customer support department.
This is due to the varied sets of goals and interests of these different groups.
In addition, competition also contributes for intergroup conflict to arise.
There are other factors which fuel this type of conflict. Some of these
factors may include a rivalry in resources or the boundaries set by a group to
others which establishes their own identity as a team.
Conflict may seem to be a problem to some, but this is not how conflict
should be perceived. On the other hand, it is an opportunity for growth and
can be an effective means of opening up among groups or individuals.
However, when conflict begins to draw back productivity and give way to
more conflicts, then conflict management would be needed to come up with
a resolution.
Causes of Conflict in Church
According to Adetunji, “causes of conflict in the church can be listed
under four general headings: spiritual, personal communicative and
behavioural causes.” (Adetunji, 2010:132). Awojobi, numerated six major
causes of church conflict as “human nature, power tussle, organizational
structure, doctrinal matters, leadership and sin of the leader or people.”
(Awojobi, 2003:36). Most of the factors or situations that lead to conflict
can be classified as resulting from: varied perspectives on the situation in
question among members, coupled with differing belief systems and values
resulting from personal background and accumulated life experiences.
Others are differing objectives and interests of individuals and power play
and manipulation, lack of common understanding among group members,
competition for scarce resources and supremacy together with unfulfilled
Conflict Management
Conflict management deals with the practice of recognizing and
dealing with disputes in a rational, balanced and effective way. Norman
Shawchuck opines that, “conflict management is the process of bringing to
a close the activities and attitudes of individuals or groups in the midst of
disagreement, tensions, and behavioral actions which are threatening the
relationships and or the accomplishment of goals in an organization or
institution or church” (Shawchuck, 1993:21).
Another definition states “conflict management to involve acquiring
skills related to conflict resolution, self-awareness about conflict modes,
conflict communication skills, and establishing a structure for management
of conflict in within a given environment” (2003). In a nutshell, conflict
management is viewed as a process of bringing two opposing people,
parties, or groups to harmony.
Conflict Management Styles
– How to Deal with Conflict
Considering the fact that individuals have different points of view,
misunderstandings between or among individuals is unavoidable. With the
arising of these intractable conflicts comes the need for conflict
management. Even in seemingly ordinary situations, conflict may be rooted
by other non-apparent reasons. Understanding the other sides of the issue
would allow those involved to come up with an ideal resolution to the
In dealing with conflict, there are conflict management styles to be
followed. “The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, which is an
assessment used globally in conflict handling, specifies five strategies used
to address conflict, which are, accommodating, avoiding, collaborating,
competing and compromising” (Thomas-Kilmann, 1974).
Accommodating: Accommodation involves having to deal with the
problem with an element of self-sacrifice; an individual sets aside his own
concerns to maintain peace in the situation. Thus, the person yields to what
the other wants, displaying a form of selflessness. This behaviour will be
most efficient if the individual is in the wrong as it can come as a form of
Avoiding: In this approach, there is withdrawal from the conflict. The
problem is being dealt with through a passive attitude. Avoiding is mostly
used when the perceived negative end outweighs the positive outcome. In
employing this, individuals end up ignoring the problem, thinking that the
conflict will resolve itself.
Collaborating: Collaborating aims to find a solution to the conflict
through cooperating with other parties involved. Hence, communication is
an important part of this strategy. Collaborating individuals aim to come up
with a successful resolution creatively, without compromising their own
Competing: Competition involves authoritative and assertive
behaviors. In this style, the aggressive individual aims to instill pressure on
the other parties to achieve a goal. It includes the use of whatever means to
attain what the individual thinks is right.
Compromising: This is about coming up with a resolution that would
be acceptable to the parties involved. Thus, one party is willing to sacrifice
their own sets of goals as long as the others will do the same. Hence, it can be
viewed as a mutual give-and-take scenario where the parties submit the
same amount of investment for the problem to be solved.
Given the different conflict management styles, it is important to note
that the strategy involved in coming up with a resolution is relative to the
kind of the problem. “Every conflict is a struggle, to have one’s goals met.”
Sometimes, this struggle may succeed at other time it may fails.
Benefits of Conflict Management
Sherrie Campbell listed ten benefits of conflict management, eight of
which are discussed as follows:
1. It opens our eyes to new ideas (Campbell, 2016). As thoughts are
expressed back and forth we allow someone else to fine-tune the truth we
are communicating, as our perspective becomes further shaped against
theirs. Conflict is incredibly useful as a creative, fine-tuning instrument to
our own ideas. In hearing another person’s perception it helps to mold
and clarify our own; either making us more clear and committed to our
original position, or the conflict will open our eyes to new perspectives on
our ideas. Conflict is an effective vehicle for the generation of new
solutions, gaining trust and developing deeper agreements; all of which are
great for networking, bonding and the establishing successful connections.
2. It creates opportunity to verbalize needs. Most people do not get what
they want because they do not say what they want. Conflict provides an
opportunity to verbalize our needs to get them met. Who we are and
what we stand for in the workplace largely determines our levels of success.
There is a balance we must forge where we can take a stand on issues
without being too aggressive and also without being a complete pushover.
Conflict, confrontation and/or speaking up make us more resilient and less
fearful when asking for what is needed.
3. It teaches flexibility: If we are in conflict we are not only going to have
others adjusting to us and our perspectives, but we will also be adjusting to
others and their perspectives. Humility and openness are two admirable
qualities to come from conflict. We have to discipline ourselves to not
always have to be right. The more open and flexible we can be, the better a
reputation we develop for being fair and intelligent.
4. It teaches us to listen. The key to any successful conflict resolution is
the ability to listen. Most are so focused on litigation they have zero ability
to listen; their only desire is to win. Successful relationships and/or
negotiations cannot be forged with defensive, dominating people. Listening
takes patience and the discipline to control our impulses to speak. It takes
being able to put ourselves and our thoughts to the side so we can fully take
another perspective in. To truly listen to someone, listening must be active,
not passive. When we listen we thrive amongst the elite in the business
world. Listening gives us access to the information we need to make smart
and lucrative decisions.
5. It teaches us patterns of behavior: As we engage in conflict
management, we learn about how others work, their style of
communication and their points of view. Knowing patterns helps us to be
more effective in our relationships as they provide some level of
predictability. Predictability is effective when strategizing in negotiations.
When we listen, we get to know how people think and we gain insight into
how they operate. This knowledge helps us define and work within their
patterns, allowing us to respect limits and to predict where and when we can
push without being offensive and still get the deal done. Knowing patterns
makes us more prepared and confident when dealing with any type of
uncertainty or disagreement.
6. It leads to solutions: When structures or agreements that are in place
are no longer working, something new has to come into play. Change is
hard. It creates discomfort and we naturally want to hang on to what once
worked even when it is clearly outdated and in need of upgrading. To be
successful all things need to be in the process, being “in development.” For
our businesses to grow the entire foundation of our businesses must be
consistently analyzed, discussed, negotiated and fine-tuned. Conflict is the
backdoor to reinvention and innovation.
7. It helps us practice communication skills: Communication is a skill
that requires self-control, patience and intelligence. It requires that we be
real and authentic. If we back down from conflict we end up being
disingenuous. We end up not communicating our perspective out of some
form of fear. Conflict is hard for everyone, yet the more we engage in
conflict the better a communicator we become. This is not to say we should
go out and create conflict, but the intention is not to be afraid to participate
in conflict when it arises. Deal with it and be open to the element of surprise.
8. It helps us practise emotional control: We do not have to be so
emotional all the time. If we want to be taken seriously we must approach
conflict seriously. We must learn to remain calm and to use the least amount
of words to get our point across, all the while remaining firm and flexible
when setting our way. Perseverance and self-control are the keys to
successful conflict resolutions. When we are in control of ourselves people
can better relate to us, count on us and trust our intentions.
In Christian churches today, one of Satan’s most successful strategies
for keeping churches weak and ineffective is fighting and unresolved
conflict. This is a life and death issue to our local churches. But it is also very
important to our leaders because they are most often at the centre of conflict
or have to manage conflict. Conflict that is dealt with, discussed, managed,
and resolved can be good. This kind of conflict provides an opportunity for
growth and creative change. On the other hand, conflict that is left
unattended and ignored can destroy unity, hinder growth and render
ministry ineffective. Based on this background, the church must always be
prepared to become actively involved in the ministry of reconciliation and
conflict management.
1. “Conflicts are inevitable in any human relationship” Discuss.
2. Examine the Types of Conflicts you have studied.
3. Discuss the Conflict management Styles.
4. What are the Benefits of Conflict Management?
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Church Administration for Students and Ministers. Ibadan: Baptist
Press (Nigeria) Limited, 2010.
Awojobi Peter Olarenwaju. Church Management. Ilorin: Kingdom Power
Communication, 2003.
Bennis Warren. Why Leaders Can’t Lead. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
Publishers, 1989.
Bridges Charles. A Commentary on Proverbs. Reprint, Carlisle, PA: The
Banner of Truth, 1983.
Campbell Sherrie. Loving Yourself the Mastery of Being (28th July,
2016). Accessed
Catchpole David. Critical Introduction to the Old Testament. Cambridge
University Press, 1996.
Coser, A. Lewis. The Function of Social Conflict. New York: The Free
Press, 1986.
D. A. Neaale. “None But the Sinners: Religious Categories in the Gospel of
Luke,” Journal of Biblical Literature 58, 1991.
Evans Brad. Types of Conflict-Four Classification. 16th August, 2013.
Filley Albert. Conflict Resolution. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley
Longman, 1975.
Fisher Roger and Kopelman Elizabeth. Beyond Machiavelli: Tools for
Coping with Conflict. New York: Pengiun, 1996.
Hocker L. Joyce and Wilmot W. William. Interpersonal Conflict, 5th ed.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.
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Church. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1981.
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Relationship,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 6,
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Stalemate and Settlement. McGraw-Hill, 2003. Accessed 13/05/2017.
Shawchuch Norman. How to Manage Conflict in the Church. Irvine, CA:
Spiritual Growth Resources, 1993.
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Management (2003).
Thomas W. Kenneth, Kilmann Ralph. Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode
Instrument. New York, USA: xicom, 1974.
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n looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity,
intelligence and energy, and if you do not have the first one, the Iother two will kill you. Success will come and go; integrity is
forever. Integrity means doing the right thing at all times in all
circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. Integrity is the scarcest
virtue and less talk about today and is in both the sacred and secular. Church
leaders both great and small over-promise and under-deliver while church
members exaggerate in job interview because they desperately need a job
and Christian market men and women swore in the name of God to sell their
wares in dishonest manners. In churches today, dishonesty is being
celebrated in corridors of power and this makes people to question the
existence of the church and the commitment of its members to the teaching
of Christ.
Financial gain, popularity and power of influence are temporal but
profit in a network of people who trust in the leader as a person of integrity is
forever. Therefore, integrity is a priceless virtue that lives on after the leader
is far gone. Building a reputation of integrity takes years but it takes only a
second to lose. A leader should not do anything that will damage his
integrity. It takes courage to develop integrity and not minding the
consequence of his stand on the issue of integrity. It is regarded by many
people as the honest and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. If
integrity is observed as part of leadership core values, then, there is no need
of whistle blower.
What is Integrity?
It is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, the
state of being whole and undivided. Integrity is the qualifications of being
honest and having strong moral principles, moral uprightness. It is
generally a personal choice to hold oneself to consistent moral and ethical
standard. Integrity is a personal quality of fairness that will all aspire to have
unless you are a dishonest, moral scoundrel, of course. Having integrity
means doing right thing in a reliable way. Firm adherence to a code of moral
or artistic: incorruptibility; an unimpaired condition; soundness, the quality
or state of being complete or undivided conditions; completeness, honestly,
sincerity, singleness of purpose. Although Jesus did not use the word
“integrity” he called for purity of heart, singleness of purpose and purity of
Integrity stems from the word “integer” which means whole and
complete, so, integrity is an inner sense of “wholeness” and consistency of
character. It involves transparency and consistency in actions, words,
decisions, methods, values, principles, expectations and outcome. Integrity
is the first and most important elements that a leader must have order to be
referred to as an effective leader. Integrity is about being the same
regardless of the situation. Consistency is a choice that one makes as leaders
in daily situation. Honesty or accuracy of one’s actions requires
intentionally tough decision. Men of integrity values what is honest, true,
noble, trustworthy, kind and right ahead of personal gain.
Integrity is really the body that holds a man’s other virtues together; it is
really the bond that holds a man who has successfully integrated all good
principles of his life is a unified whole. According to Kenneth Boa “there
must be consistency between what is inside and what is outside” (Boa,
2006:14). Power is actualized only when word and deed have not parted
company” (Weems,1993:125). Integrity is the highest mountain on which
every Christian leader must stand. Integrity must be the core of leadership
activities. “No other professional is expected to model integrity as is a
church minister … it is the ethical wholeness of life demanded of the
Christian minister” (Trull & Carter, 1993:59).
Biblical Concept of Integrity
The translation of the Hebrew word tom, “simplicity” “soundness”
“completeness,” is also rendered also “upright,” “perfection.” Its original
sense appears in the phrase “letom” (1 Kg. 22:34; II Chron. 18:33); in all
places, it seems to carry the meaning of simplicity, sincerity of heart and
intention, truthfulness, uprightness. In the plural “tummim,” it is one of the
words on the breastplate of the high priest (Ex. 28:30; Deut. 33:8). Another
word translate “Integrity” is “tummah,” from “tamam,” “to complete,” “be
upright,” “perfect.” The word “integrity” does not occur in the New
Testament, but its equivalents may be seen in “sincerity,” “truth,” the “pure
The term “integrity appears sixteen times in the scripture, it is used to
describe biblical characters like David (Ps. 7:8), Solomon (1Kings 9:4) and
Job (Job 2:9). None of them were morally perfect but they each modeled a
life of wholeness and maturity.
During Samuel’s farewell speech after having led for decades, Samuel
promised to repay anything he has unjustly taken from anyone but no one
person rose up to make claim against Samuel. His honesty and personal
integrity permeated every area of his life. Samuel held himself accountable
to the people he led. He opened himself up to scrutiny of everyone with
whom he ever had dealings. People want to know that their leaders can be
trusted. They want to know that leaders will keep promises and follow
through commitments. Promises and commitment are significant. Biblical
integrity is not just doing right things; it’s a matter of having the right heart
and allowing the person you are on the inside to watch the person you are on
the outside. This is how God is. This is how his people should be. God is
totally consistent. His actions and behaviors always match his character and
nature. The word integrity suggests a person whose life is whole and
wholesome (Sproul, 1987).
In the New Testament Paul reminded Timothy that in personal
character, family, relationships and spiritual commitments, the one called to
shepherd God’s flocks must be above reproach. In his book, Charles
Swindoll concludes on integrity that, “when one has integrity there is an
absence of hypocrisy; he is personally reliable, financially accountable,
privately clean and innocent of impure motive” (Swindoll, 1989:190).
Integrity includes both who you are and what you are (Trull & Carter,
1993:60). It is also “ethical, soundness, intellectual veracity and moral
excellence; it keeps us from fearing the white light of close examinations
and from resisting the scrutiny of accountability” (Swindoll, 1989:191).
Types of Integrity
Weems posit two types of integrity, they are: Personal integrity and
Organizational integrity. It means that the same personal values and
organizational aims will powerfully influence what a person does and says
(Weems, 1993:123-127).
a) Personal Integrity: One crucial aspect of clergy professional ethics is
personal integrity and trustworthiness. The need for a leader’s personal
integrity is significantly important to his effectiveness and the trust that the
people he is leading put in him and his work. A Leader must be a person
whom the people can put trust. Personal integrity is the quality of being
honest with yourself and others and living a life that aligned with ones moral
b) Organizational Integrity: Organizational integrity refers to the
ethical integrity of the individual leaders, the ethical quality of their
interactions as well as that of the dominating norms, activities, decision
making, procedures and results within a given organization. An Individual
might be regarded as the main point of reference for analyzing
organizational integrity. It goes beyond managerial integrity and is more
than the presence of individuals with good character within the
organization. Having a leader with personal integrity is certainly precondition for organizational integrity. There is no way an organization can
have integrity without individual leaders that maintain their integrity. It is
clear that personal integrity of the leader is equal to organizational integrity.
The Necessity for Integrity
a) Living with integrity is easier than living with a deceitful life. While
making unethical decision is often in short term, it eventually takes its toll.
There’s no real happiness to be found in struggling to remember ones lies,
living in fear of getting caught and not feeling like one truly earned one’s
reward. Living with integrity brings wholeness and peace. The leader’s
conscience can rest easy and you can look at oneself in the mirror with pride.
b) Integrity Builds Trust: Aman of integrity is a man others can count on,
they know he will do what he says he will do. He is promoted at work
because he can be trusted with greater responsibility. The church follows
such a leader to carry out the desired goal. The people around a leader of
integrity, the church members feel comfortable opening up to him and
turning to him in times of crisis. When a leader chose to live with integrity
all his relationship will be healthier, stronger and more satisfying.
c) Integrity serves as a basis for value judgments. Acommitment to live a
life of integrity allows ones clarity when there is a difficult or hard decision
or choice to make. Such leader will not be at war with himself over which
part of choose. Instead, he will experience the confidence that comes with
How to Develop Personal Integrity
Developing integrity requires a leader to examine his beliefs and value
system and taking conscious steps to behave in a way that is consistent with
church leadership codes. In order to be a leader who talks his walk and walk
his talk, there must be the desire to live a life of integrity. The following are
steps to follow:
a) Be ruthlessly honest with yourself. Of all the lies a leader tells, the one
he tells himself are most deadly. Aleader must always question his motives.
He must stop justifying what he knows to be wrong. He must stop accusing
himself and own up to his weakness and limitation.
b) Determine your reasons for not behaving with greater integrity. Face
the obstacles that weaken you to excuse yourself, lie or violate your moral
code. Get involved in finding a more suitable use of your gifts and ability.
c) Build relationship at home and your work place through greater
truthfulness, being candid. Part of developing personal integrity is
gauging when and how to deliver the truth. Be careful not to confuse
truthfulness with anger-driven and brutally honest confrontation.
d) Seek wise counsel. Every leader has blind spots. It is one thing to be
honest with one but sometimes a leader is just blind to faults other can see. A
leader must have accountability group who believe in him and ask them for
feedback in his life.
e) Decide to honor God, not please people, doing the right thing is
almost never an easy thing, sometimes it is not the popular thing.Aleader
must have to live with long view of what to do, inform by the scripture.
Whatever a leader does, the motive must be to honor God not minding the
f) Put yourself first in personal growth. A leader of integrity needs to
build a solid spiritual, emotional and relational foundation for his life.
When a leader builds a solid foundation for his life, he will be healthy to lead
others on the path he knows.
g) Respect the property of others; a leader of integrity who wants to lead a
trustworthy group must make a concerted effort to respect other people’s
belongings. He must not misuse his position of leadership.
h) Listen to and respect the opinion of others. Part of possessing personal
integrity is protecting the human right of the people the leader is leading.
Respecting diverse thoughts and decisions is a sign of open mindedness and
i) Develop your accountability. A leader of integrity must learn to admit
when he made a mistake and apologize for it. Aleader must not play “blame
game” he must own up and admit to doing something wrong. It is easier to
be more honest and avoid the same mistake in future.
j) Improve your communication skill and speak with heart. A leader of
integrity must speak with clarity and avoid ambiguity in his
communication, let your followers understand your language, avoid
speaking in parables.
k) Operate with wisdom. Integrity is opening with the wisdom of God
which can only be acquired through direct fellowship with God and His
word. Wisdom is profitable to direct.
l) Prayer is another veritable tool that a man of integrity must operate
with because prayer will bring divine understanding and intervention. A
leader that will display integrity must be prayerful because it is only God
that helps one succeed in life.
1. What is Integrity?
2. Discuss the Types of Integrity.
3. Examine how an Individual can develop Personal Integrity.
4. Discuss the Necessity for Integrity.
Boa, Kenneth. The Perfect Leader. England, Eastbourne: Kingsway
Communication, n.p. 2006.
Woolfe, Lorin. The Bible on Leadership: From Moses to MatthewManagement Lessons for Contemporary Leaders. USA, NY:
AMACOM, A Division of American Management Association,
Rise and Shine. AWake-Up Call. Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1989.
Sproul, R. C. One Holy Passion: The Consuming Thirst to Know Go.
Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1987.
Trull, Joel E. and Carter, James E. Ministerial Ethics: Being A Good
Minister is a Not-So-Good World. USA: Broadman & Holman,
Weems, Loveth H. Church Leadership: Vision Team, Culture and Integrity.
Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993.
Internet Sources
enerally, the subject of spiritual growth or development is an Gessential issue of life, especially in the life of any believer in
Christ. It is a major issue of life because it is true that the
spiritual control the physical. Therefore, church leadership spiritual growth
is very key and fundamental to church growth. Accordingly, the role, extent
and impart of spiritual growth on church leadership cannot be
overemphasized with regards to the issue of church growth. Spirituality is
the equivalent of core strength for leaders. It is the wellspring of all the traits
we associate with leaders: conviction, inner strength, humility, compassion,
and my favorite, fearlessness. Spirituality is what connects us to our higher
selves, the spark that animates and inspires as we relate to others.
From creation, it is the ultimate desire and purpose of the Almighty God
that every living creature must and should grow from immaturity stage to
full maturity stage and keep growing and developing from stage to stage.
Thus, it is absurd if any living creature is found not growing at all. Again, it
is also highly expected that from birth, young progeny and descendants
should grow from immaturity and continue to grow until it is fully grown
into matured adults. So, it could be postulated that from cradle to grave,
spiritual growth, like all other types of growth is a must for all creature.
Hence, it is major human desire to grow from strength to strength.
Definition of Terms:
We shall attempt to define the key words in the topic: They are: Spiritual
and Growth.
The term spiritual has to do with something affecting the human spirit
or soul as opposed to material or physical things. It is (of a person) not
concerned with material values or pursuits and or relating to religion or
religious belief. The term spiritual is an adjective of the word spirit. The
word Spirit in this context is a supernatural being or essence such as the
Holy Spirit. It is a very significant principle held to give life to physical
organisms. Spiritual denotes being supernatural or becoming supernatural
in nature. It is pertaining to God. To be spiritual implies having the ability to
act and exhibit heavenly qualities. It is being characterized predominance
of the spirit. It is also related to sacred, religious and devotional matters.
The word growth denotes visible evidence of increase in size, number,
value and strength. It is act of getting bigger and higher in size as well in
value and in quality. It is an enlargement, increase, increment, development
and maturation. Then, what is Spiritual Growth?
From the foregoing, spiritual growth can be defined as the process of
becoming more and more like Jesus Christ. It is when believers place their
faith in Jesus Christ, the Saviour; then the Holy Spirit begins the process of
making each of them to become more like Him. It is becoming conformed to
the image of Jesus Christ. (2 Pet. 1: 3-8).
Evidence of spiritual growth includes:
1) Increasing in your knowledge and understanding of God’s word;
2) Decreasing in your frequency and severity of sin;
3) Increasing in your practice of Christ-like qualities, and
4) Increasing in your faith and trust in God.
Perhaps the best summary of spiritual growth is becoming more like
Jesus Christ. In 1st Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “Follow my example, as I
follow the example of Christ.” Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of what
it truly means to be spiritual. When the transformation of salvation takes
place, spiritual growth begins. The Holy Spirit indwells us as captured in
(John 14:16-17), and so at this point, we are new creatures in Christ (2
Corinthians 5:17). Consequently, spiritual growth is a lifelong process that
demands continuous study of the Bible (2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Gal.
According to Rodney H. Clarken, there are “six main essential
requisites for Spiritual growth” (Clarken, 2011:23) that every Christian/
leader must embrace and possess for tangible evidence to visible. They are:
1. Pray (Prayer), 2. Read (Study), 3. Instruct (Teach), 4. Strive, 5.
Mediate (Ponder or Reflect), and 6. Serve. The acronym for remembering
the six essential prerequisites is PRISMS; where the P is Pray, the R is
Read, I is Instruct (Teach), the S is Strive, the M is Mediate (Ponder or
Reflect) an the S is Serve. Christian Leaders who desire to possess and
demonstrate spiritual growth must engage himself in the acquisition of each
of these prerequisites and master them each of them is essential for spiritual
Spiritual Growth forChurch Leadership
1. Faith – belief in a higher power, spiritual dimension, or guiding
2. Mindfulness – consciousness, inner-connection, and present-moment
3. Service – service to others, compassion and kindness in thoughts or
action; or
4. Fellowship – interaction with others, spiritual exchange, community.
Learning how to grow spiritually is a life-long journey which occurs as
you pray, read and apply God’s word to your life (2 Timothy 3:16-17). This
is the essence of spiritual growth. Another major step or key in the process
of Christian growth is walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-18, 24-26; Eph.
5:18; Rom. 6:11-14).
Spiritual Growth – How to Start
Talking about spiritual growth, Joseph Campbell’s famous book, The
Hero with a Thousand Faces, says a spiritual journey starts with a “call to
adventure” (Giesea, 2014) – a catalyst or sign that sets us on our quest. This
directly implies that spiritual growth is a journey that usually starts with a
call to adventure. The call will act as the catalyst or sign that propel
movement in the direction of the adventure or quest.
Spiritual Growth – Results and Effects
The first major visible evidential result and effect of spiritual growth in
the life of any church leader and even genuine believer is the change in
behavior, conduct, performance and activities. This apparent and
discernible change in the life of church leaders and members is a life-long
process of less and less reduction in the manifestation, acts and the desires
of the flesh in (Galatians 5:19-20) and increasing more and more in
production and acts of the fruit of the Spirit in (Galatians 5:22-23). It is
important to note, that it is the Holy Spirit who produces the fruit of the
Spirit in believers and church leaders. All Church leadership and even
membership must submit themselves to the leading of the Spirit because it
is the Spirit who produces the fruit of spiritual growth in lives of leaders and
believers cum members.
According to Harold L. Longenecker, said “vibrant growth does not
happen in cold sterile settings. However, the circle Jesus formed in which
the disciples lived and moved was honest, warm, accepting, supportive,
even confrontational and prayerful. It called for accountability but offered
immeasurable blessings in return.” (Longeneckerr, 1995:50).
He further identified the following dimensions of growth as the
disciples where in close companionship with the Lord, Jesus Christ.
* Conceptual Growth: The disciples grew conceptually through
private tutoring Mark 4:10, 34; 7:17; 8:15. Once and again Jesus turns from
the crowd to share special insights with His men, to more carefully explain
the truth he had given others.
* Experiential Growth: They grew experientially as they shared
dramatic glimpses of His glory. For example, in chapter 5; Peter, James and
John went with Him to heal the daughter of Jarius. In chapter 6; he appeared
to his men on the sea as they rowed valiantly to reach shore.
* Emotional Growth: They grew emotionally as he opened himself
to them at deep emotional level. Imagine being there as he is rejected in its
home town. “A prophet is not without honor,” he says except in his own
country and among his own People.
* Spiritual Growth: They grew spiritually as he led them to confess
his deity at Caesarea Philippi. Peter spoke for them all when he said, “You
are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matt. 16:16). Peter’s profession
stands as an ultimate witness to the revealing and illuminating work of the
Spirit of God.
* Practical Growth: They grew practically as he taught them to
serve others. They went out at his command; preaching, healing and casting
out devils etc.
In conclusion, the role of spiritual growth or spirituality for Christian
leadership is very significant. Also, the impact on the church is always
highly tremendous. So, all the leaders should endeavour to avail themselves
to the acquisition of all the essential requisites necessary for spiritual
growth, development and advancement. It could be safe to declare that
without definite evidence of spiritual growth, it is not possible for any
Christian leader to lead the church effectively.

1. Discuss the Importance of Spiritual Growth to a Christian and Church
2. What are the processes involved in Spiritual Growth?
3. Examine the effects of Spiritual Growth on a Christian
Jeff Giesea. Jan 17, 2014.
Rodney H. Clarken.
Essential Requisited for Spiritual Growth, 2011.
Harold L. Longeneckerr, Growing Leaders by Design; How to use Biblical
Principles for Leadership Development.
What is Stress?
tress is what you feel when you have to handle more than you are Sused to. When you are stressed, your body responds as though
you are in danger. It makes hormones that speed up your heart,
make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy. This is called the
fight-or-flight stress. Sometimes stress is normal and even useful. Stress
can help if you need to work hard or react quickly. For example, it can help
you win a race or finish an important job on time. It is impossible to live in a
world without stress. It is natural but can be managed to what is felt or
interpreted. When we think of stress, we often think negatively but there is
also good stress.
1. Good Stress (eustress) is associated with feelings of joy,
fulfillment and achievement.
2. Bad Stress (distress) may involve prolonged and frequent
transactions that take place between you and your environment
(Burley-Allen, 2003:162-183).
However, if stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad
effects. It can be linked to headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, and
trouble sleeping. It can weaken your immune system, making it harder to
fight off disease. It can make you moody, tense, or depressed. Your
relationships may suffer, and you may not do well at work. There are many
reasons for stress:
a. The disparity between idealistic expectations and reality.
b. Lack of clear defined boundaries.
c. Peter principle-feeling inadequate in leading an army of
d. Conflict in being a leader, trying to please everyone.
e. Trying to be a “servant” to everyone.
f. Time management problems.
g. Problems with self-esteem.
h. Multiplicity of roles.
i. Inability to produce a “win-win” conflict resolution.
Contributors to Stress:
a. Bio-ecological factors related to poor diet and poor exercise habits.
b. Vocational factors include career uncertainty, role ambiguity, role
conflicts, role overload and so on.
c. Psychological factors relate principally to the great life stressorsloss of loved one, divorce, personal injury or illness, financial
difficulties, etc.
d. Spiritual factors that cause stress include temptations of all kinds,
pornography, sexual fantasies or sexual inappropriateness, despair
if your church is not growing, jealousy of the success of others and
any other way you feel the devil can get to you (Dale, 1986:213-
Why are Christians Affected?
a. The very nature of their work in caring for people.
b. The heavy, self imposed workload of contentious ministers (a sense
of duty).
c. A false sense of security assuming that it could never happen to
Examples are:
a. Moses was almost on the verge of burnout with the stress of judging
the people alone (Exo. 18:15-27).
b. Elijah experienced burnout (I Kgs. 19:1-8).
c. David – Psalms 42:11.
d. Jesus
e. Ephaphroditus – Phil. 2:25-30,
How Does Burnout Occur?
a. The mental and emotional power is completely exhausted.
b The victim can no longer cope with life and its responsibility (fed
up with life).
Causes: Overwork, long hour of work, insufficient holidays or breaks,
unfulfilled expectations, carrying other people’s problem and worries,
heavy responsibility of leaders, too little relaxation, post vital depression.
Stages:Isolation, paramecia, exhaustion, hiding, self-pity, depression.
How do you recognize it?
Spiritual Symptoms:Inability to read the Bible and pray; unable to
serve God; strained relationship.
Psychological Symptoms:
a. Anxiety, worry, apathy, hopelessness.
b. Depression, fear, low self-esteem
Loss of creativity and productivity, inability to relax, rapid loss or gain
in weight, inability to concentrate and think straight.
Stress Management
As much as stress is part of life, the good news is that you can learn
ways to manage stress. To get stress under control:
a. Find out what is causing stress in your life.
b. Look for ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life.
c. Learn healthy ways to relieve stress and reduce its harmful effects.
Practical Ways to Reduce Stress
Set healthy boundaries. Boundaries need to be set in the following areas
so that you can enjoy healthy relationships with persons around:
a. Time: Ensure you plan your time and stick to schedules to avoid
b. Authority: Learn to delegate duties. Trust others to handle
important responsibilities and make clear everyone’s role so that you no
longer have to be the filter for every inquiry and concern. Successful
delegation will empower your volunteers and staff members and will focus
your leadership and streamline your organization. Disorganization and lack
of focus can be a key stress or in any leadership position.
c. Goals: Set achievable goals within reasonable time limit. When
your goals are boundless, knowing how and where to start, much less how
and where to stop, can be an enormous stressor (Elder, 2005:43).
Stress Management Techniques
Effective stress management techniques can help counter the negative
effects of stress in your life. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of stress
management techniques that can bring relief quickly and, if practiced
regularly, permanently. Some of these techniques include:
a. Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy is healing and relaxation
techniques that make use of scent of essential oils. Dozens of essential oils
deliver stress relief, but you cannot go wrong with lavender. Lavender is the
most studied and possibly the most versatile of all essential oils. Put a few
drops on your wrists, dab some under your nose or diffuse in the air for
instant stress relief. It is generally relaxing and it has anti-anxiety,
antidepressant and mood stabilizing properties (Emmons & McCullough,
b. Diaphragmatic Breathing: Stress reduction does not get any
easier, or more fundamental, than learning how to breathe properly. When
you’re under stress, your chest feels tight and your breathing becomes
shallow and rapid. This is a hardwired response to danger that is supposed to
be temporary. But most adults breathe this way all the time which
unfortunately keeps us in a “flight or fight” mode. The most basic breathing
exercise is to consciously breathe from your diaphragm.
c. Nature: Go outside and spend some time in nature. It will lower
your cortical, blood pressure and pulse rate. It does not have to be a major
outing – simply spending a few minutes outside and when you go, leave
your Smartphone behind. Taking a few minutes to look at pictures of nature
can help reduce your stress level, anger and fear and put you in a better
mood (Guffey, 2003:506-508).
d. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Under stress, the muscles get
tight. You may feel it in your back, neck or shoulders and these tight muscles
are not only caused by stress, and they contribute to stress. Progressive
muscle relaxation is a simple technique that involves tensing and relaxing
specific groups of muscles in a systematic way to break the vicious cycle of
stress and muscle tension (Pedler, Burgoyne &Boydell, 1994:129-132).
e. Music: Listening to your favorite kinds of songs can help reduce
f. Social Hangouts: Create time for breaks and vacations to be to
spend quality time with family and friends in relaxing spots.
g. Assertiveness: Assertive management or supervision may
improve your skill in dealing with stress or anxiety. Some assertive
behaviors include:
1. Build your own healthy self-esteem-value, your thoughts, feelings,
schedule, and goals.
2. Place a high value on the thoughts, feelings, rights and expectations
of others.
3. Listen to others, really hear what they have to say and give honest,
clear feedback.
4. Take the risk of asking for what you want or is expected; don’t be
defensive permissive, or judgmental.
5. Say “no” persistently and with respect; do it as soon as you know;
but get right to work on your “yes.”
6. Schedule your time with a sense of purpose, goals, direction and
7. Relax: plan some slack in your mental and physical activity.
8. Carry work or leisure material for inevitable “while you wait”
9. Look for the humor, the joy, the surprise, the lesson in experiences.
10. Remember to love yourself and your family as you loves others
11. Overcome stage fright: One of the most common experiences of
stress is “stage fright” – a very real, often acute, kind of workrelated stress: a nervousness, dread, or fear before and /or during a
public performance before an audience. Developing stage presence
is an appropriate response to overcoming stage-fright. In this
context, “presence” is the quality of self-assurance and
effectiveness that permits the speaker/minister to achieve a
rapport with the audience (Goldman, 2017).
12. Perspective: Developing some perspective on problems may not
help you solve them, but it does keep them from debilitating you.
So, learn to laugh at yourself when you need to. Learn to focus your
concentration on those things you can control, rather than fretting
over those you cannot. Learn to distinguish the big things from the
small things and don’t react the same way to both. Have a positive
attitude in getting things done (Whiteman,Verghese &
13. Gratitude: Expressing gratitude creates a surge of feel-good brain
chemicals that will make you feel happier and more relaxed. A
common way of expressing gratitude is by journaling – writing
about things you are grateful for – but I find sharing grateful
thoughts with others even better. This benefits both you and the
recipient. Feeling and expressing gratitude reduces stress and
increases emotional resilience. It will help you relax and sleep
better if you do it right before you go to bed (Brett & Younger,
1. What is Stress?
2. Discuss the Causes of Stress.
3. Examine Stress management Techniques.
4. Discuss the Relationship between Stress and Burn Out.
Dale, Robert D. Pastoral Leadership. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1986.
Elder, Lloyd. Stress Management: Getting on Top of Stress in Ministry.
SkillTrack® 2005 (2nd Edition), Vol. 11.
Emmons, R. A. and McCullough M. E. Counting Blessings Versus Burdens:
An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective WellBeing in Daily Life. J. Pers Soc Psychol, 2003, 84(2).
Ernest, Kolade. Stress Management for Ministers in “Minister’s Manual:
Guides for Success in Life and Ministry.” Ilorin: Villaxinc Printers,
Goldman, Rena. Jacobson Relaxation Technique. Healthline Newsletter,
Guffey, Mary Ellen. Business Communication. Ohio, Mason: Thomson
South-Western, 2003.
Park, B. J., et. al. The Physiological Effects of Shinrin-Yoku (Taking in the
Forest Atmosphere or Forest Bathing): Evidence from Field
Experiments in 24 Forests Across. Japan, Environ 2010: 15(1).
Pedler, Mike; Burgoyne, John and Boydell, Tom. A Manager’s Guide to
Self-Development. London: McGraw-Hill, 1994.
Whiteman; Thomas, Verghese, Sam and Petersen, Randy. The Complete
Stress Management Workbook: Your Personal Step-by-Step
Program for Handling the Stress in your Life. Grand Rapids, MI:
Zondervan Publishing, 1996.
Younger Brett and Carol. Living with Stress: Nurturing Joy in a TensionFilled World. Macon GA, Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 1994.
Zukerand, Burley-Allen. The Assertive Manager. SkillTrack Journal, 2003.

he period of active service, that is, when the pursuit of a career
begins, up of official age of retirement, is undoubtedly the most Texciting period of life (Omotayo, 2012:1) because it comes
different opportunities for application of professional knowledge,
creativity and planning skills, a time to move from one place to another in
search of greener pastures, a time when all faculties are fully awake to any
call to function. However, like anything that has a beginning must have an
end. This end is when the unrestrained exuberance of youthful blood gives
way to the softness of emerging old age. The good old days are gone leaving
behind the benefit of the hindsight, allowing a recognition of past mistakes,
but sadly cannot be corrected. This is called retirement, either voluntarily or
According to Harris, only two percent of North Americans consider the
age over sixty as the best in life, while thirty percent of those between age
eighteen and sixty-four consider retirement age as the least desirable. Also
thirty percent of North American describes retirement as the least desirable
stage of life; successful retirement is not a treatment plan for individuals
who, because of age, have finally grown inactive, disabled, or marginalized.
That is, retired church leaders are not infected with some disease called
outdated or old age. Contrary to common belief, successful retirement has
nothing to do with the medical or emotional treatment of individuals who
have finally passed an age threshold. That mentality simply enables
psychological abuse of one of God’s most promising resources. Therefore,
the first step in successful retirement is to break out of the “disease
treatment” approach so common in the North American culture and
redefine a successful retirement.
In Japan, the culture highly values and honors the elderly for their
wisdom. The strong cultural value of seeking advice from the elderly
provides them with a highly valued role in society. Corporations seek the
elderly for leadership positions, and newly married couples regularly seek
advice from the eldest in the family. In Japan, the elderly truly live an
esteemed role.
In comparison to many world cultures, the North American culture
often systematically destroys the self-image of retirement age ministers
with an illness treatment mentality. In North American, the elderly (and
especially church leaders) are commonly pushed into retirement sooner
than others, as if they contracted some terrible disease. Retirement age
ministers tell me that even other ministers sometimes treat them as ‘hasbeens.’ Many local churches question the ability of retirement age church
leaders, and endorse the younger leaders as the most desirable.
Fifty years ago, the average sixty-five year old retiree retained less than
five years of life expectancy. Due to short life expectancy, the culture of that
considered a sixty-five year old retiree as old. Currently, the average sixtyfive year old still retains about one-quarter of his expectancy. Therefore, age
sixty-five to eighty is no longer considered “old” – it simply offers new
opportunities. No one gets old until he passes eighty years of age, at the
least. Many do not consider themselves old until age ninety or later.
Retirement transition has the potential to alter your future more
positively or more negatively than any other life transition. Unfortunately,
many church leaders spend mental and emotional energy worrying about
the change that thrusts them into retirement. That change may include loss
of physical health, loss of job, loss of status, loss of social prominence, or
any number of other causative factors. The change results from an external
factor, event, or environment mostly outside of their control. Although a
change may stimulate your transition into retirement, focusing your energy
on factors that remain outside of your control usually remains
Change results from an external factor. However, we refer to transition
as an internal factor. Transition reflects an internal adjustment of attitudes
and assumptions. You are the only individual who retains control over your
attitudes and assumptions.
What is Retirement?
Think about it: “Retire”…. the very sound of the word carries with it the
connotation of resignation or retreat. For many in our modern world,
retirement seems to be synonymous with an attitude of “settling down” – or
even “settling in” – to a lifestyle that often buries our talents and treasures
and that can inevitably lead to becoming content with a life that, all too
often, can result in- just meaningless monotony.
Retirement is a transition of a church leader from his active days in
ministry into less activity that could either happen voluntarily or
involuntarily. Retirement is a good-news/bad-news story. The good news is
that retirement provides time to do many things we have had to put off
through life. In this sense, retirement is a life-giving experience. The bad
news is that much of life as we’ve known it is lost. In this sense, retirement is
a deathlike experience.
Like it was noted earlier that retirement is a transition, therefore it is a
phase at which events and environments alter roles, relationships, routines,
and assumptions. Although ministerial life involves many transitions but
retirement transition is significant because it alters the roles, relationships,
routines, and assumptions for almost every church leader. Retirement
transition has the potential to alter your future more positively or more
negatively than any other life transition. Unfortunately, much church
leadership spends mental and emotional energy worrying about the change
that thrusts them into retirement. That change may include loss of physical
health, loss of job, loss of status, loss of social prominence, or any number
of other causative factors. The change results from an external factor, event,
or environment mostly outside of their control. Although a change may
stimulate your transition into retirement, focusing your energy on factors
that remain outside of your control usually remains unproductive.
Retired church leaders sometimes go through the experience of Elijah
in 1st King 19:9-13. Some wonder why the organization they served loyally
or sacrificially for long fail to see that they were too good to leave and what
would happen to the knowledge and experience acquired over the years.
Some even develop a very high esteem of themselves that they calculated
that without them in the church or ministry organization, it will speedily
collapsed while others develop the good old days syndrome that does not
see any good in serving others. They only fix their eyes on the past that they
cannot see the beauty of the future before them.
Retirement, job change, and a change in geographical locations may
also alter your cognitive function and meaningful ministry. However, as a
minister in retirement transition, you retain the opportunity to identify new
sources of cognitive stimulation and ministry – it is a lifestyle choice. Many
ministers (especially missionaries) retire earlier than expected due to agerelated diseases and other factors that they never anticipated. Factors
outside their control prevent them from continuing in their previous
ministry. For them, to retire successfully simply means that they retire or
transit to a different ministry than their previous ministry. However, it never
means giving up ministry altogether. As individuals called by God, they
simply transit to new avenues in which to serve even with their unexpected
restrictions. As they become less able to fulfill their ministerial call, they
gradually transit to yet another ministry. They retire successfully and thrive
cognitively because they adapt to the never-ending process of ministry
Theology of Retirement
There is certainly not a prohibition of it in the Bible. The truth is that it is
simply not discussed in any degree of context. In fact, there seems to be only
one reference to what is understood as retirement in the Bible. This is found
in the book of Numbers in relation to those involved in the Levitical
priesthood services of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and later of the
Temple in Jerusalem. Here the Bible states: This is what applies to the
Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall enter to perform
service in the work of the tent of meeting. But at the age of fifty years they
shall retire from service in the work and not work anymore. (Numbers 8:24-
25 NASB).
The reason God gave this directive to the priests of the Temple is
shrouded in silence. Pastoral leadership is part of the tribe of Levi and
engaged in the Levitical services of the Temple, then your retirement is
biblical and you must obey this biblical directive. If you are not a Levitical
priest serving in the Temple, then retirement may not be as biblical as some
of us have concluded.
Preparing forRetirement
The most loving and responsible thing to do is for the church leader to
prepare for retirement. Whether the church leader is 30 or 60 years old now
is the time to begin preparing for retirement. Though it is difficult to
intentionally plan for it, but growing older is part of life. At some point, the
pastor will no longer be able to do the work of pastoral ministry on a fulltime basis. So even for members of the clergy, retirement is inevitable. The
wise minister recognizes that preparing for retirement is not a sprint. It is
more like a marathon. Successful marathon runners know there are four
stages to the race. Initially, you must get off to a good start. Next, you must
set a constant pace over most of the route. Then, you must pick up the pace
as you get nearer the end. Runners call this the “kick.” Finally, you must
sprint the last few yards to the finish line. The wise pastor en route to a
successful retirement incorporates all four of these stages along his own
way to retirement. Successful retirement transition occurs as you
intentionally plan and rebuild each of the following as the practical steps
into a new lifestyle, one that retains and promotes each leg as much or more
than at any prior time of your life is bound to have a glorious future. These
a. Aclear vision of your purpose in life.
b. Turning your vision into mission.
c. Do not live in isolation with your goal of a profitable future.
d. Understanding the importance of the future and taking it with all
e. Be conscious of the stages of life.
f. Self-improvement and development plan.
g. Confront and conquer life limitations and challenges, both spiritual and
h. Family life – marring and raising children on time as God allow the
i. Systematic investment plan – make good use of every opportunity.
j. House building – start as early as you can.
k. Build good relationship.
Above all total trust and reliance on the sufficiency and leading of God
is key, this will require a closer fellowship with God. Pursue greater
intimacy with God.
What Retired Leaders should note
1. Moving – Church pastor should move away from the church’s
community upon retirement. The pastor and congregation need to make a
complete break with each other. Otherwise the next pastor will have to
deal both with the memory and the physical present of the former pastor.
2. Finances: Financial preparation for retirement is a life-long
endeavor. Most denominations offer or require their pastors to be enrolled
in a retirement program. For example; in Nigeria the contributory pension
scheme which offers some alternative and benefit for retiree whose
denomination is involved with the government. The equity of one’s home
also works toward retirement.
3. Activities: There is a need to plan what the retiring church leader
would be doing for the first couple of years of retirement and thereafter.
4. Continuing Ministry: The church leader should develop a
specialized area of ministry prayerfully and considering his area of gifting
be willing to serve in these areas but only at the request of the congregation
or pastor. Also, try to do this with humility and avoid derogative word or
action that could humiliate the pastor.
AConsiderable Age forRetirement
This a very difficult question to answer, though some denomination
have fixed certain age for compulsory retirement. The following should be
noted when considering the age of retirement:
1. Are you physically and emotionally able to continue to lead at a high
level? If not, you probably should retire.
2. Are you still highly motivated in your place of leadership? If you don’t
wake up each morning excited about your ministry, you might consider
stepping down.
3. Are you a continuous learner? Are you reading, listening to others,
attending conferences, learning new technologies, staying current in
key areas?
4. Are you hanging on primarily for financial reasons? If that is your
dominant reason for staying, you are doing your church or ministry a
disservice by staying.
5. Do you have a clear and compelling vision for your ministry’s future? If
not, you may be coasting and ready to retire.
6. Is the church’s health deteriorating under your leadership? It is not
always the fault of the pastor, but you need to ask if new leadership
could bring new life.
7. Does the word “change” cause you to feel threatened or angry? If you
are not happy with the way the current generation is leading churches,
you may be too change resistant to lead your own church.
8. Do you empower others regularly? If you are not taking time to equip
others to do the work of ministry and to become leaders, it could be an
indicator you are coasting.
9. Is your family supportive of you staying in your current ministry
position? Your spouse or children may really know what is best for you
and the church and it may be retirement.
10. Do you find yourself longing for the good old days? If so, you might be
living in the past, ineffective in the present, and unable to lead toward
the future. It might be time to step down.
1. What is Retirement?
2. Discuss the reason why some people do not want to Retire.
3. When should a person retire?
4. Examine the theology of Retirement.
5. How should a person prepare for Retirement?
Albert, Omotayo G. Understanding Retirement: How to be Happy and
Productive in Retirement. Dallas, TX75374: Essence Publication,
S. Olawore, James. The Minister and His Future in Minister Manual, Guild
for Success in Life and Ministry. Ilorin: Church Leaders/Ministers
Fellowship of Nigeria, 2016.
O. S. Hawkins. oshawkins
arriage is God’s decision. Marriage is God’s invention. He Mdecided that a man and a woman should come together in a
lifelong relationship. The institution has since remained. A
man and a woman go into marriage with high hopes and sweet expectations
only to discover that, for whatever reason, they cannot live happily together.
Divorce is often the result. But why do people disavow the solemn
declaration to live together, to love and to cherish, for better or for worse,
until death do them part? What is the biblical stance on divorce and
remarriage? Is divorce ever acceptable for a Christian? Are divorced
persons permitted to remarry? If so, what are the grounds for a legitimate
divorce and remarriage biblically? These are the questions this section will
attempt to answer.
What is Marriage?
This is an important question for two reasons. First, it helps in putting
the present discourse in proper perspective. Second, a person’s attitude
toward divorce and remarriage will be determined by his philosophy and
convictions about the marriage relationship itself. For instance, when
questioned about the permissibility of divorce “for any and every reason”
(Matthew 19:3 cf Mark 10: 2), Jesus made allusion to the inception of
marriage in Genesis 1: 27 and 2:24 cf Matthew 19: 4-5. In the Lord’s words,
“It was not so from the beginning” (Matthew 19: 8).
Stephen and Georgina Adei and Richard and Vivian Crabbe in their
book, How to Enjoy Your Marriage, said that marriage is more than just a
social contract or an arrangement of convenience. It is a gift and creation of
God with rules to obey (Adei & Crable, 2009:9). Jay Adams agrees; he said
that marriage is not a human expedience devised along the way as a
convenient way of sorting out problems caused by loneliness but an
institution designed by God as the foundational element of all human
society (Adams, 1980:4). He also sees it as a covenant of companionship.
Adams argues that if marriage were of human origin, then human beings
would have a right to set it aside. But since marriage is an institution
initiated by God, only He has the right to do so (Adams, 1980:6). This
suggests that marriage cannot be regulated according to human whims. The
implication is that such a matter as divorce and remarriage can only be
carried out in accordance with God’s rules and regulations. This is what is
meant by the words of the Lord in Matthew 19:6, “Therefore what God has
joined together, let man not separate”(NIV).
What is Divorce?
The word “divorce” as it is used today did not exist in olden times.
Today, divorce means the official declaration by a judge that a marriage
performed either by a religious practitioner or an empowered authority of
the government has become legally dissolved (Zhodiates, 1984:45). When
this happens, there may be total freedom one from the other, or there might
be an imposition of certain conditions by the judge. For instance, properties
commonly shared might be divided according to certain percentage or that
the husband continues to support the wife and children in certain ways.
However, that was not the procedure in biblical times. The dismissing was
usually done by the husband. When a husband wanted to dismiss his wife
for any reason, no one could hinder him from doing it. He simply sent her
away. This was because marriage as such was not a matter of civil
authorization, but recognition of the families or tribes or the society
involved (Zhodiates, 1984:46).
There are certain words used in the New Testament in relation to
divorce. The word “separation” (chorizo) is used in 1 Corinthians 7: 10, 11,
where the wife is commanded not to separate from her husband and the
husband is urged not to leave (aphiemi) his wife. However, Paul makes it
clear that if the wife separates (chorizo) in disobedience to this command,
she must remain unmarried. This suggests that the separation that Paul had
in mind is a divorce related separation. Adams takes this a little further by
explaining that the divorced wife being asked to remain unmarried does not
mean that she should remain in the unmarried state for life per se; that is, not
married to anyone, including her husband whom she has divorced. What is
meant is that she stays unmarried in relation to all others. This is probably
because marriage to another would preclude reconciliation. Reconciliation
then is what seems to be important to Paul.
Adams also calls attention to the fact that even when a separation by
divorce occurs as the result of disobedience, that divorce – though sinful
and obtained on illegitimate grounds – broke the marriage (Zhodiates,
1984:46). The ground may be illegitimate but the divorce itself is not.
Consequently, believers who wrongly separate by divorce are said to be
unmarried. It is wrong, then, to speak of divorced couples as “still married
in God’s sight.” This idea is misleading. The second situation considered by
Paul in 1Corinthians 7 is the divorce between a believer and an unbelieving
partner. Here, the understanding is that the believer has not much control
over the life of the unbelieving partner since they are not one in the spirit. In
this case, the unbeliever is free to leave without any obligation on the part of
the believer to remain single (1Corinthians 7: 15).
What Constitutes a Divorce?
When is the marriage relationship really broken? In answer to this
question, Zhodiates submits that the marriage relationship is broken, not
when a judge grants a divorce, but upon the first act of infidelity to one’s
spouse. He suggested that, that is a basic concept in the teaching of Christ
(Zhodiates, 1984:261). He further argues that the granting of a bill of
divorcement is for the sake of the offended spouse because he has ceased to
be one flesh with his spouse and has become one flesh with another person
(Zhodiates, 1984:261). According to Jay E. Adams, marriage is a covenant
of companionship. Therefore, a divorce is the repudiation and breaking of
that covenant in which both parties promised to provide companionship in
all its ramifications for each other. A divorce is a declaration that these
promises are no longer expected, required or permitted (Adams, 1980:32).
Adams further pointed out that, while not commanding divorce, God
permitted it by regulating it. He argues that the fact of regulation indicates
God’s permission because one does not regulate that which he forbids
(Adams, 1980:32).
Divorce and Remarriage in the Old Testament
The Jewish tradition gave a husband the prerogative to choose or accept
a woman as his wife, and the right to dismiss her from being his wife at any
time Zhodiates, 1984:36). As a matter of fact, under the Jewish law, the
process of divorce was disastrously easy. All a man had to do was to hand a
bill of divorcement, correctly written out by a rabbi, to his wife in the
presence of two witnesses and the divorce was complete (Barclay,
1981:169). However, if the husband divorced his wife for marital infidelity,
he did not have to give her a bill of divorcement since such a certificate
conveyed the impression that the wife was innocent which gave her the
permission to remarry without feeling any guilt. As a matter of fact, the
punishment prescribed for a wife dismissed for reason of infidelity was
death by stoning (Deuteronomy 22:13-24).
Furthermore, in the Old Testament, divorce was the exclusive right of a
man. Under Jewish law, a husband could divorce his wife for any cause; a
wife could divorce her husband for no cause (Barclay, 1981:169). The wife
had no rights of divorce at all, unless her husband became a leper or an
apostate or engaged in a disgusting trade (Barclay, 1981:169). This was so
because the Jews had a low view of women. In Jewish law, a woman was not
a person, but a thing. She had no legal right whatsoever. She was absolutely
her husband’s possession to do with as he willed (Barclay, 1981:168).
Contempt for women was so much so that a Jewish man in his morning
prayer gave thanks that God had not made him a gentile, a slave or a woman
(Barclay, 1981:168). A woman was regarded as property, and as the
husband could rid himself of other properties, he could dispense with his
wife also (Zhodiates, 1984:39). For instance, Abraham summarily
dismissed Hagar (Gen. 21:14). Fathers even took liberty to dissolve their
daughter’s marriage as in the case of Saul who took away his daughter
Michal from David and gave her to Phalti, son of Laish (1Samuel 25:44). In
reaction to this irresponsible exercise of this right, there was the prophetic
protest and necessary legislative enactment to protect the wife’s position
(Zhodiates, 1984:36). Zhodiates holds that divorce and the dissolution of
marriage by any human cause are the direct result of the fall of man
(Barclay, 1981:39).
Divorce and Remarriage in the New Testament
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day raised questions and debated the
legitimacy or illegitimacy of divorce (Matt. 19:3). This debate arose from
the Old Testament passage which reads: “If a man marries a woman who
becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her,
and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from
his house…” (Deuteronomy 24:1 NIV). One interpretation of this text,
apparently interpreting the word “indecent” to mean adultery, claimed that
divorce and remarriage were acceptable only in the case of adultery
(Wenham, Hetch & Keener, 2006:14). Another interpretation claimed that
divorce was acceptable for almost any reason, even for as trivial an offence
as burning a meal (Wenham, Hetch & keener, 2006:14). However, the
purpose of the text in question, when taken in its fuller context, is not to
justify divorce under any circumstance but to prevent remarriage to a first
partner after a second marriage and divorce (Deut. 24: 2-4).
But, are there conditions in the New Testament under which a person
may be allowed to separate from his spouse without sinning against God? In
other words, are there conditions under which the New Testament permits a
couple to be divorced? In Matthew 19:9, Jesus said, “I tell you that anyone
who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries
another woman commits adultery.” Again, in Matthew 5:32, Jesus said, “I
tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness,
causes her to become an adulteress.” It could be observed that Mark and
Luke omit the exception clause.
The question is, what is meant by “marital unfaithfulness?” The Greek
word translated “marital unfaithfulness” is porneia. The Greek-English
Lexicon of the New Testament defines it as covering “every kind of unlawful
sexual intercourse” (Bauer, 1972:12). Andrew Cornes submits that the clear
meaning of this word within this context is adultery; that is, heterosexual
intercourse with someone other than your marriage partner. He however
suggests that it might also include some other sexual sins such as
homosexual practice and even incest (Cornes, 1998:51). Cornes further
points out that, it must be noted that although divorce is permitted to the
offended partner, it is not inevitable (Cornes, 1998:51). For instance, when
the Pharisees further questioned Jesus why Moses commanded that a man
give his wife a certificate of divorce, the Lord’s answer was, “Moses
permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it
was not this way from the beginning” (Matthew 19:8 NIV). In other words,
it is never the will of God that a couple should separate under any
circumstance. Biblically, divorce is only permitted; it is never commanded.
The rabbis almost unanimously agreed that remarriage was acceptable
after a legitimate divorce. By legitimate is meant a divorce in which the wife
was sent away but not for sexual sins and was therefore given a certificate of
divorcement. But what did Jesus say about divorce and remarriage? He
apparently rejected a lenient and inconsiderate attitude toward divorce.
This can be seen in such passages as Matthew 5:31-32 and 19:8-9. But how
far did he go in forbidding remarriage? Did he accept remarriage as a given
or did he forbid it in any way? In Matthew 5:31-32, Jesus said, “It has been
said: ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital
unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulterous, and anyone who
marries the divorced woman commits adultery.” These words of the Lord
imply that it is sinful to get married to a woman that is divorced other than
for reasons of adultery. This suggests how highly the Lord esteems marriage
and how contemptuous he was of divorce.
Divorce and Remarriage in the Contemporary Church
The church has never been in complete agreement as to the
interpretation of the Lord’s pronouncement concerning divorce and
remarriage. For instance, the Protestant Reformers adopted a more lenient
attitude. The Roman Catholic Church however, held firmly to the doctrine
of the dissolubility of marriage but leaned toward greater allowance for
annulment, that is, ruling that the marriage was never a true one, and so
could be made void (Wenham, 1981:15).
Most of the church fathers allowed separation but not divorce in the
case of adultery. They also forbade remarriage in any case except the death
of a spouse. Even remarriage after one’s spouse died was frowned on by
many. Those who hold to this stricter interpretation of Jesus’ words today
use the church fathers as their models, believing that they were in a better
position to understand His words since they were closer to Jesus and the
New Testament writers than scholars of nowadays. Those who hold a more
permissive view argue that the early church very quickly lost touch with its
Jewish roots, and so misunderstood the act that Jesus would have assumed
that remarriage was acceptable in the case of adultery. He did not have to
state it because His Jewish audience would have understood it (InstoneBrewer, 2002:238-239).
Early Christian writers; that is, church fathers, all explicitly condemned
remarriage after divorce. As a matter of fact, there was total unanimity
among Greek-speaking fathers. Hermas, Justin, Athenagoras, Theophilus
of Antioch, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen all explicitly
condemned remarriage after divorce or at least presupposed this view
(Instone-Brewer, 2002:23). Later Greek theologians such as Basil, Gregory
Nazianzus, Apollinarius, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and John Chrysostom
all maintained the traditional Christian position that the Gospels do not
permit remarriage after divorce. They regarded the exception clause as
authorizing or requiring separation, not permitting remarriage afterward
(Instone-Brewer, 2002:23). The Latin fathers, such as Tertullian, Ambrose,
Innocent, Pelagius, Jerome, and Augustine all hold the same view (InstoneBrewer, 2002:23). Christian scholars generally believe that since no
modern New Testament scholar can ever hope to approach the Greek
fathers’ grasp of their mother tongue and its nuances, their interpretation is
to be followed.
Today, generally, the church holds three major views on divorce and
remarriage, namely:
1. Remarriage is never acceptable after divorce
2. Remarriage is acceptable after divorce if the innocent party had
legitimate grounds for divorce, that is, adultery or desertion
3. Remarriage is potentially acceptable also where abuse is involved
In his book, Strike the Original Match, Charles Swindoll teaches that
there are three biblical circumstances where divorce and remarriage are
permitted (Swindoll, 1980:141-148). He submitted, in a variety of ways
that divorce is never commanded, required, or suggested but that it is
nonetheless permitted biblically. The first of such circumstances is divorce
before conversion. He quotes 2Corinthians 5:17 in support of this: “If
anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has
come!” His submission is that if Calvary covers everything, it covers
divorce before one becomes a Christian. All that happened before one’s
conversion is taken care of by the blood of the lamb. The second
circumstance is adultery. When the Pharisees asked Jesus whether it was
lawful for a man to divorce his wife, the Lord answered: “I tell you that
anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and
marries another woman commits adultery” (Matthew 19: 3, 9).
Alluding to the Genesis injunction (Gen. 2:24), Jesus reiterates that
when two people sign the marriage contract, they become one flesh. The
apostle Paul also mentions this in Ephesians 5. The implication here is that
when the one flesh has been broken by one of the partner’s careless
unfaithfulness, the other partner is free to remarry. It is well to remember
though, that this is not commanded but only permitted. Where possible, the
Christian thing to do is to offer forgiveness. The third circumstance,
according to Swindoll, is marriage to an unbeliever. In 1 Corinthians 7:15,
the Bible says that if a man has an unbelieving wife, and if she wants to stay,
he should keep her. Likewise should the woman. The principle is that the
believing mate sanctifies the marriage. But if the unbeliever leaves, a
believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances. The
unfortunate thing is that sometimes, the believer thinks that divorce is not
right under any circumstances. Therefore, when an unbeliever leaves, the
believer hangs on for years and sometimes, for a lifetime.
Causes of Divorce
Discovering the causes of divorce is not a simple matter. This is so even
among Christians. So many things could lead to divorce among both
Christians and unbelievers. They range from the simple to the complex,
from the reasonable to the ridiculous. Among unbelievers, according to a
survey of six hundred divorced couples, the first complaint was emotional
trauma. This is followed by irresponsible behaviour such as drunkenness,
the neglect of the home and the children. Next is financial problem,
followed by physical abuse, then infidelity, then sexual incompatibility,
then lack of love, and last of all, in-law problems (Leslie, 1980:338). In
most cases, the two major causes of divorce among Christians are infidelity
and incompatibility.
1. Discuss the concept of Marriage
2. What is the difference between Divorce and Separation in Marriage?
3. Should a Christian Divorce spouse and Remarry?
4. Examine the causes of Divorce.
Adams, Jay E. Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage. Grand Rapids:
Zondervan Publishing House. 1980.
Adei, Stephen & Georgina, Richard & Vivian Crabbe. How to Enjoy Your
Marriage. Bukuru: African Christian Textbooks, 2013.
Barclay, William. The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians. Edinburgh:
The Saint Andrew Press, 1981.
Bauer, E. W.F. Arndt, F.W. Gingrich, and F. Danker. Greek-English
Lexicaon of the New Testament. Chicago: University of Chicago,
Bauman, Dan. Clearing Life’s Huddles. California: Regal Books, 1984.
Cornes, Andrew. Questions about Divorce and Remarriage. London:
Monarch Books, 1998.
David, Instone-Brewer. Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible: The Social
and Literary Context. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
Kubler-Ross, Elizabeth. On Death and Dying. New York: Macmillan
Publishing Co., Inc., 1969.
Leslie, Gerald R. and Elizabeth Leslie. Marriage in a Changing World.
New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1980.
Smoke, Jim. Growing Through Divorce. Oregon: Harvest House
Publishers, 1995.
Spiros, Zhodiates. What About Divorce? Chattanooga: AMG Publishers,
Swindoll, Charles R. Strike the Original Match. Oregon: Multnomah Press,
Wenham, Gordon J., William A. Hetch and Craig S. Keener. Remarriage
After Divorce in Today’s Church: Three Views. Michigan:
he word church is from the Greek word ecclesia which means T“the called out”. The church is therefore, the assembly of the
called out ones. The church according to Charles Albert
Tidwell, as quoted by Gideon Adetunji, is “A local body of baptized
believers in Christ who are associated by covenant in the faith and
fellowship of the gospel, observing the two ordinance of Christ, committed
to His teachings, exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them
by His word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the end of the earth”
(Adetunji, 2010:136). The church is a unique place that should instill
change in people’s lives. The New Testament church was birthed through
the blood Jesus Christ and was inaugurated on the day of Pentecost for the
continuation of the mission of Christ Jesus on earth. The church is not a
mere gathering of people who feel good by singing praises and Hymnals,
but the gathering of people who are called out of the world of sin and
darkness to show forth the light and glory of the Almighty in all they do or
say (I Pet. 2:8 – 9). The founder and the head of the church in his sermon on
the mount called the believers “the salt of the earth and the light of the
world” (Matt. 5:13 – 14). Apostle Paul furthermore called the church-the
ambassador of Christ which is given the ministry of reconciliation (II Cor.
5:17 – 20). The church is Christ’s representative on earth to positively
impact the world through the gospel. This goes to demonstrate the
responsibilities of the church through the Great Commission as
commanded by Jesus Christ. This was established to do the following: (1)
Evangelism – To preach Christ (2) Edifying – To practice Christ (3)
Benevolence – To personify Christ.
The society is the world in which the church is a part. The society is
made up of many segments which are interrelated. The church is a segment
of the society and she operates in the society but it is not of the society. The
society comprises the people, the government, the economy, religions,
academia, business, manufacturing, agriculture, etc. The societies or world
are categorized into: the developed, the developing and underdeveloped.
However, the people of the world are the same everywhere on the globe by
virtue of the Adamic nature they all are made off. This is why the church will
always be relevant from generation to generation because there shall always
“be sinners to be saved, the down-trodden to be lifted and the poor to be
helped”. The role and responsibilities of the church can never be outdated.
In other words, the church shall continually be relevant in the society from
generation to generation till Jesus comes to take the church home.
(a) The Early Church and the Society
The Early Church after the ascension of Jesus Christ carried on the
Great Commission as commanded by the Master Himself. The Early
Church operated in a context that was best suited then for maximum
impacts. The society they found themselves then was politically controlled
by the Romans intellectually and philosophically dominated by the Greeks
and religiously and ethically ruled by the Jews. The laws codified for the
administering the empire became important machinery for the propagation
of the gospel. “Roman law, with its emphasis on dignity of the individual
and his right to justice and Roman citizenship, and with its tendency to fuse
men of different races into one political organization, anticipated a gospel
that proclaimed the unity of the race both in setting forth the penalty for sin
and the savior from sin” (Cairns,1981:36). Romans also built roads, bridges
and fine public buildings that aided the gospel. However, the Greeks
provided the universal language, intellectual and philosophical frame work
that aided the propagation of the gospel. The Jews helped in the preparation
for the coming of Christ and in the eventual spread of the gospel to the
whole world through their revelation and the worship of God, monotheistic
belief, the messianic hope, the ethical system, the possession of the Old
Testament scriptures and the building of synagogue for worship and
teaching of the scriptures. “Through the contribution of the Greek and
Roman environment and through the heritage of Judaism, the world was
prepared for “the fullness of the time” when God sent forth His Son to bring
redemption to a war-torn and sin-weary humanity (Cairns, 1981:43).
(b) The Post Modern Church and the Society
The post modern church is also known as the 21st century church. The
church, right from the early church till now has undergone different periods
and stages in history. The church has undergone changes both in
composition and administration. The principles and truths of the gospel
have not changed but the methods have evidentially changed from what it
used to be to what science and technology has to offer to make maximum
impacts on the people of the world through the gospel.
The church has also been willing to adopt and adapt new techniques to
reach the unevangelized. Short wave radio and television, theological
education by extension, and films show have been used in the proclamation
of Christ. The airplane has removed the barriers of space and has freed
people from the rigors of long, hard trips to reach their field of service.
Medical work, education, agricultural programs, and other services have
helped to develop higher living standards, as well as opening the way
for witness to Christ as savior (Cairns, 1981:479).
However, the present day church has to do more in evangelism,
discipleship, leadership, etc. “If proper and adequate impacts are to be
effective, then we must be clear about where the sharp and double-edged
sword of the gospel cuts into the spirit of the age” (Braatan & Jenson,
1. The Society
(a) The People and the Church
The people make up the society and the church is a vital organ of the
society. The church cannot function without the people. Odunayo Oke
opined that: “people are the greatest potential asset of any organization”
(Oke, 2012:233). However, the majority of the people are outside of the
church with different and various world-views. The prevalent world-view
of the people about the church is that of lack of focus and irresponsibility to
her primary assignment – soul-winning and discipleship.
The world has become a global village and with information on peoples’
finger tips through the internet and other social-media platforms, the church
has no hiding place. People change in their values, beliefs, attitudes, and
behaviours, as a result of their exposure to information (Oke, 2012:234).
The society views true Christians who daily live the life Christ as “holier
than thou” people who do not fit into present day thinking and fashion. They
are seen to be obsolete and outdated when it comes to current happenings.
Elwood MC Quaid in his book titled Persecuted: Exposing the Growing
Intolerance Towards Christianity says that, “There are those who proclaim
that committed Christian believers are a clear and present danger to the
country, a drag on human progress, divisive millstone around the neck of the
liberated society, and generally a crowd of undesirables fits only to be
repudiated” (Quaid, 2003:62).
(b) The State and the Church
The church operates in a community or nation governed by laws, rules
and regulations. The state promulgates laws and regulates politicking in the
society. The state sometimes makes laws that are injurious to the operations
and existence of the church. The state had always wanted to use the church
to its advantage by dragging her into its affairs.
During the first period of ancient church history, that is, up to
Constantine, the church dealt with all its problems ecclesiastically. That is
to say, all matters of doctrine, discipline, worship, and government were
settled by the church. The state had no representation or voice in the affairs
of the church. With Constantine this situation changed completely (Boer,
This is also true of today’s church where successive governments have
tried to use the church as either a means of winning elections or for “divide
and rule” to attain selfish interests. The state ought to stare clear of the
church. The moral values and ethical standards gained through the church
should be applied to the day to day running of the state. The church should
be “religio-licita” (separate from state and politics) and not “religio-illicita”
(involved in state and political affairs) in order to fulfill the mandate of soulwinning, discipleship, social responsibility to the poor, the oppressed, the
internally – displaced person (IDPs). Christianity as in Christ is
revolutionary against the injustices of society, against tyranny of the mind
and soul.
(c) The Economy and the Church
The church is not primarily called to grow or fix the economy, but she is
to participate positively to the wellbeing of the economy she finds herself.
The church is to encourage and train her members to engage in legal and
legitimate businesses that will contribute meaningfully to the economic
prosperity of the society. The church does not have a separate currency or
market to buy and sell, but has same with other citizens. This goes to show
that the church cannot operate in isolation and make positive impact
economically. As a matter of fact, the church (members) should own major
companies, manufacturing and production outfits, supermarkets, and
shopping malls in order to have a fair share of the economy and be major
players in multi-nationals. Christianity is a religion that values good
governance and human development. The aim of the Christians in business
is not to only make profit but to provide jobs for the masses and above all,
show a godly way of doing business with integrity, truth and transparency
that will bring glory to God’s name.
(d) Social Vices and the Church
Social–ills and vices such as rape, drug addiction, cultism,
homosexuality, lesbianism, incest, bestiality, armed-robbery, examination
malpractices, to mention but a few are on the increase. The question asked
by many is that why do we have increase in social vices particularly among
the youths with increase in the establishment of churches. Does the church
have positive impact on the society? The quality of the preachers, the
quality of the messages from our pulpits, the effectiveness of the soulwinning drive and the quality of the discipleship programme all speak
volume of why the increase in church proliferation has not translated to a
sane society. The “come as you are” campaign and “it does not matter”
syndrome and the doctrine of eternal security of some churches aids and
abates social ills. The church ought to be sound in doctrine and firm on
The Impacts of the Church on the Society
The church as the salt of the earth and the light of the world is expected
to from generation to generation be change-agent of the society. We are not
responsible for the generations and societies that are past, but we are
responsible for the one we live. The church is to make impact among other
things in the following major three ways:
(a) Missional / Soul -Winning and Disciple-Making
The major assignments of the church is to win souls and to disciple
them. Conversion of souls from the world of sin and darkness is the first
impact the church is expected to make on the society. The early church made
great impact on their then world, but the same cannot be said of today’s
church. Each local church is situated in a particular neighborhood. Its first
mission responsibility must therefore be to the people who live there.
However, few or no souls are won by local churches because many
Christian denominations concentrate on worship to the detriment of
witnessing. The few souls won are left undiscipled like orphans with no one
to nurture and care for them unto spiritual maturity. Others have
experienced the new birth but have remained perpetual babies. They know
the Lord Jesus, but nothing beyond this infantile knowledge. They are yet to
mature into the stature of disciples. The church in Nigeria has to rise up from
sleep and be true soul-winners and disciplers for a lasting impact on the
(b) Social Responsibilities
The church is to be socially responsible to the poor, the vulnerable, the
physically challenged, the oppressed, the motherless and the orphans.
When the church is deeply rooted in its community and its membership is
operating as public servants, the church will impact the lives of the people
and the believers will fulfill the Messiah’s mission on earth. The Lord Jesus
said “For you have the poor with you always, but me you do not have
always” (Matt. 26:11 KJV). Apostle James corroborated the teaching of
Jesus on the care for the poor in James 1:27 when he writes that “pure and
undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and
widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world”.
The church is expected to minster to all aspects of human life and make
a change as Jesus did in His earthly ministry. People need to have their
spiritual, emotional and physical needs met. The church can be socially
responsible by helping the homeless or internally displaced persons,
provide free-medical care, community clean-up, provide food and clothes
to the motherless, orphans and vulnerable, organizing sporting events to get
the youths meaningfully busy, building rehabilitation centres for drug
addicts, host conferences and seminars to discuss social issues, the list is
(c) National Rebirth and Nation Building
The church is a vital organ of the society looked upon by many for
national rebirth and nation building. The church cannot fulfill this role, if
she does not live fully the life of Christ. We are challenged as Christians to
take upon ourselves a personal responsibility to live fully the ideals of
Christianity. E. A. Ayandele asserts that, “Apart from schools, the missions
came to exert some impact on the Nigeria community through hospitals”
(Ayandele. 1991:343). The church through her different ministries such as
Christian Education Department, Missions Department, Youth Advocacy
Programmes, Children Evangelism Ministry (CEM) etc, should actively
make impact on national rebirth where the citizens are positively infected
with the fear of the Lord, honesty and integrity in the discharge of daily
duties. The church is empowered and endowed spiritually to fight
corruption and bring it to the barest level in the society. The Church must do
away with all excesses and continue to prepare young men and women to
lead the church through the Millennium. It is never too late for the right
foundation to be laid for sound leadership. The church should also be
involved in nation building by building schools, hospitals, recreation
centres etc.
Christian Missions led the foundation of the first schools that provided
Western Education to Nigerians. The church has to do more of sacrifice and
re-focusing to make real impact in nation building in Nigeria. Stepping
aside our own issues, swallowing that lump of pride in our own throats, and
reaching out a hand to the person next to us who seems lost and confused are
what will begin that process of building long standing community.
1. Discuss the meaning and purpose of the Church.
2. What is the Relationship between the Church and the Society?
3. Examine the Impact of the Church on the Society.
4. Discuss the role of the Church on Economy of the Nation.
Adetunji Gideon. Leadership in Action: A Sourcebook in Administration
for Students and Ministers. Ibadan – Nigeria Baptist Press (Nig)
Ltd., 2010.
Ayandele, E. A. The Missionary Impact on Modern Nigeria. 1842-1914: A
Political and Social Analysis. London: Longman Group Ltd., 1991.
Boer, Harry R. A Short History of the Early Church. USA: Wim B.
Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976.
Braatan Carl E. and Robert W. Jenson, ed; The Strange New World of the
Gospel. Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,
Cairns, Earle. E. Christianity through the Centuries. Michigan: Zondervan
Publishing House, 1981.
Elwood, MC Quaid. Persecuted: Exposing the Growing Intolerance
Toward Christianity. Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2003.
Oke, Odunayo. Let the Church be the Church: Building a High Impact
Church. (Lagos: Charis Ventures Publication, 2012.
Walker, W. AHistory of the Christian Church, 109.
Wright, Chris and Chris Sugden ed. One Gospel Many Clothes. Oxford:
EFAC and Regnum Books, 1990.
Internet Sources Accessed 1st May, 2018. Accessed, 29th April, 2018. Accessed 2nd May, 2018. Accessed 1st May, 2018. Accessed 2nd May,
2018.>sermons. Accessed 1st May, 2018.
ne of the most devastating problems in the Church over the Oyears has been the wide gap between the clergy and the laity.
The distinction between clergy ministry and lay ministry is
real, but the division (and the rationale behind it) is of much interest now
than perhaps it has been in the past. Lay people in the 21st century are often
well-educated and capable in their secular employment, and have
awakened to the reality that they bring skills to the work of the church.
According to the English dictionary, “the lay man is a member of the
congregation as distinguished from the clergy; a person without any
advanced or special skills or training.” From the dictionary definitions
above, one could easily discover the general misconception most Christians
have concerning the lay person. Thus, to correct this misconception, and to
develop lay-leadership in a local church, there are some problems which a
local church should solve. First, many Christians misunderstand what
leadership is. They usually think that leadership is for a few leaders and they
are just followers. This is caused by a misunderstanding of leadership.
Secondly, many churches do not have a curriculum for leadership
development for church members. To develop one’s leadership, proper
subjects must be taught. Thirdly, many churches do not have a proper
strategy and process. To develop lay-leadership in a local church, the church
should check its values, missions, and vision. Furthermore, it should
establish a proper process for developing leadership.
Leadership: Leadership is an influence. A basic description of
leadership is the duty and call of the person who is in charge to take charge
with courage and character, and to risk leading his/her people where they
need to go and how they need to be led. It is a position that seeks vision,
opportunities, and needs and then motivates others to get it done through the
resources, talents, and time they can contribute.
Lay Leader: A lay leader is a member of the laity in any congregation
who has been chosen as a leader either by their peers or the leadership of the
congregation. In most denominations, lay leadership is not an ordained
clerical office, and the lay leader’s responsibilities vary according to the
particular tradition to which he or she belongs. Some organizations do not
allow the lay leader to give sacraments for example, but do allow them to
perform most other portions of the service that are normally the
responsibility of the clergy (e.g. giving sermons when the regular clergy are
on vacation).
The Challenges of Lay Leadership in the Church Today
Throughout history, any renewal in the church has begun with a
rediscovery of the laity. Therefore, one of the most important issues facing
the church today is the rediscovery of biblical leadership and ministry. In a
nutshell, it is this:
1. Pastors are the Elders of the church and should have primary
spiritual and administrative oversight for the congregation. “When they had
appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting,
they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed”. (Acts 4:23)
Also we see in the Jerusalem Conference that Peter and James were the
primary decision makers in the church. This has formed the major challenge
in the church today. Pastors have placed so many checks and balances on
leadership that they have hamstrung it to death. We are afraid of strong,
biblical leadership. In our desire to keep bad things from happening, we
have insured that nothing good can happen.
2. The Laity are the ministers. The role of the laity is to be the
priesthood of God, serving one another and ministering to the lost.
3. The great lesson from the early church is that the apostles couldn’t
do it alone. Paul needed Prisca, Aquila, Onesimus, Tychicus, Justus, Luke.
The single most important task of the transformational pastor is to choose
his or her traveling companions, both staff and laity, wisely on the road to
4. The church would definitely reach maturity and unity when pastors
and laity work together.
The Biblical Concept of Lay Leadership
God and His People in the Old Testament
In the Old Testament, it is easily found that God developed His people
as great leaders in their generations. When God chose and called those
potential leaders for His great plans, they were mostly normal or weak
people who seemed not to be equipped for their assignment. When God
called and used them, He declared His vision and let them know the
missions which He assigned upon them. He used all environments and
people around them to train them to be great men. God prepares leaders with
a specific place and task in mind. Training methods are adapted to the
mission, and natural and spiritual gifts are given with clear purpose. Also,
God approached them variously when He trained and developed them in
their context. Even though developing them took quite a long time like their
whole life, God waited and invested His greatness upon them. Warren W.
Wiersbe says, “When God wants to make a leader, He takes all the time He
needs.” (Wiersbe, 2011:23). Not only does God take enough time, but also
every resource which could be used, even God’s enemies, was used. When
those missions were completed, He evaluated them and their works, and He
rewarded them according to what they did.
Joseph in Genesis is one of the most effective representative models of
who God trained as one of the greatest leaders. When God decided to use
Joseph to save His people, Jacob’s family from great famine and dangers,
He used all resources. God used three different settings to develop Joseph to
be the influential person who accomplished God’s plans. They are his
father’s family, a prominent Egyptian home, and the Egyptian King’s prison.
Until Joseph became the prime minister of Egypt, it took quite a long time.
Finally, he became one of the greatest leaders in Bible history.
The other model is Moses, who accomplished the Exodus from Egypt.
Like Joseph, Moses experienced many different contexts in his life: a
Jewish home, an Egyptian palace, a Midian desert, in front of Pharaoh, and
in the wilderness with the Israelites. God used all situations and people who
were around Moses to develop his leadership as the leader of His people.
Not only Joseph and Moses but also so many people in the Bible, such as
Noah, Joshua, Samuel, David, and Nehemiah, God trained them to do His
great works. Training and developing potential leaders is one of God’s plans
and His strategies that leaders can emulate in developing lay people in the
Jesus and the Twelve
When it comes to Jesus’ leadership development for His disciples, it can
be positively said that Jesus had strategies and a process in developing
disciples’ leadership. According to Aubrey Malphurs and Will Mancini,
consists of four steps: recruitment, selection, training, and deployment
(Malphurs & Mancini, 2004: 68).
First, Jesus recruited His disciples (lay men) as potential leaders. In
John 15:16, Jesus told His disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose
you and appointed you.” Even though some of Jesus’ disciples seemed to
follow and ask Him to be His disciples, it was actually His calling to bring
them to Himself by the sovereign selection of God. Secondly, Jesus selected
the twelve disciples (lay men) who He would train to be leaders among
potential leaders. For example, Jesus went to the Sea of Galilee and
intentionally called Simon, Andrew, John, and James to be fishers of men.
In selecting His disciples in Luke 6:12, Jesus spent the entire night in
prayer before He called the twelve disciples to be with Him, and they
became apostles and the leaders of the first century churches. Thirdly, Jesus
focused on training His disciples, especially in the last season of His earthly
ministry. Jesus prepared them as the leaders for their ministries after His
death and resurrection. Obviously, He trained His disciples before sending
them out to minister. Fourthly, Jesus deployed His disciples gradually. In
Matthew 10:5-6, Jesus instructed His disciples to go only to Israel, and in
Acts 1:8, He assigned His disciples to reach from Jerusalem to the ends of
the earth. Also, in Matthew 28:19-20, called “The Great Commission,”
Jesus gave His disciples their job description: make disciples.
Actually, Jesus called His disciples and developed them to be the
leaders of His church even though they were ordinary (lay men) and they
did not know what they could be. However, by Jesus’ leadership
development, they could impact the world with His gospel through His
The Early Church and the Church Leaders
In the early churches, as the number of believers increased, more
church leaders were required. To solve this problem, the Apostle Paul,
including the early church leaders, developed potential leaders to be church
leaders as Jesus Christ did. Actually, Paul’s leadership development process
seems to be the same as Jesus’: recruitment, selection, training, and
First, Paul recruited the potential leaders with prayer and personal
invitation into his missionary journey like Jesus recommended His
disciples to pray for emerging leaders in Matthew 9:36-38. Paul and the
early church leaders followed His direction when they recruited emerging
leaders. Also, Paul personally invited his companions to join his journey
and developed them to become the next generation leaders, such as Silas,
Timothy, and Titus. Secondly, there were a few ways to select church
leaders in the early churches. According to Acts 6:1-6, sometimes, the
congregation selected leaders, such as seven deacons. In Acts 13:1-4, the
Holy Spirit selected Barnabas and Paul to go on the first missionary journey.
Also, in Acts 14:23, Paul and Barnabas chose the elders, and furthermore,
Paul directed Titus to appoint elders in Titus 1:5. Thirdly, early church
leaders trained other leaders. Priscilla and Aquila trained Apollos in Acts
18:24-26, and, in 2 Timothy, Paul trained Timothy and Paul also asked
Timothy to develop other leaders. Fourthly, the early churches deployed
leaders in their mission. In Acts 6:1-6, the twelve apostles deployed the
seven deacons to be responsible for administering the widows’ needs in the
church. Also, in Acts 13:1-4, the Holy Spirit deployed Paul and Barnabas
into their first missionary journey through a prophet.
God, Jesus, and the early church leaders had a leadership development
process and through the process, the leaders of the Bible history could
accomplish their missions from God in their lives, and furthermore,
influenced the world.
Principles to Develop Lay Leaders
1. Purpose
The church leaders should know that developing lay leaders is not
simply a method of church growth, but the purpose of church ministry. In
this aspect, the church’s task is exactly the same as the spiritual leader’s task
which Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby say “is to move people from
where they are to where God wants them to be” (Blackaby, 2004:20-23). By
developing leadership, a local church can help God’s people (Christians) to
move where they are to where God wants them to be.
Therefore, developing lay leaders in a local church is not an optional
strategic ministry, but an essential and fundamental ministry which the
church should do. In other words, developing lay leadership is one of the
powerful ways which the churches should achieve what God asks them to
2. Philosophy
To have effective lay leadership development process, the church
should have a clear and firm ministry philosophy which is expressed in a
core value system, a mission statement, and a vision statement. As much as
the ministry philosophy is clear and firm based on the Bible, the lay
leadership development process can firmly be established because this
philosophy is the foundation of all church ministries including the process.
Therefore, all church members, including the church leaders, should fully
understand the essential reasons why they should develop people (laity) to
be effective Christian leaders through the ministry philosophy.
3. People
It is not an overstatement that the success of lay leadership development
depends on whether the church has right people or not. Without the right
people, this process will not operate effectively. Church leaders should
select the right director who will operate this process, and furthermore,
every staff who will work with the director should considerately be
selected. In addition, if possible, the church needs to develop the director or
staff of the process from among the church members even though it requires
a long time and vast investment.
4. Process
To have an effective lay leadership development process, the church
should have a systematically effective process. In other words, the church
should have a well systemized process as a whole. To increase the
effectiveness of the process, each part or portion of the whole process
should be kept balanced and be closely connected.
5. Practice
Lay leadership development process should be a practically working
process. In other words, the process should be productive and reproductive.
Actually, the main purpose of establishing this process is not on just making
the process, but on truly developing leaders. As a result of this process, laity
should be developed as well equipped and effective Christian leaders.
Therefore, having a strong and systemized process is important, but
producing and reproducing Christian leaders is more important.
6. Progression
Lay leadership development process should continuously progress.
Even though a church establishes a very strong and effective process, it does
not mean that the process is perfect. Therefore, even though the process is
currently working effectively, the church leaders should evaluate the
process in various ways, and renovate it regularly. This is one of the
important reasons why a church should have a proper evaluation system.
The church leaders should proactively develop the process.
7. Persistence
Finally, to have effective process, the church should be persistent until
the process works effectively. As LeRoy Eims says, “True growth takes
time, tears, love, and patience” (Eims, 1978:12). Developing lay leaders
also require time, tears, love, and patience. Even though the process does
not produce or develop lay leaders as quickly as the church leaders may
expect, they should not be discouraged. Also, even though the process may
work great, the church leaders should not be arrogant because this process,
developing lay leaders, should be continued until God’s kingdom comes.
No matter what condition the church is, persistence is really required in this
The Benefits in Utilizing Lay Leadership
1. ForGod’s Glory
Bringing God’s glory is the ultimate goal of all Christians and churches.
God wants to be glorified by all church ministries and Christians’ lives. In
Isaiah 42:8, God says, “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my
glory to another or my praise to idols.” Jesus gives a clear statement of this
in John 17:4.He says, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the
work you gave me to do.” Actually, Jesus finished the work God gave Him
to do on earth, and He glorified God. Not only Jesus Christ but also all
Christians have God’s assigned works. First, when a local church develops
lay leaders, they will glorify God by effectively observing the Great
Commandment. The second commandment is to love others. It can be to
influence others with love. When leadership is defined as influence, the
action of loving God and loving others is a kind of leadership. When a
church develops church members’ leadership, they will glorify God by
loving God and loving their neighbors.
Secondly, when a local church develops lay leaders, they will glorify
God by effectively observing the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:19-20,
when Jesus was about to ascend to Heaven, He gave this commission to His
disciples: to go and to make disciples of all nations with baptizing and
teaching to obey everything that He commanded. Jesus’ commission is
directly connected to influencing others with the gospel. To reach to the end
of the world, disciples should develop Christian leaders who can influence
others around them with the gospel. The leaders should reproduce other
leaders (cf. 2 Timothy 2:2) for the Great Commission until Jesus’ second
In addition, when a Christian reveals God’s nature to the world, God is
glorified by him or her. Blackaby says, “People bring God glory when they
reveal God’s nature to a watching world” (Blackaby, 2004:145). Jesus also
mentioned this in Matthew 5:13-16: Jesus compares Christians to the salt of
the earth and the light of the world. The characteristics of light and salt can
represent the influence on the world. (See 1 Sam. 13:14; 2 Chro. 19:9).
2. ForEffective Church Ministry
When it comes to church ministries, most churches are experiencing the
lack of leaders for their ministries no matter how many church members
they have. Some churches do not have enough church members for their
basic ministries, so a few leaders are doing too many things to do well.
However, even though most churches do have enough church members for
the ministries, they still have leadership problems in quantity and quality.
The question here is: what is the problem in those churches? John Maxwell
gives three words to explain this problem: abuse, disuse, and misuse. Even
though his definition of each term is based on the business world, they can
be applied in the church ministry, too. Here are their definitions: (Maxwell,
Abuse:Too few employees (leaders) are doing too much.
Disuse: Too many employees (leaders) are doing too little.
Misuse:Too many employees (leaders) are doing the wrong things.
These situations are very common in the church today. Too few church
members are doing too many ministries, and too many church members are
not involved in church ministry at all. Furthermore, too many church
members are doing the wrong things because they do not know what
capabilities and potential they have. The reasons of three problems, abuse,
disuse, and misuse, can be explained thus:
a) They do not know what they are supposed to do.
b) They do not know how to do it.
c) They do not know why they should.
d) There are obstacles beyond their control.
These four reasons are concerned with leadership issues. When a local
church intentionally develops its members into Christian leaders with a
proper process, the three problems, abuse, disuse, and misuse, will be
solved, and the effectiveness of church ministries will be maximized.
3. Church Growth
When it comes to a healthy church, developing lay leaders is not the
only ingredient to be healthy, but one of them. Stephen A. Macchia found
the ten characteristics of a healthy church based on one hundred churches
visited and the 1,899 survey opinions. One of the ten is to develop
leadership in a local church. He says, “The healthy church identifies and
develops individuals whom God has called and given the gift of leadership
and challenges them to become servant-leaders” (Macchia, 1999:115).
Actually, servant-leadership is what lay leadership development is
Also, developing lay leaders is helpful for church growth by helping
pastoral leaders to focus on their unique responsibilities. Pastoral leaders’
focus on their unique responsibilities is closely connected to church growth
when lay leaders are developed as seen in the first century churches in Acts
(Acts. 6:7). When a local church develops lay leaders for its ministry, the
pastoral leaders can focus on their pastoral ministries, and it will bring
church growth like the first century church did.
1. Why are lay elders and Clergy at loggerheads with each other?
2. Examine the Role of the laity in the Church
3. Discuss the Principles for developing Lay Leaders in the Church
4. Examine the Biblical concept of Lay leadership
5. What are the Benefits of Utilizing Lay Leadership in the Church?
Aubrey Malphurs and William F. Mancini, Building Leaders: Blueprints
for Developing Leadership at Every Level of Your Church, (Grand
Rapids: Baker Books), 2004.
Eims LeRoy, The Lost Art of Disciple Making, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan),
Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership, 20-23.
Maxwell, John C., Developing the Leader Within You, (Nashville: Thomas
Nelson), 1993.
Stanley, Next Generation Leader, (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers,
Inc.), 2003.
Stephen A. Macchia, Becoming a Healthy Church: Traits of a Vital Ministry
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books), 1999.
UUA: Lay Leadership Archived 2008-03-17 at the Wayback Machine.
Warren W. Wiersbe, On Being a Leader for God (Grand Rapids: Baker
Books), 2011.
History tells us about various men and women who have lived in the
past and have been able to influence their generations either positively or
negatively. We have had great leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma
Ghandi and Wiston Churchill who inspired people for a positive change in
their society and we had leaders whose actions led to a world war in which
56 million people died. The influence that men have on their family, their
nation or even the entire mankind is governed by the character they exhibit
at any point in time. Character makes a man, like a name, it identifies a
human being and makes him distinct from others. Character determines the
failure or success of all human undertakings and relationships including our
relationship with God our maker.
What is Character?
Character can be defined as a set of behaviors and attributes peculiar to
individuals who are initiated by natural instincts or triggered by events in
his environment or even actions taken in response to the provocation or
prompting by others. Character is generated through the exercise of will
power, manifested by emotions and conveyed through physical actions
which include speech, thoughts, facial expression or body movement.
The mind or heart, i.e. the invisible part of man, is the engine room that
drives character and the factory from which the above manifestations are
produced. This is confirmed in the Bible by the words of Jesus Christ as
recorded in the Gospel of Luke 6:44-45, Mark 7:21. Character can be as a
result of genetic makeup (i.e. inherited natural instincts), a result of cultural
conditioning or society influence and also as a result of spiritual conversion.
Character cannot be hidden or covered up by pretence for too long, like
smoke, it automatically arouses itself occasionally. Certain triggers or
events in life tend to bring out dormant or hidden characters in man, these
are money, power, women (or men) and crises.
Types of Character
Character can be divided into three (3) broad types or categories
1) Proactive characters
2) Reactive characters
3) Passive (or inactive) characters.
Proactive Characters: These are those behaviors that enable one to do
things without being prompted or pushed by anybody. Examples of such
character include wisdom, initiative, creativity, perseverance, etc.
Reactive Characters: Behaviors we exhibit or actions that we take
only when something has happened or is happening. Examples of reactive
characters include patience, anger, obedience, forgiveness, revenge,
tolerance etc.
Passive Characters:These are those behaviors that make people not to
care about what is happening to them or around them and to leave undone
things they should do. Examples of passive characters include laziness,
foolishness, indecision, procrastination.
Character, whether good or bad, is not the same as sin or Christian
living. A negative character is not necessarily sinful. Also, character is
slightly different from good Christian living. A Christian may be very
faithful in the house of God through prayer or evangelism, but he may be
very stingy and not willing to share much of his goods with others.
Character is one of the keys to success and progress in every aspect of
our personal, family, corporate and national life. The choice of a wrong
Managing Director or CEO can ruin a successful and profitable company
within a few months or years. Millions of people in Africa and other
countries today are hungry and in war because leaders with bad character
have found themselves in power either through the barrel of the gun or
rigged elections.
Aborn again church Pastor may kill a church or destroy a congregation
if he exhibits negative character such as being a lover of money and being
intolerant to differing or contrary opinions, or not accepting correction and
not taking advice or showing sympathy to the’ problems or misfortunes of
members. Also character is not actually synonymous with administrative
Character forEffective and Efficient Christian Ministry
Christians should try to cultivate and practice the under listed
behavious. These characters will also help to confirm our gospel and elevate
the name of Christ in our society. In fact exhibiting these character sets will
be synonymous with preaching the gospel of Christ directly or indirectly.
They will also help us to appropriate the promises of God for our life, and
allow us to enjoy the blessings of God to the fullest in this life.
1. Contentment: Being satisfied and grateful to God for your present
situation or level of blessing while making effort to improve on it and being
hopeful that it will change or become better through legitimate means at
God’s appointed time. Synonyms: Patience. Opposite: covetousness.
Contentment enables a man to keep a cool head and not misbehave in
whatever condition he is. Contentment prevents us from using other
people’s life as a yardstick for measuring our own.
2. Patience: A state of not being in a hurry to achieve one’s aim to the
extent of being controlled or consumed by such ambition. Apatient person
will not cut corners or try to circumvent due process or attempt to cut short
the natural time sequence appointed by God for an event. In 2 Tim. 4:2 Paul
charged Timothy correct, rebuke and encourage Christians ‘with great
PATIENCEand careful instruction.
3. Generosity: Giving is an art. It is the ability to share your
possession (in cash or in kind) with others even when you don’t have enough
for yourself. Giving should not be limited to when we have surplus or what
we don’t need any more.
4. Compassion: Showing acts of kindness to people in need even
when they don’t deserve it and when they have not made any request to us.
Self-initiated acts of help, even at the expense of our own comfort.
5. Charity: A charitable attitude will enable us to look at every
visitor to our home as an opportunity to show God’s love to someone.
Visitors should therefore not be regarded as a burden or an additional source
of drain to family finances.
6. Justice:Justice is the attitude of the heart that enables a Christian to
treat all stakeholders equally and in accordance with applicable laws,
especially God’s law irrespective of their social status. The poor, the rich,
the weak, the strong, the stranger, the familiar, the widow, the fatherless, the
black, the white, male and female, all must be treated equally.

7. Forgiveness: This is the ability to over look personal or corporate
offence whether committed deliberately or not and whether it is done once
or repeatedly even when the person doesn’t see any reason to apologize. As
the Bible preaches, there is virtually no limit to forgiveness.
8. Reliability: Ability to maintain our way of life, our character,
promises, trust under changing conditions or unpleasant circumstance or
unexpected situations. AChristian should demonstrate a life of reliability in
his dealing with fellow Christians or even unbelievers and co-workers, and
family members.
9. Perseverance: Ability to hold on to your conviction or pursue a
purpose and maintain your faith in a cause against all odds, including delay,
contrary opinion and unfavorable circumstances. Apicture of perseverance
is shown to us in the book of Revelation where the Bible says: Rev.2:26 “To
him who overcomes and does my will to the END ….”
10. Creativity: Ability to think of new ways of doing old things in a
better way or using old methods to come up with new things that are better.
As Christians, we must be ready to think of new things and new ways of
doing things. We must adapt to changing environment and adopt new
methods. We must seek to increase efficiency in all our undertakings. Doing
the same thing over and over again becomes boring and people tend to lose
11. Decisiveness: Ability to take the right decision at the appropriate
time after considering all the facts of a situation and choosing the right
action out of many possible alternatives without unnecessary delay. It is
timely and objective decision making.

12. Self-Control: Ability to restrain oneself from unwanted personal
habits, practices and actions. It is the ability to know the boundary between
moderate and excessive actions, even when such actions are right; that is,
ability to resist unwanted influences from other people and stick to one’s
own belief and principles. An example of lack of self-control is when some
people see something that is free they cannot control themselves to take
what is just enough. When some people see free food, they consume so
much that they end up with stomach constipation, or they drink so much
and get drunk. Lack of self-control sometimes leads to covetousness.
13. Responsibility: Not avoiding or neglecting what you are supposed
to do by virtue of your position, authority or the privileges God has given
you. If God has put you in a position either in the Church, work place, family
or political post, there are certain responsibilities that come with that
position. Aresponsible Christian will ensure that he or she does not neglect
such duties or tasks.
14. Courage: Ability to face difficult situations or attempt a
previously unknown adventure even if you are not sure of the outcome.
Courage is the ability to overcome fear when you are faced with a difficult
situation or the unknown. Therefore, Christians must develop boldness
because God has promised to protect us even in the valley of the shadow of
15. Tolerance: The attitude of considering other people’s views,
bearing with their ways of life and respecting their stand on a matter even
when such are different from ours or at variance with our own convictions.
A Christian must be able to bear up with others whose ways of life, culture,
practices are different from theirs when it is compulsory to relate with them.
It doesn’t mean however that he has to follow their ways, accept their
beliefs, but he must at least be ready to listen to them, analyze their own side
of the matter and thereafter decide what part to accept and what aspect to
reject. He must also be ready to give reasons for his rejection of their
opinion or view.
16. Loyalty: Ability to keep to your promises and to do what is
expected of you based on your relationship or contract with someone else,
especially a spouse, leader, boss or country. Loyalty is a very important
requirement for maintaining relationships. Husband and wives, father and
children, employer and employee, government and citizen, Pastor and
Church members are all relationships that require loyalty for sustenance.
17. Humility: Awillingness to forfeit your right in order to help others
or show good examples. Humility is also the ability to put your power or
authority under control for the sake of others. For instance, a Christian who
is humble will not pile up various titles in order to command respect from
18. Recognizing and Obeying Rightly Constituted Authority:
Christians must subject themselves to rightly constituted authority at all
levels, including, church, and family, community (mayors, Chiefs, Local
government, Church Authority or any leadership hierarchy).
1. What is Character and what role does it play in Christian Leadership?
2. Discuss the Types of Character traits you have study.
3. Examine Character for effective Christian Ministry.
4. Discuss how to build a worthy Character for Christian Service.

Concept of Mentoring
entorship refers to personal developmental relationship in Mwhich a more experienced or knowledgeable person helps a
less experience or less knowledgeable person. It involves
informal communication, usually face to face within a particular time.
Mentoring is a vital method of raising leaders. In leadership development, a
leader serves as mentor. Paul raised Timothy and Titus to leadership through
mentoring. His letters to these individuals are full of words of
encouragement of a mentor. He enjoined them to follow him. Jesus used the
same method for his disciples.
Some organizations have good leaders who nurture and develop others
to become future leaders. It should be the goal of any organization not only
to raise leaders who will maintain the organizational but those who will
continually change it. Development of leaders can be through formal and
informal methods. There is leadership shortage today due to the
recklessness of followers. Some followers have no determination to
succeed even as a follower, and as such they cannot become leaders.
Leadership is for those that are bold and ready to face challenges.
Mentoring is a process of guiding others (mentees) to new levels of
achievement, new ideas, perspectives, standards, values and norms of the
society. AMentor is more knowledgeable than a mentee. AMentor is:
1. Aloyal friend/ advisor
2. Ateacher, coach/ and role model
3. Mature and willing to help others grow.
4. Someone who has a large heart.
5. Someone who knows the Mentees personal characteristics, family
and socio-economic status.
6. One that understand the values and expectations of the Mentee.
7. Sensitive to the feelings and needs of the Mentee.
Etymologically speaking, Mentoring came from a Greek word meaning
‘enduring’, is defined as sustained relationship between a youth and adult.
The word “mentor has its origin around 122BCE in the account of the
Odyssey, written by the Greek poet Homer. According to the story,
Odysseus as he prepared for the Troajan War realized the only son;
Telemachus (who was a teenager) was not ready to assume the
responsibility as king of the kingdom. He then called in a trusted wise man
named Mentor to be his son guardian while he would be away from the
kingdom for some time. Odysseus instructed Mentor to prepare and educate
Telemachus in the rudiments of what he would need in order to take on the
role as a king in case his father did not return from the war. Mentor’s
responsibility was to oversee the development of the young Telemachus
toward a specific goal, leaning how to become and behave like a king. This
story portrays the spiritual concept or element seen in the life of a mentor. In
biblical literature mentoring is clearly evident E.g. Moses & Joshua,
Samuel & Eli, Naomi & Ruth, Elijah & Elisha, Jesus & his Disciples, Paul
& Timothy etc. Mentoring is found in every culture around the globe. In
fact, in most cases, good leaders are those who understudied others before
they became leaders.
History of Mentoring
1. It started in the Garden of Eden (Man & God)
2. God, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Joseph (Genesis)
3. God, Moses & Joshua (Book of Exodus/Joshua)
4. God & the Prophets
5. Jesus & the Disciples
Purpose of Mentoring
1. To fulfill God’s purpose on earth
2. To be like Jesus Christ.
3. To rescue the perishing
4. For Spiritual growth
5. To fulfill the Great Commission
6. For Church growth
Mentoring Models
1. Intensive – the mentor directs the life of the mentee towards that
which he sees very important to be taught the mentee. This takes
time and commitment.
2. Occasional Mentoring – deals with the situation where someone
comes into life for a season to help someone to do something and
after that he or she leaves.
3. One to One Model – an experienced mentor and a mentee meet
together for the purpose of the purpose of he experienced mentor
impacting the life of the mentee.
4. One to Two Model – the mentor focuses on two mentees at the
same time.
5. Group Mentoring – an experienced mentor gets more than one
mentee and mentors them as a group.
Effective Principles of Mentoring:
1. Choosing Well – Prayerfully choose the person you intend to
2. Investing in the Relationship
3. Teaching Spiritual Obedience
4. Passing it on – disciple others.
5. Modeling your Faith – help others develop a deeper and more
meaningful relationship with Christ.
6. Learning to delegate wisely
7. Keeping a Watchful Eye – Jesus’ disciples gave him an account of
their successful journey (Mk 6:30).
8. Training Mentee to Mentor
Jesus’ Model of Mentoring (Mark 3:13-19)
Note these:
(a) Bring them in – pray about the process (Lk. 6:12), initiate conversations,
look for ordinary Men, enlist with clear purpose.
(b) Build them up (Mk 4: 35-41) – it takes time to build someone up, it
takes teaching to build someone up, it takes toughness to build someone
(c) Ancient Model: I do it. I do it and you watch. You do it and I watch. You
do it.
(d) Send them out (Mk 6: 7-13).
1. Who are Mentor and Mentee?
2. What are the Qualifications of a Mentor?
3. Examine the Models of Mentoring you have Studied.
4. Discuss the purpose in Mentoring.
5. Examine the effective principles of Mentoring.
6. Discuss Jesus’ model of Mentoring.
The Concept of Leadership Succession
uccession is a systematic process where leaders identify, assess Sand develop their staff to make sure they are ready to assume key
roles within the organization. In this process the leader is
expected to identify would be leaders from his team and then groom them
for future leadership in the organization. The incumbent leader serves as a
mentor to future leaders. There are four stages to leadership reproduction.
They are: modeling, mentoring, motivation and multiplication.
1. Modeling occurs when a leader intentionally recruits an apprentice
who then goes through a period of observation with the hope of becoming
2. Mentoring stage allows the apprentice to test run the role in the
presence of the current leader where they can receive encouragement and
feedback. The Mentor gives the opportunity to the apprentice to lead a unit
of the organization for a set time and he/she is evaluated.
3. Motivation – the current leader must motivation or encourages
younger members of the organization to take up leadership responsibilities.
4. Multiplication – the leader must see it as a task to raise leaders who
are better than himself.
Benefits of Leadership Succession Plan.
1. It can be used to build strong leadership.
2. It gives members of the organization the voice and opportunity to
express their leadership potentials
3. It strengthens departmental or governmental relationship.
4. It keeps the members of the organization vibrant and buoyant. It
inspires workers to stay involved and maintain organizational loyalty.
5. It assures continuity of key positions. It avoid transition problems,
assures new managers or leaders to be prepared for their jobs and these
brings organizational effectiveness.
Hindrance to Effective Leadership Succession
1. Poor Attitude Towards the Future – no tangible plan for
leadership succession on ground
2. Long Service – some think that long service in an organization
should be reward with promotion or service at the apex level. This may not
work especially where the person in question is not competent.
3. Lack of Cooperation – no organization will grow if the leadership
is in disarray.
4. Tribal Sentiment – this is not healthy for the growth of any
organization. It brings disunity, bad blood, destructive criticism and
1. What is Leadership Succession?
2. Discuss the stages in Leadership Succession.
3. Examine the Benefits of Leadership Succession
4. Discuss the hindrances to Leadership Succession
here are many church leaders who principally came into Tministry because of their experience of salvation and passion for
evangelism but who after a few years have found that their life is
almost exclusively focused on the running of the church and its associated
activities. There are always church people wanting to meet with you,
leaders to work with, and meetings to chair, administration to complete and
church services to prepare for.
The bigger question is “why do we have low ebb of evangelism in many
churches and why do church leaders tend to end up spending most of their
time inside the church? It has been discovered that leaders have a growing
sense that they look for security in church structures, programmes, plans
and vision statements neglecting the place of the great commission i.e.
There is need for an examination of why our churches often struggle
with evangelism by making a good comparison with how Jesus style of
evangelism and looking at some practical solutions. Appropriate and
biblical definition of church is of a body of people sent on a mission, a
gathered people brought together by a common calling and vocation to be a
sent people.
The church must have a proper understanding of its purpose and calling
in order to change its approach to evangelism and the role of leadership. If
we really understood and worked out in our own particular context what it
meant to be a body of people sent on a mission, the church might look very
different, certainly evangelism would no longer be seen as for the ‘keen
Definition of Evangelism
According to the Young’s Bible Dictionary, Evangelism is defined as
the presentation of the gospel with the purpose of bringing someone to have
faith in Jesus Christ (Young, 1984:154). Rom Smith defined the word
“Evangelism” as personal effort to bring a fellow sinner to accept Jesus
Christ as his own savior and to follow him as his Lord (Smith, 1986:14). The
committee of Bishops gave in its report on the evangelistic work of the
church in 1918 and declared that “To evangelize is to present Jesus Christ in
the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God
through him, to accept him as their savior and serve him as their King in the
fellowship of his church” (Thosa, 2017 :).
To evangelize is to communicate the gospel in such a way that men and
women have a valid opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as Lord Savior and
become responsible members of his church (Fraser &Dayton, 1990:51). By
this definition, evangelism is not merely to teach general truths about God’s
existence or moral laws; evangelism further means to present Christ Jesus,
the divine son who became man at a particular point in world-history in
other to save a ruined race. It means to present Jesus Christ himself as the
living savior and the reigning Lord. It also means to present Jesus as Christ,
God’s anointed servant, fulfilling the tasks of his appointed office as priest
and king.
Steps to Keep Evangelism Central in the Church
There are five important steps in keeping evangelism central in our
churches and leadership with such a culture shift because some see
evangelism as a ministry of particular church ministers or members in the
A. Envision
Part of changing culture is to envision people, not just with another
vision for the next year or two, but envisioning our congregation that
together we are a body of people sent on a mission so that we always gather
to be scattered to be gathered to be scattered etc. and in both ways we are
truly church. Harold Percy, a Canadian church leader wrote, ‘Transformed
leaders have a clear conviction that God can and will work through their
congregation to change lives, and that their congregation of people can be
used by God to help change the world. Such vision begins with the clear
vision of the evangelizing community and what that community might look
like in its particular setting and circumstances.’ At the root our response to
this I believe must be prayer as we seek God to show us how to be his sent
B. Encourage
As leader we must encourage our members to be practically involved in
C. Equip
So often we fail to practically equip our church people to be witnesses to
Christ. As leaders we need to understand there is a difference between
‘telling’ and ‘training’. Often we think we are training because we have
talked about the high value of evangelism or have preached about the need
to share our faith from the front and we assume that this is enough. But we
need practically to give people the tools to both live and articulate their faith
in an evangelistic situation.
D. Example
If this does not start with us as leaders we will find that very few people
will follow us. We need to be prioritizing time for those outside the church
and sharing our stories, both the good and the not so good to encourage
others to get involved in God’s mission.
E. Expectancy
The book-ends of the activities are the envisioning and the expectancy.
Again, prayer is at the heart of this increased expectancy as the church
becomes more aware of God’s power to work and save. Prayer continually
reminds all of us that evangelism is God’s work; a work in which we
cooperate. We are not in control of the process, but prayer is the crucial
element in our role, both individually and corporately.
The Personal and Corporate Involvement of the Leadership
in Evangelism
The leader in every church is the catalyst to the overall success of any
outreach program. His input, involvement, and example are paramount. As
a church leader, his role in the church’s evangelism effort is crucial and this
can address his responsibility from two perspectives: personal and
A. Personal Involvement
1. Live the gospel every day. It ought to be personal goal each week to
share the gospel with someone and see that person come to faith in Jesus
Christ. Try winning someone to Christ who is outside your comfort zone or
circle of influence. A true evangelist’s heart is bent toward lost souls.
Because as pastors we are to “do the work of an evangelist,” we need to
reach out beyond our comfort zones and share the gospel with people we do
not know.
2. Staying close to the action: As pastor, he needs to be the primary
leader of his outreach/evangelism program. People need to see their pastor
winning other to Jesus Christ. They need to see their pastor making visits to
the un-churched, cultivating relationships with the unsaved, and
establishing contacts with the lost. He needs to be seen on the front lines of
evangelism in the church.
3. Maintaining circle of influence: Every pastor ought to keep a
personal circle of influence.
4. Praying daily for souls to be saved: Every pastor ought to be a
prayer warrior, especially when it comes to praying for the harvest.
5. Evangelize within the four walls of the church. It will surprise
some of us that some have been in the church for many years but are not
saved or some saved once but have backslide. So it is the responsibility of a
leader to always make any of his preaching and teaching evangelistic no
matter the subject is it healing, prosperity or what have you.
B. Corporate Involvement
Second, let us look at the pastor’s corporate involvement in evangelism.
A church and its leaders have a responsibility to God to involve its great
army of laity in witness for Jesus. Four basic keys are necessary for proper
implementation of good evangelism program.
1. Enlighten the Church. Many Christians fail to witness because
they are not educated or challenged on the subject. A leader is advised to
preach on the subject of soul winning, challenging his flock about the
biblical mandate to share their faith. Witnessing is not an option; it is a
mandate for every Christian. Pastors should keep their flock accountable
before God concerning the commission every Christian has received from
2. Enlist the church. We enlist people practically on everything under
the sun. Unfortunately, one of the areas we often overlook is the ministry of
evangelism. Evangelism must be given priority as a major emphasis of the
church. If not, laity will be enlisted in so many committees, social
functions, and recreational activities that they will have no time to commit
to outreach.
3. Equip the Church. Most lay people have a deep desire to win
others to Christ: unfortunately, most of them simply do not know how. We
need to learn to work with a team of Christian to develop meaningful
relationships with lost people through acts of hospitality and grace. The
pastor needs to be the primary person who leads in the equipping of the
saints. As the pastor makes it a priority not to only share his faith but also to
equip his flock, he will reap greater benefits from both his example and
training of others.
4. Engage the church. Every church has a corporate witness to its
local community. Unfortunately, many churches have lost their influence in
their community as a result of infighting, loveless attitudes or a church split.
The church must seek to keep its witness strong and vibrant in the
community. Therefore, as pastors, you must engage your flock to go out into
the community and share their faith with everyone who is in their personal
circle of influence.
5. Expose the church to the Reward: Evangelistic work of soul
winning is one of the aspects of Kingdom Service which is even the greatest
among kingdom work with rewards. This is confirmed by the following
scriptures: Matt. 6:33, Job 36:11, Ex. 23:23-26.
The Scope of Evangelism
The scope of Evangelism is not just limited to going out for soul
winning but rather, it is holistic in that it focuses on the total transformation
of a soul for Christ. It involves the following processes:
1. Finding: This is a situation where a leader and the whole church
make an effort to reach out to unsaved souls with the good news message of
what the Lord Jesus came to do for mankind and he or she is convicted and
converted by the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. Folding: This is quite common among some Christian leaders and
churches that they feel death alone after any person is converted. Winning
soul without bring the soul into the fold (fellowship) is like going to the sea
to fish and leaving the fish by the side of the sea, same is a new convert led to
Christ but not brought into the Church. It is the responsibility of a leader to
let the members understands that new converts is expected to be folded into
the church fellowship (1 Cor. 1:9).
3. Feeding: The next stage of the evangelistic responsibility to a
convert is to feed them with the word of God. This involves Christian
foundational training, such as:
i. Water Baptism by immersion teaching.
ii. Water baptism.
iii. Spiritual growth, teaching in the word.
iv. Prayer and fasting.
v. Holy Spirit baptism experience.
vi. Bible doctrine teachings.
vii. Kingdom service training.
4. Fielding: Having equipped them with all mentioned above, it is
also the responsibility of a leader, to release them into the harvest field the
same way in order for them to bring in more souls (Luke. 9:1; 10:1).
Until this four steps is taken, the evangelistic outreaches of a leader or
the church is not complete (Matt.
The Role of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism
The Church has no greater need than a new recognition of the place,
person and work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of its ministers and members.
More eloquence, money, members and methods or organization have some
value but are not the supreme need. His Presence is necessary and of major
importance to the work of evangelism of the Church. Scholarship is
deficient, superficial, if not barren, till He reveals. Worship is empty
ritualism or paganistic till He inspires. Preaching is oratorical sham if the
utterances are not in the demonstration of His power. Prayer is a waste of
time unless He anoints and energizes.
All of our resources of learning and experience, possessions and
commitments, discipline and benevolence are unproductive and without
reward unless they are yielded to and possessed by the Holy Spirit. Without
the power of the Holy Spirit all human efforts, methods, and plans are futile.
Evangelism by the aid and empowerment of the Holy Spirit is fundamental
to the whole task of the Church and is imperative not for some Christians,
but for all. The evidence of our areas of interest within the ecclesiastical
frame is distressful.

1. Discuss the place of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism.
2. Examine personal and Cooperate Involvement in Evangelism.
3. Discuss the Steps to be taken to make Evangelism Central in the
4. Examine the Scope of Evangelism.
Abbot, J.D.; The Holy Spirit And Evangelism: A Positional Paper.
Conference on Evangelism December 30 – J a n u a r y 1 , 1 9 7 0
Sheraton-Gibson Hotel Cincinnati, Ohio.
Akanni, Gbile. Foundation to Christian Living: Bible Study for New
Believers, Peace House Press, Gboko, Benue State, 2006.
Catherine, Soanes; Stevenson, Angus: Concise Oxford Dictionary.11th ed.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Douglas, G. Young, Young’s Bible Dictionary. Edinburgh, USA. Tyndale
Publishing House, 1984.
Fraser, David A. & Edward R. Dayton; Planning Strategies for World
Evangelization. Bakers Publishing Group,1990.
Gordon, A.J. The Ministry of The Spirit. Philadelphia, London: American
Baptist Publication Society, 1894. accessed 17th May 2017.
Ramer Resources; Concept of Leadership.
pdfs/Concepts-of-Leadership.pdf. Accessed 17th May 2017.
REACH: A Team Approach to Evangelism and Assimilation. Baker Books,
Smith, Rom. The ABC Of Personal Evangelism. Fishers Fellowship: STL,
1986), 14
Soanes; Catherine Stevenson, Angus: Concise Oxford Dictionary. 11th ed.
Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress, 2004.
Thomas H.W. The Present Call to Evangelism.
docs/churchman/049/Cman-049-2-Thomas.pdf, Accessed 17th
May, 2017.
Walter, Elizabeth; Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary, 3rd Ed.
Cambridge University Press, 2008.
outh is the dawn of new possibilities, a time of high hopes and Ygreat opportunities. It is the beginning of incredible aspirations
and a time of lofty dreams. It is the vital and formative years of
life when dreams are made or marred, successful or shattered.
The youth are the backbone of any organization. This is particularly so
for any movement that seeks to have a future. Youth is the morning of life. It
is a period of life when all the energies are available for practical work and
when dreams come alive, when the stress of overbearing responsibilities
have not dulled the dreams or the water of life quenched the fire of
aspirations. Yet, for all its worth, and for all its glory, youth is a delicate
time of life. It is enigmatic and troublesome, full of possibilities yet full of
Lamar Vest observed that the most common weakness of local church
youth ministry is the absence of a clearly defined philosophy (Vest,
1980:17). Many churches never get into youth ministry except by accident
such as when one young person falls into a personal crisis-drugs,
immorality, and truancy at school, hooliganism, gangsterism, teenage
pregnancy and rebellion.
Who is a Youth?
The age range admitted as youth varies from one organization to
another. In some cases, youth is made to include teenagers, that is, from
thirteen years of age to nineteen. In some other places, youth is placed from
about age eighteen (18) to about age twenty-five (25). In some
organizations, youth is made to include age thirty (30) to thirty-five (35) and
sometimes, even forty (40). This suggests that placing the youth is not the
same everywhere. However, is there an agreement among educator
regarding the age range of youth? How do educators place the youth age
range? Although there is some agreement in how educators place the youth
age range, differences still exist. The way educators place the youth age
range is, in most cases, a function of the purpose they want to serve.
Among educators, youth age range is usually subdivided into junior
highs (12-15 years of age), and senior highs (16-19). Then, there are the
young adults, form age 20 about 35 or even 40, depending on the culture and
the community that is doing the placement. So, broadly speaking, youth
could be defined as a person who is within the age brackets of 12 to 40 – a
broad combination of the very young and the young adult. Politicians place
the youth age range differently. They usually think of youth in terms of
voting age.
Consequently, writing on how to serve the youth in a general sense
might not make sense. This is because, for one thing, the needs of the youth
change, depending on the age. Furthermore, and even more importantly,
their needs, like a moving target, also change from time to time even at a
particular age. In most books on education, particularly, Christian
education, youth needs are addressed according to age categories – in most
cases, junior highs, senior highs, and young adults (Clark, 1964:173-192).
J. Edward hakes, categorizes youth as Junior High, High School Youth, and
College Age Youth (Hakes, 1964:12-14). Another categorization is: Early
Adolescents, Later Adolescents, and Young Adults.
Meeting the General Needs of the Youth
In order to lead the youth in the path of maturity and the fulfillment of
their lives’ purposes, there are three major areas that church leadership must
look into: leading them to believe sound biblical doctrines, helping them to
grow in all their developmental areas, and stimulating them to aspire to and
achieve the purpose of God for their lives. Church leadership that seriously
seeks to develop its youth will do well to pay particular attention to their
developmental needs. According to Guiles, successfully meeting the
developmental needs of the youth produces a reasonably happy and
successful person (Guiles, 1973:21-22).
The developmental needs of youths are almost legion. This is due to the
dynamic nature of their lives. It is also due to their process of growing,
passing through different stages of development. According to Robert J.
Havighurst, developmental needs are those things that constitute a healthy
and satisfactory growth in an individual (Havighurst, 1967:2). He added
that they are the things a person must learn if he is to be judged and to judge
himself to be a reasonably happy and successful person. According to
Guiles, the developmental needs of youth stem from four general sources:
physical, spiritual, social and intellectual (Guiles, 1973:25).
Paul L. Walker in Counseling Youth writes of the physical
developmental stage of youth as a period of rapid change in bodily
development (Walker, 1967:23-25). Edgar Friedenberg describes the
youth developmental stage as a time when they youth learns to differentiate
himself from the culture. It is the age at which, by becoming a person in his
own right, he becomes capable of deeply felt relationships to other
individuals (Edgar, 1959:9). Guiles identified the following as
characterizing the physical developmental needs of the youth: accepting
and using the body and one’s physique effectively, achieving new and more
mature relations, and accepting all the strange things that are happening as a
part of normal development (Guiles, 1973:25).
Walker identifies the youth’s social developmental needs as
characterized by a search for a place of acceptance and worth in society. He
further observes that when the youth turns to an adult for assistance at this
stage, he is often disillusioned by a complete lack of understanding and a
tendency to force upon him traditional demands which he cannot
comprehend let alone accept (Walker, 1967:25).
Spiritual Developmental Needs
The Christian teacher has a special role to play in the spiritual
development of the youth at the early adolescent age. Fortunately, this age
group is willing to learn. Generally, he pursues whatever he does with zeal
and vigour. Guiles suggest that spiritually, at this stage in their
development, the youth wants a practical religion his soul is a rich soil for
the gospel message, he has a vision for service, and he is assailed with many
religious doubts, and seeks an ideal (Guiles, 1973:33). Marjorie, on his own
part, believes that at this stage in his spiritual development, the youth needs
a religion that is personal, full of action, and emotional. He adds that the
youth at this stage is assailed with many doubts, is able to appreciate the
abstract and the atmosphere of reverence (Majorie, 57).
Leading the youth to believe the sound doctrine of scripture appears to
be the greatest and most challenging responsibility of leadership toward the
youth. Doctrine comes before duty. Duty rests squarely on doctrine. As one
believes, so shall one behaves. Laying a sound biblical doctrinal foundation
in the life of the youth can be a very daunting task indeed. To begin with, the
leader must start by modeling the way himself. One example is worth a
thousand explanations. As a result of the peculiarities of their age, the youth
needs someone to look up to whose lifestyle truly and faithfully
demonstrates the principles of scripture. Without such a model, not even
the most brilliant of explanations would convince the youth of the
practicality and authenticity of the Christian doctrines.
In terms of guidance, the church can provide much that the youth cannot
get elsewhere. Bible instructions in the Sunday school, worship in church
services, training in youth programs, instruction and expression in vacation
Bible school, fellowship and more instructions in camp meetings.
Nurturing Youth at Different Age levels
The Early Adolescent Age
The early adolescent age ranges between twelve and fourteen years (12-
14). It is a period of life characterized by different pressures, chief among
which is peer pressure. It is also a period of life marked by many changes,
physical, metal, spiritual, and social. Early youth or early adolescence is a
period characterized by physical awareness. This is because many physical
changes take place during this period. The physical changes include puberty
which involves development in the sex glands. It is a period of life when
girls begin their menstruation. As matter of fact, girls at this age tend to
mature faster physically than boys (Hakes, 1964:174). Margaret Jacobsen,
points out that one out of every ten girls reaches puberty by age twelve (12)
and eight out of ten by age fourteen (14). She added that in boys, puberty
occurs on an average of two years later than girls (Zuck, 1968:98). All of
this suggests that youth is a period when the capacity for sexual activity
Early youth is also a period characterized by intellectual awakening.
This is the age when the intellectual capacity of the individual begins to
unfold. A this stage, there is an increasing awakening of mental selfawareness as well as an increase in the desire for knowledge. The church
and the home must therefore ensure that adequate provision is made to
supply the youth with the literature needed to enhance his mental
development. This is the age of mental as well as physical explorations in
search of meaning. Although the adolescent is growing intellectually, he has
not yet developed the capacity for initiatives, analysis of facts, and
discretion. At this stage of life, the youth needs to be taught and guided in
the development of his reasoning ability, decision making, and simple
problem-solving procedures.
Early youth is a period characterized by social pressure. Early
adolescents usually become products of the culture and environment in
which they find themselves. Popularity is of utmost importance at this
stage. There is also a serious crave for attention and prestige in the sight of
peers. Girls become more interested in the opposite sex, sometimes
indiscriminately. Social relationships expand as the youth goes to school
farther away from home. They want to make new friends and generally hate
the feelings of loneliness. At this stage, the youth begins to learn to make
decisions by themselves. It is the inception of the age of accountability.
There is also a growing awareness of a sense of self separate from other
people. At this stage, the youth begins to develop a sense of responsibility
which involves ideas about right and wrong. According to Robert J,
Havighurst, this is a period of life when his own peers exert a huge influence
on his life. As a matter of fact, this is the most significant feature of early
adolescence (Havighurst, 1953:123). He is particularly inclined to the way
of life of his peers. Early youth is also a period characterized by emotional
sensitivity. Caught between childhood and adulthood, the adolescent is
emotionally sensitive. Sometimes, this emotional sensitivity is
demonstrated in an outburst of extreme excitement or extreme anger. The
adolescent needs to be loved and allowed to develop a sense of self-identity.
The young adolescent stage is characterized by emotional sensitivity.
Caught between childhood and adulthood, the adolescent is emotionally
sensitive. Sometimes, this emotion is demonstrated either in an outburst of
extreme excitement or extreme anger. The adolescent stage is characterized
by character development. The adolescent becomes a self-directed, selfreliant person.
As the early adolescent mature, he is confronted with such questions as
what should be my relationship with the opposite sex. Does God exist? If so,
what should be my relationship with him? In these regards, the effective
youth leader will endeavour to guide the youth in his quest for answers to
these vital questions in a biblical way. When the youth senses the genuine
commitment of his leader to his progress, he will respond positively. Youth
at this stage place more value in a teacher who is genuinely concerned about
their needs and interests than a skilled teacher who proves to be insensitive
to their challenges.
The adolescent youth gradually becomes independent from parental
control and moves towards the realization of self-control. It is therefore the
responsibility of the leader at this stage to help the youth balance his sense
of independence so it doesn’t degenerated into rebellion.
Resolving Early Adolescent Conflicts
Another important task of a youth leader is to help them resolve the
conflicts in their lives using biblical principles. A usual area of conflict in
the youth is conflict of values. This often arises as a result of the
inconsistencies between secular and religious education, particularly where
these two are at variance. Sometimes what the youth learns from the church
is not the same and can even be diametrically opposed to what he learns in
school. Consequently, the youth ends up not knowing what or who to
believe. The obligation of the youth leader or teacher at this crucial stage is
to help the youth to search for the truth based on the standards of the Bible.
One other area of conflict is the balance between having a good time and
facing other necessary responsibilities. The natural inclination of the youth
is to play, forever, if possible. The youth needs help to settle this conflict.
Yet another area of conflict for the youth is the conflict of moral standards.
There is rapid development of conscience at the early adolescent stage. The
youth at this stage is well aware of being accountable for his actions.
According to Hakes, the purpose of Christian education is to teach the
truth of God in such a way that the student comes to know Jesus Christ and is
controlled by His spirit to fulfill God’s purpose through him (Hakes,
1964:176). Here, the youth leader’s responsibility is to guide the youth in
the right way pointing their attention to biblical ethics. Finally, the youth is
not only in need of guidance but must also be encouraged and empowered to
do what is right. For the youth, knowing is not enough. Although willing to
do what is right, it is the general characteristic of the youth to feel powerless
when it comes to performance.
The Young Adults
The next stage of youth development is what some educators have
referred to as young adults, college youth or the high school youth (Hakes,
1964:184). This is the stage that is just about a step away from adulthood.
The youth at this stage needs to see the relationship of God’s word to the
immediate world of experience and reality – their secular school teachings,
their inner longing and the desires of their changing bodies, as well as the
shifting moral standards in a world of conflicting values. Just as the secular
world is succeeding in interpreting its philosophies of life, the church
leadership must be prepared to help the young adult imbibe a worldwide
that is Christian. The young adult seeks friends and recognition. He is
confident and sometimes, even overconfident. He has a sense of power and
vision. Seeing himself as an adult, he wants to perform adult tasks. The
young adult also seeks adventure.
Hakes, highlights some of the important questions agitating the mind of
the college youth. These are: The purpose question: does God have a
purpose for my life? The career question: what should be my life vocation?
The marriage question: whom should I marry? (Hakes, 1971:192). Robert
E. Clark et al, itemize the following as characteristic of the young adult: It is
the age of spiritual metamorphosis from the faith of the parents to a personal
faith, they are more vocal and could be bluntly honest, they seek selfidentify and healthy self-images, they get easily tired of the status quo, and
church activities are challenged by other interests. Being independent, they
are usually confronted with challenges as well as opportunities (Clark,
Qualities of an Adult Leader forYouth
1. Must be born again
2. Must be a mature Christian
3. Exemplary in conduct
4. Must be friendly
5. Must be a student of the Bible
6. Must be prayerful
7. Must be filled with the Holy Spirit
8. Must be available
9. Must be a good listener
10. Must be patient.
11. Must have a sense of humour
12. Must be able to keep secrets
1. Who is a Youth?
2. How can a Youth be nurture from one stage of development to another?
3. How can Early Adolescent Conflicts be resolved?
4. Examine how the Spiritual needs of the Youth can be met
5. Discuss how the Youth leader can handle Young Adult
6. Discuss the Qualities of an Adult leader for Youth
Clark, Robert, E., Lin Johnson, and Allyn K. Sloat, (Eds)., Christian
Education: Foundations for the Future, Chicago: Moody Press,
1964, 173, 184, 192.
Coleman, James, S., The Adolescent Society, New York: Free Press, 1961.
Friedenberg, Edgar, The Vanishing Adolescent, Boston: Beacon Press,
Gangel, Kenneth, O., Leadership for Church Education, Chicago: Moody
Press, 1979.
Guiles, Cecil R. Developmental Tasks and Education, Chicago: David
Mckay Cosect, 1967.
____________ Ministering to Youth, Cleveland, Pathway Press, 1973.
Hakes, J. Edward, An Introduction to Evangelical Christian Education,
Chicago: Moody Press, 1964.
Havighurts, Robert, J., Human Developmental and Education, New York:
Longmans, Green and Co., 1953.
Irvin, Roy, G. and Roy B. Zuck, Youth and the Church: A Survey of the
Church’s Ministry to Youth, Chicago: Moody Press, 1968.
Marjorie, Soderholme, Understanding the Pupil, Part III, Grand Rapids,
Michigan: Baker Book House, 1960.
Tidwell, Charles A., Church Administration: Effective Leadership for
Ministry, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1985.
Vest, Lamar, The Church and Its Youth, Cleveland: 1980.
Walker, Paul L., Counseling Youth, Cleveland: Pathway Press, 1967.
What is Discipleship?
“Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt.2818-20).
The above quote calls for interpretation especially the keyword “Disciple.”
Christian disciples are followers of Christ Jesus. The word is derived from
Koine Greek word “mathetes” which means a pupil (of a teacher) or an
apprentice (to a master). A mathetes is a perpetual learner. A corollary in
Latin is “discipulus” which in English translates ‘a student’. Thus a disciple
is a follower of the ideals of another person.
Discipleship connotes a relationship between a teacher (discipler) and a
student (disciple). Discipleship is a pilgrimage through life and not a
course. It is about having our character transformed by the spirit through
responding to God, living in relationship with other Christians and allowing
our entire personality to be shaped by Jesus.
Formally defined, discipleship is teaching bible precepts, while
modeling and guiding others toward living righteously as followers of Jesus
Christ. Simply put discipleship means followership. It is the act of a born
again Christian following Jesus and learning of Him in order to be like Him.
A disciple is usually very intimate with Jesus yoking Himself to learn from
Him. One should note that discipleship is not a one day affair rather an ongoing process. It is a lifelong process in the student to develop an intimate
relationship with God through Christ using the instrumentally of men and
women of God.
The process of discipleship should normally entail: Transformation and
repentance making God a priority; learning the written word of God and
living by it with commitment: Loving, edifying and serving others as God
leads (I John 3:11-16): Committed to righteous life, being fruitful and
accountability with godly authority.
Commitment of a Disciple
Commitment is a constant strong love for something or somebody. It
can also mean to be dedicated, consecrated or solemnly set apart for a
particular purpose. It is solemn attention to God in worship; a yielding of the
heart and affections to God, with to reverence faith and piety and also in
religious duties. Commitment can be manifested in God’s word, in unity of
the church, in Christian fellowship, soul-winning, in evangelism, in prayer
and in fasting.
From various passage of the bible, the disciples of Jesus were earnest in
service and spent their lives with the Lord. The disciples were devoted to
prayer. This was a means of walking closely with the Lord. They were not
prayer contractors like we have today. Moses and Daniel, Elijah and Elisha
devoted their lives and time to prayer and God manifested Himself to each
of them and through them. The disciple of old developed the culture of
regular fating to subjugate the flesh as they walk with the Lord. Fasting is a
means to an end and not an end in itself (Acts 13:1-3; 14:23; Matt. 9:14-15).
Disciples need to be devoted to prayer and fasting to be able to
commune effectively with God. We must pay rapt attention to the word to be
able to know the mind of God (Ezra 7:10, Psa. 119:9-11). By studying the
word regularly, the disciple’s personal life is transformed. Yokes that
militate against fulfillment of divine purpose in life disappear. By obeying
and living by God’s word, they gradually become transformed to become
like Christ who His model.
Another very key commitment of the disciples of old was the oneness of
the body of Christ. They showed constant love and loyalty in the oneness of
the body of Christ. In mark 3:25, the Bible averred that a house divided
against itself cannot stand. As Christians one rational thing we must do to
ensure the growth of the kingdom on earth is live in peace with others and to
support the leadership of the church.
A true disciple must be committed to the fellowship of believers in
Christ. Devotion to fellowship of believers means showing deep
understanding of the coming together of all Christian irrespective of
denominations to move the kingdom of God forward. Discipleship is a
process of transformation. A disciple must be committed to the process
physically, materially and spiritually. The entry point of the process is to be
born again. There are several other steps to be followed thereafter. Loyalty
is crucial in the process of discipleship. We observe that the disciples of
Jesus were not only actually faithful and obedient but loyal to the end except
for one Judas Iscariot. They did whatever the Lord commanded them. They
left their jobs, their homes, their friends to do the will of the Lord (Jn. 6:6-
69). The Bible noted that Elisha, Peter, James, John and Paul ended their
discipleship well but not so with Gehazi, Judah Iscariot and Demas.
Disciples are usually committed to witnessing about Christ. The
disciples of Jesus were able to give evidence about the life of Christ. They
may not have noticed the birth of Christ but bear evidence to His ministry,
death and resurrection. The disciples commitment to witnessing about
Christ earned them power from above for effective witnessing. Preaching
the gospel is a crucial part of witnessing about Christ.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he who wins soul is wise
(Prov. 11:30). Soul winning, which is deliberate act of winning souls for
Christ is essential for disciples. For one to win soul for God’s kingdom, we
must have right standing with God, be ready to go and speak for Christ; be
prepared to preach the word, have a compassionate heart, be prayerful,
stand with and in the Holy Spirit and seek wisdom from God. The bible
devoted a significant place in describing the examples of discipleship
relationships e.g Paul and Timothy; Abraham and God; Christ and the
twelve; The Levites (Ex. 32:19-29); David and Solomon; Elijah and Elisha
(I Kgs. 19-16-21; 2 Kgs. 3:11; 2:1-25).
Transformational Discipleship in the Church
Discipleship is a lifelong journey of obedience to Christ which
transforms a person’s values and behavior, and results in ministry in one’s
home, church, and the world. Discipleship is at the core of what the
Christian church is about. Discipleship leads to evangelizing and changed
lives, to righteous and abundant living, to joyful and meaningful service for
all who desire it. Thus, what it is all about is this: every believer is a disciple
with a lifelong potential of growth and service. Discipleship is learning to
be like Christ. Knowing Christ, instead of just knowing about Him, results
in a spiritual transformation in life and heart that reflects Christ to all
Since God’s purpose is to save a dying world, and the only path to
salvation is through His Son Jesus Christ, allowing the Holy Spirit to make
Christ visible in us testifies of Christ’s presence to the lost and believers
alike. Christ has said that believers are His body and, like Him are to serve
God’s purpose. Since Jesus led by continuously pointing to the Father,
believers are to do the same. Jesus is our model for leadership that serves
God’s eternal purpose. Therefore, every believer, who would grow to
Christ-likeness is a leader, or potential leader, in pointing the way to God
through Jesus Christ.
Health Churches
Church health is a product of spiritually transformed people who are
growing in obedience to their Master. Helping people know and become
like Christ is the goal of transformational discipleship. Our bodies use their
various parts to inform us, strengthen us, and help us grow; involvement
with the rest of the body of Christ cannot happen in isolation. When we
come together in groups of believers to study, pray, and fellowship, we
encounter the Christ Who transforms by the presence of His Holy Spirit in
our lives and in our fellow believers. Small groups usually make this
encounter with the body easier to observe and participate in. The added
benefit is the growth of each member’s understanding of how the body
works. As the member is transformed, he becomes more award of God at
work in other groups, including, but not restricted to his congregation. He
can see the kingdom being grown when he encounters members of other
congregations, denominations and ministries. He also sees how God moves
across the bridges of relationship to form partnerships between groups. To
be a healthy church you must have a plan for discipling believers. While
there are many ways a church can provide for discipleship, the method that
works best for most churches is to have a ministry that focuses squarely on
discipleship. Diligent planning and faithful execution are musts for an
effective discipleship ministry. Not only is planning required, it must be
done regularly to be most effective. Not long ago churches planned a year
in advance, then almost sat back and let those plans unfold. Today, planning
is an ongoing discipline learning what God wants you to do, identifying
where God is working, and joining Him as you plan for short and long team
discipleship ministry.
How to Develop a Discipleship Ministry
1. Know your purpose-to make disciples: Planning is a process that
articulates organizational purpose (mission), weighs external opportunities
and threats, gauges internal strengths and weaknesses, and determines
appropriate goals and actions designed to shape the future.
2. Know your church’s vision for discipleship: Many churches are
discovering the importance of thinking through and having a written vision
statement. A vision statement (sometimes called a mission statement or a
purpose statement) provides a focal point for identify the reason for
existence. A vision statement develops out of a common vision with which
all people associated can identify. It is the pivot upon which all the goals
and actions are balanced. Sometimes trying to put your vision into words is
harder than it seems. Consider appointing a task force of develop the
statement. Members could include the pastor, education staff, and key
people from Sunday school and discipleship ministries. Present it to the
church body for approval. Including the church as a whole will ensure a
greater sense of ownership in the statement. After the church has developed
its vision, encourage all areas of ministry to develop/adapt individual
statements of vision or mission. Planning with a vision to disciple believers
is a vital part of every New Testament church.
3. Determine needs: What kinds of discipleship needs do believers
have? Easy, just think of yourself. What kinds of needs do you have? Do
you need to know and use your spiritual gifts, develop a closer walk with
God, become a more supportive parent or a more loving spouse? How about
your devotional life; could it use a boost? Think of your own needs, and
then multiply them a hundred-fold to begin to understand the scope of the
discipleship needs of believers today. Last year adults bought millions of
self-help publications, attended thousands of special-interest workshop and
seminars, and sought the help of an army of trained counselors, therapists,
and mentors. Adults may not always know how o meet their needs, but they
certainly are in touch with what those needs are. This presents the church
with a tremendous opportunity. Adults are searching for someone or
something to help them make sense of their lives, find something to belong
to, and learn how to make a contribution to their families and friends.
Specifically, believers need to know and use their spiritual gifts, know and
live out God’s plan for their lives, be able to share their faith with others,
develop a disciplined prayer life and Bible study, strengthen relationship
with family and friends, involve themselves in ministry and service to
others become involved in accountability groups, build strong Christian
families (adult believers), develop good parenting skills (adult believers),
and strengthen relationships with co-workers (adult believers). Acharacterbased discipleship ministry is designed to address needs and issues that
other church ministries do-not. Therefore, it can help believers deal with
practical concerns that confront them every day of their lives.
4. Plan and offer discipleship experiences: Discipleship experiences
are the heart of a discipleship ministry. Discipleship experiences are the
actions churches take to meet people’s discipleship needs. Some examples
include: a short-term study of experiencing God for adults or youth, a study
of Jesus on leadership for leaders, and a team Kid Club for children or
preschoolers. Discipleship experiences help people take important steps
toward spiritual maturity and Christian ministry. Most discipleship
experiences today are modular in nature, which means they are not locked
to any particular time in the weekly schedule. These experiences can be as
effective on Sunday, Monday, or Wednesday night as Sunday or Tuesday
morning. In one sense, this makes discipleship easier than ever to
accomplish. The challenge for today’s discipleship leaders is to plan the
appropriate discipleship experiences that meet people’s needs, help
transform lives, and enable the church to carry out its mission.
5. Persuade people to get involved: Now that there is a plan, you need
leaders. Champion for discipleship make the most effective discipleship
leaders. Discipleship champions: love God deeply; are growing in their
relationship with God; want to see others’ lives transformed; are gifted by
God for the work they do; are patient, kind, and nonjudgmental; are
committed to doing their best; enjoy working with people; have a positive
attitude; are trainable and flexible.
1. Why is Discipleship?
2. Discuss the processes of Discipleship.
3. Examine how to develop a Discipleship ministry.
4. Discuss how Discipleship transforms a Church.
5. Explain the Commitments expected of a Disciple.
Adetunji, Oluwaponmile Gideon: Leadership in Action: A Sourcebook in
Church Administration for Students and Ministers, Ibadan,
Nigeria: Baptist Press Nigeria Ltd., 2010.
Barry, Sneed & Roy Edgemon: Your Helping People Be Like Jesus
Transformational Discipleship. Lifeway Press Nashville,
Tennessee, 2002.
Bridges, Jerry. The Discipleship of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the
Pursuit of Holiness. Colorado: Springs, 1994.
Brookes, Jill, Training and Development Competence, Pentonville,
London: Kogan page 1995.
Carlos, Ortiz Juan, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield, New Jersey, Logos
International 1975.
Gangel, Kenneth, O., Leadership for Church Education, Chicago: Moody
Press 1970.
Gbile, Akanni; Discipleship Work: A Collection of Bible Study Outline.
Peace House, Gboko Nigeria, 2004.
Gbile, Akanni; Understanding the Concept and Conditions for
Discipleship. Peace House, Gboko, Nigeria, 2004.
Peterson, Jim: Right From Wrong. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1994.
Peterson, Dayke; Lifestyle Discipleship: The Challenges of Following
Jesus in Today’s World, Colorado, Springs; NavPress, 1993.
Tidwell, Charles A., Church Administration: Effective Leadership for
Ministry, Nashville: Broadman Press, 2006.
Vangnan Roberts (ed.); Workers for Harvest Filed. The Goodluck Co, UK
Publications, 2006.
Weems, Lovett. Church leadership; Vision, Team, Culture and Integrity,
Nashville: Abingdon Press,1993.
child born today is generally believed to be the future of the
family, society and the world at large. The birth of every child Ain different ages brings joy and fulfillment to the family. The
children ministry of the church is very important because if the children
ministry is not productive and effective, it will definitely affect the future of
that church. The best place to bring up a child in the fear of the Lord who is
equally going to make maximum impart in the society is first and foremost a
Christian home and consequently the children ministry arm of the church
(Bronfenbrenner, 1998:76).
One of the major challenges in children ministry today is the
advancement of technology. Technology as good as it is has in a way
sidetracked the children from the adult which is supposed to be the major
means of building moral culture into them, the children are expected to
learn treasured beliefs, norms and great virtues of life from the adults.
Today, most children take lessons from watching cables and to worsen the
issue, the adults too are not interested in pulling the children along. There a
lot of Christian families who have lost their children to the world because
they do not just have quality time to train and develop their children.
The result of this is children, having sensed their own neglect, quickly
gather their isolation about themselves and set their feet against all others. It
is as if a malignant module had exploded in our society to set every
horizontal age group against every other. The college student confesses that
they cannot communicate with his younger brother, the high school student
looks with contempt on the fourth grader, and the junior high youngster
would not bother with a preschool child except for babysitting money. To
put it plainly, affection across the generations has gone out of our lives; we
live as strangers under the same roof without our own children (Zuck &
Clark, 1975:7).
The Concept of Children Ministry
Where do children stand in the church educational ministry? Are they at
the center of its concern or at the focal point of the church extravagant
display? Jumoke Odofin opined that “Children Ministry is an area mostly
neglected by the churches today because of the enormous belief that
children cannot receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior until
they reach the age of accountability.” (Odofin, 2015:34). On the same note
Roy Zuck and Robert Clark commenting on childhood education says
“Theology and the child seems to be made of different stuff some are
tempted to ask is theology really for a child, isn’t it more for a theologian”
(Zuck & Clark,196745).
If we will make a meaningful impact in this generation, if there would
be a solidified future church, there is a need to build the Children’s Ministry
and church. Children have to be properly reached not for the growth of the
21st century church. The task is enormous and urgent, Proverbs 22:6, says
“train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not
depart from it.” Also in Matthew 18:14 Christ said concerning the children,
“Even so it is not the will of your father who is in heaven that one of these
little ones should perish.”
What is Children Ministry?
There are lots of misconceptions today about children ministry. To start
with, we will look at what children ministry is not. First, children ministry is
not a childcare center created to enable the adults enjoy the service so as not
to the disturbed by their children while service is going on.
Secondly, the children ministry is not a place where the church rejects
or “do no good” workers are sent in order to find something to do. Thirdly,
children ministry is not where you keep the children busy doing nothing in
order for them not to disturb their parents when worship is going on. If all
the above are not children ministry, what then is children ministry?
Aminister serves the congregation and ministry serves a particular group of
people. Therefore children ministry can be define as a body set up to serve
children. In view of the above definition, children ministry involves all it
takes to grow a child into achieving his/her purpose in life. It is what
foundation is to a house and what childhood is to a man. If childhood is that
important, we have to take it seriously so as to raise godly leaders, citizens,
nation builder etc. To effectively achieve this, it entails having personalities
with vision, wisdom and other qualities a destiny builder needs to achieve
success. In view of these, the children ministry is not a place for mediocre
or lay about. Children ministry also involves networking; it is not a one
man show rather the whole church should be involved in helping these
future leaders in fulfilling God’s purpose for their lives.
Children ministry which is also referred to children church is defined
according to Sonja Stewart and Jerome Berryman in their book Young
Children and Worship “as a Sunday morning worship activity for children,
whereby they have the opportunity to worship God on the level of their
understanding. Children’s worship is ideally held simultaneously with the
adult worship or during a portion of that time and should be molded after it”
(Sonja & Jerome, 2007:34).
Importance of Children Ministry
Reggie Joiner & Carey opined that Children’s ministry is a major
conduit for getting families involved in ministry. Families in a survey
indicated that they are tuned in to the presence and role of the children
ministry. They also assess it as a high-value ministry, with 76% stating that
children ministry plays a key role in their church. Not only does the
children’s ministry get kids involved in church, but it’s also a significant
influence in getting parents involved in ministry, too (Joiner &
Consider these remarkable statistics – and how your ministry can serve
as a gateway to getting parents involved in the overall church for healthy
church growth. 65% of parents say they are regularly involved in the
ministry as volunteers who help out monthly or weekly. 20% say they are
occasionally involved and may help out during special events and programs
when asked to.12% say they are moderately involved, and they typically
help out with special events and programs or as fill-in teachers. Just 3% say
they are not involved in ministry at all (Joiner & Carey, 2010:41).
Jenny Brown observed that families with kids in the children ministry
are some of the most active and committed members in a church. The
characteristics of families were looked at, three significant characteristics
stood out: long-term commitment, financial investment in the church, and
loyalty to the ministry. We found that 52% of families have been members
of their current church for 10 years or more. In addition, 57% of the families
surveyed said they tithe weekly and 24% say they give financial support
when they can. Sixty-three percent of families said their financial support of
the church has increased since they began attending (Brown & 2012:7). The
families also indicated a strong attachment to the children’s ministry, with
62% saving the ministry is very important to whether they’ll remain
involved in their current church. In a nutshell, these statistics show that
families with kids in the children’s ministry are more likely to be committed,
loyal, financially supportive participants in a church.
An unhealthy or declining children’s ministry program may result in
families leaving a church. A weak children’s ministry impacts church
growth. The quality and health of a children’s ministry program strongly
influences families’ views on staying – or leaving – their church. The
majority (69%) said that if their current church didn’t have a strong
children’s ministry program, they would’ve had second thoughts about
joining in the first place. Sixty-one percent said that if the current children’s
ministry program ever diminished or died, it would definitely influence
their decision to stay at the church (Brown & 2012:12). Parents agreed that
children’s ministry has changed their family’s behavior at home.
Challenges in Children Ministry
1. Volunteers: – Volunteers are the biggest asset of a children
ministry. There is no children ministry without them. There is not children
ministry that doesn’t need more volunteers. The challenge is how do you
enlist them? How do you equip them? And how do you keep them?
2. Less Frequent Attendance Pattern: – Families are attending
church less frequently. Whereas “faithful attendance” used to be 3-4 times a
month, now it’s once a month. Some of this is due to kids splitting time
between divorced parents, sports programs and extremely busy schedules.
3. Shallow Faith: – 50% of people who have walked away from their
faith say it is because they simply do not believe any more. Their faith was
shallow and when it was put to test, it wilted away.
4. Equipping Parents to Disciple their Kids: – In the last decade,
there has been a greater emphasis placed on equipping parents to be the
primary spiritual leaders of their children. While there have been lots of
great resources developed, it is still a big challenge to find resources that
parents will actually use on a weekly basis.
5. Changing Family Dynamics: – “Family” is no longer just defined
as the traditional unit of a husband, wife and two kids. You must know how
to effectively minister to single parent families, blended families, grand
families, foster families and more (Kinnaman & Lyons, 2007:45).
6. Seeing Guest Families Return: – Even churches that have lots of
guests coming struggle to see a good percentage of them return. How do
you get them back? How do you get them involved? How do you get them
7. Developing Layers of Volunteer Leaders: – As the ministry
grows, it becomes critical to raise volunteers who can care for and lead other
volunteers. Establishing this next level of volunteers can be a challenge. It
requires more in-depth training investment and development of volunteers.
8. Multi-Site Challenges: – Multi-site churches are now the norm.
There is a multi-site church in every major city in the country. Many of you
reading this are leading a multi-site children’s ministry or will be called
upon to do so in the future. Multi-site children’s ministry helps you reach
many more kids and families, but it also comes with its own unique
9. Erosion of Truth: – Postmodernism has led us down the path to
“there is no absolute truth.” Truth is based on individual preferences. What
is right for you is right for you and what is right for me is right for me. All
this challenges at one point or another face any church that has children
Leadership Role in Children Ministry
Families often choose a church based on their opinion of the children
ministry. Are the components of children program world-class? Is the
children ministry appealing to families that are church shopping? There are
some components that make a difference in children ministry in some
setting these elements may be more mutes, but each part has its place in
effective programs evaluation.
1. Visionary Leadership: – Twenty-five years ago, many children
ministry leaders were the “Sunday School Superintendent” type. David
Kinnaman opined that they managed classrooms and recruited “workers.”
Today’s leaders are required to inspire the masses to participate, train a top
notch team, set the pace for future ministry growth, and be aware of
contemporary approaches to children’s ministry. When a person leads a
ministry with vision, it serves as a magnet to those who are considering
involvement Kinnaman, 2011:56). Funding for programs is often easier to
procure when a visionary-type person leads the ministry. Visionary
leadership is not always limited to the children ministry staff. There is great
value in programs where the executive pastor or associate pastor shares big
dreams concerning the children program. Visionary leadership is crucial to
children’s programs for moving from a status quo level to the level of
excellence that has future growth as its catalyst. Visionary leadership is
knowing the primary purpose of your children ministry, the overall
direction, and how you will get there (Beckwith, 2010:40).
2. Team-Based Models: – Another component of an effective
children program is the commitment to work together as a team. This as a
proficient ministry approach in churches of all sizes. May opined that it is
important to emphasize that the concept of teamwork not only be taskrelated, but also reflect a true commitment on the part of team members to
work together and grow together. Unfortunately, in the early days of
children’s ministry development (late 70’s), the leader did everything.
Today, team managing skills have to be learned and implemented to make
ministry more effective (May, 2004:34).
3. Partnering with Parents: – Parents often report that the children
ministry only contacts them when help is needed. This perception can lead
to a major disconnect with the parents we serve. Well-designed programs
encourage parents to provide input in the ministry and seek creative ways to
provide support to these parents. Building relationships with parents needs
to be a primary initiative of today’s children ministry leaders.
1. What is Children’s Ministry?
2. Examine the importance of Children’s Ministry.
3. Discuss the Challenges faced in Children’s Ministry.
4. Examine the place of Leadership in Children’s Ministry.
Beckwith Ivy. Formational Children’s Ministry: Shaping Children Using
Story, Ritual & Relationship. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2010.
Bridger Francis. Children Finding Faith: Exploring a Child’s Response to
God. Queensway: Scripture Union, 2000.
Brown Jenny. Growing Yourself Up: ‘How to Bring Your Best to All of Life’s
Relationships.’ Exisle Publishing: Wollombi, 2012.
Fowler Larry. Rock-Solid Kids: Giving Children a Biblical Foundation for
Life: (Ventura: Gospel Light, 2004).
Garland Diana. Family Ministry: AComprehensive Guide:Downers Grove:
IVPAcademic, 1999.
Joiner Reggie & Carey. Parenting Beyond Your Capacity: Connect Your
Family to a Wider Community. Colorado Springs: David C Cook,
Kinnaman David and Gabe Lyons. Unchristian: What a New Generation
Really Thinks About Christianity…and Why it Matters.’ Grand
Rapids: Baker Books, 2007.
Kinnaman David. ‘You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving
Church…And Rethinking Faith.’ Grand Rapids: Baker Books,
May, S. B. Children Matter: Celebrating Their Place in the Church, Family
and Community. Posterski, C. Stone House, 2004.
Meduoye Felix. Building According to Pattern: Resource Material for
Leaders and Ministers. Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria,
Lagos, 2015.
Miller Sue and Staal David. Making Your Children’s Ministry the Best Hour
of Every Kids Week. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004.
Moser Ken. Creative Christian Ideas. Surry: The Good Book Company,
Odofin Jumoke, in Building According to Pattern Resource Material for
Leaders and Ministers. Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria,
Lagos, 2015.
Sonja Stewart and Jerome Berryman. Young Children and Worship. Grand
Rapids: Baker Books, 2007.
Urie Bronfenbrenner. The Unmaking of the American Child in Two Worlds
of Childhood. New York Russel Sage, 1998.
Zuck Roy and Clark Robert. Childhood Education in the Church.
Zondervan Publishing House. Grand Rapids: Michigan, 1967. com/2016/10
What is Church Politics?
hurch politics imply the way church leaders relate to one Canother and to others in exercising authority and determining
the way things will be done in church life. It involves
formulation and implementation of policies for the smooth running of the
Church. It is generally agreed that human being are political animals. There
is no human society where there is no politics. Since the church is composed
of humans, politic is inevitable in it. Many people always see politics in the
Church from a negative perspective. It should be noted that politics may be
played in a positive way if the players have had personal encounter with
Christ. Our intention is to consider:
(a) Politics/election of officers in the church
(b) Christians’ involvement in secular politics.
What is Politics?
The word Politics is derived from two Greek words: polis meaning city
and tikos meaning art, skill or method. Thus, Politics is the art of governing
a city. In other words, politics is the art of organizing humans in a society to
live and interact with one another for peace, progress, security and
development of the society.
Also, Politics includes, a process, within or among political
communities whereby public values are articulated, debated and
prescribed; diverse political actors cooperate and struggle for power in
order to satisfy their vital needs, protect their fundamental interest. In a
society where most of the political actors do not uphold biblical virtues, the
integrity of the values could also be questionable.
Politics includes the act and process of governance. The well-being of
the people in political community is to a large extent shaped by political
behaviours and policies of those who are in political leadership. This is
evidence by the type of social services they provide.
(a) Politics/ election of officers in the church
Election time is always a trying time for the church. Some church men
and women become canal whenever leaders are to be chosen in the church.
Sometimes the Devil has a field day in the process.
(b) Christians involvement in politics
The word politics does not occur in the Bible. As mentioned earlier,
politics has to do with governance. Church men and women from time to
time have advanced reasons why Christians should be involved in politics.
These include:
1. God ordained the institution of government (Rom. 13:1-4).
2. It will enhance a conducive environment for the church ministry.
3. Provision of godly heritage for successive generations/
4. For peace, security, integrity, honesty, transparency and equity in
5. The Word of God has something to say about all of life, beyond just
the spiritual.
6. The Bible itself addresses the issue of governance in different texts
(Kings, Samuels, Judges, Daniel, Romans, Peters and Exodus).
7. The Scriptures also teach that on occasion, there may be a need for
civil disobedience. For instance, when the apostles were
commanded to no longer preach the gospel, Peter said that we must
obey God rather than man.
8. When the Church does not speak out, evil will triumph in the land.
9. The Church is called to be salt and light. Salt preserves and prevents
decay: Christians in society should help prevent corruption.
10. Christians in politics will bless everybody when we properly apply
our faith to politics.
11. Politics may be the calling of some in the congregation. Therefore,
ministers should encourage political involvement that is motivated
by the desire to serve.
12. Religion and morality are indispensable supports to our political
1. What is Politics?
2. Discuss the place of Politics in the Church
3. Examine Christians’ involvement in secular politics
any people do not pray because they do not know the Mmeaning, purpose and power of prayer. Neglect and abuse
are inevitable, if the purpose of a thing is not understood. It
is assumed that pastors know the need and how to pray. Pastors find
themselves praying all the time. It is important for them to know the crucial
reasons why they pray, so that they can pray with understanding, depth, and
The potential impact that can be made on any generation by a praying
pastor is awesome and beyond description. As the church moves to the endtime, there is even a greater need for more powerful prayers that will move
mountains, and prevail over satanic forces that are holding countless
numbers of men, women and nations hostage. For a Pastor to function
effectively in his area of calling, prayer is indispensible.
Concept of Prayer
The definition of prayer is inexhaustible and has been defined variously
by different authors. Prayer is man communing intimately, affectingly and
submissively with God (Eph. 1:4-6); Prayer is asking and receiving from
God (Matt. 7:7-11); (Rice, 1970:4). Prayer is man conversing with God to
operate with Him (Gen 17:1-22). It is man walking with God (Gen. 5:24,
Gen. 17:1-3); Man calling for and receiving help from God in times of
distress and dire need (Heb. 4:16). Man exercising a form of friendship
with God (Gen. 18:1-33); Man serving a relationship with God. (Gen 17:1-
27); Prayer is man building a link for traffic between himself and God (Gen.
28:12-15); it is man holding unto God (Gen. 28:24-30). Man dwelling in the
presence of God; it is man generating the presence and power of God in his
life (Jude 20); Prayer is man beholding God to be like him. (Exodus 33:7-
13); Man putting his entire life and being in touch with the Almighty
(Exodus 33:7-13). Prayer can be defined as man crossing the boundaries of
human limitation by employing the powers of an omnipotent, omniscient
and omnipresent God(James 5:13-18); the privilege of associating with
God to enact his own will, plans and purposes (Isaiah 55:3-11); an attitude
of reverential submission to God (Proverbs 1:7); mutual interaction
between man and God (Rev. 3:20); eroding the weakness of man by
infusing the strength of God into him (Eph. 3:14); a weapon of offence and
defense. We describe prayers as mutual fellowship and interaction with the
God, asking and receiving (Aransiola, 1999:2).
Types of Prayer
1. Prayer of Confession: This is the kind of prayer that involves
repentance from all kinds of sins. The Bible enjoins us to confess our faults
one to another and pray for one another, that there will be healing in the
house. The Psalmist said that he will acknowledge his sin and iniquities and
confess his transgression unto God who forgives sin. This is the basis for
answered prayer.
2. Prayer of Intersession: To intercede means to intervene, interfere
or to mediate. Intercession means to come between so as to modify the
course of events. It is coming to God on behalf of another. It is going
between or standing in the gap. (Ezek. 22:30). Essentially, it is the act of
pleading by one who in God’s sight has a right to do so in order to obtain
mercy for one in need (Cindo,1996:). Moses interceded for the children of
Israel. Abraham also interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah. There is a great
need for pastors who will stand in the gap for their members.
3. Prayer of Thanksgiving: Christians are to give thanks to God in
everything. A pastor should, in prayer appreciate God for what God has
done, and for what God is set to do in his life.
4. Prayer of Supplication: Supplication is an earnest beseeching of
God to the point of begging. Supplication is intercessions, requests,
petitions and desires. In the book of (I Timothy 2:1) says, “I exhort
therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of
thanks be made for all men.” It is the kind of praying that took place prior to
Pentecost and is spoken of in Acts 1:14.
5. Binding and Loosing: “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind
on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be
loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth
concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them, by My Father in
heaven.” (Matthew 18:18) (Cindo,1996:). Two of the most powerful
weapons of spiritual warfare are binding and loosing, or forbidding and
Postures/Manners in Prayer
1. Kneeling: The posture of a pastor while praying speaks volume
about the kind of prayer he is engaged in. It is interesting to note the posture
of Elijah when he prayed. Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast
himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his needs, while he
prayed. (1 Kings 18:42).
2. Shouting: The posture and manner in which a pastor pray is
determine by their state of mind or condition of heart or the nature of the
problem. At the cross of Calvary, Jesus shouted with a loud voice before he
yielded up his spirit. Jesus is a good example of shouting while praying.
When Jesus was on earth he prayed with loud shout, cries and tears. At the
grave of Lazarus, Jesus lifted up his voice and cried, “Lazarus come up.”
We can learn from the heroes of faith.
3. Weeping: We see in the Bible several characters weeping while praying.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was a good example. Jesus offered up prayers with
tears. There is nothing wrong with weeping while you pray. Jesus prayed
fervent prayer and was heard by the Father. Hanna the mother of Samuel is
another notable famous prayer warrior. The Bible described her as being in
bitterness of soul, as she prayed unto the Lord (1Samuel 1; 10).
4. Quiet Groaning: Hannah prayed passionately for a child. There
was no shouting and screaming. The word of God records that Eli could not
hear what she was praying about. “And it came to pass, that she continued
praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she
spake in her heart; only her lips moved.” (I Samuel 1: 12).
5. Lifting Hands: “I will therefore, that men pray lifting up holy
hands, without wrath and doubting.” (I Timothy 2:8). Men pray lifting up
hands before the Lord. This is a posture of prayer. While Moses was
interceding for the children of Israel and at a point he was tired, Joshua and
Hur held his hands up. Apastor can pray with his hands lifted up, indicating
his total surrenders and reverence to God.
6. Standing: In most of our churches, the congregations stand while
praying. Psalm 26:12 says, “My foot standeth in an even place; in the
congregation will bless the Lord.” The pastor can take the position of
standing while praying. It will not be out of place for a pastor to stand while
praying, if he finds it comfortable to do so (Haward-Mills, 2011).
Hindrance to Prayer
The devil wars against the pastor and desires that he falls in his call. It is
therefore, essential that he is on guard and watchful as he sets time aside for
personal prayer and resist satan from withstanding his efforts in the
ministry. Apastor is exposed to a lot of obstacles in his ministry of prayer.
1. Un-confessed Sin: Sin is a major obstacle to the prayer of a pastor.
The presence of un-confessed sins in the life of a pastor can constitute a
barrier to his prayer. God is a holy and a God is a holy and a righteous God
who cannot behold iniquity. (Isaiah 59:2).
2. Living in the Flesh: When we walk in the spirit we will not fulfill
the lust of the flesh. We receive a new nature when we are born again,
however the old nature still resides in us, and the old nature is corrupt and
sinful. (Romans 8:13). When a pastor is still living in the flesh, rather than
in the Spirit, his desire to pray and ability to effectively communicate with
God is hindered.
3. Selfishness: Selfishness constitutes another hindrance to prayer in
the life of a pastor. Selfish prayers are those that are intended to gratify our
own desires and we should not expect God to respond to such prayers.
4. Un-forgiveness: This is the spirit of un-forgiveness toward others.
When we refuse to forgive others, the root of bitterness grows up in our
hearts and chokes (Matthew 18:23-35).
5. Unbelief: Unbelief and doubt is another hindrance to the prayer of
a pastor. Those who come to God must believe that He is and that He
rewards those who seek Him with a true heart.
6. Misunderstanding: Misunderstanding in the home is an obstacle to
prayers (I Peter 3:7).
Responses to Prayers
God can respond to prayers in various ways. He could say yes, no or
wait (Isaiah 65:24; II Corinthians 12:9). The prayer of a pastor is great and
supreme factor in carrying out God’s work and in the fulfillment of God’s
Principles of Prayer
Prayer should be based on pronouncing the will of God. When God
places a burden on the heart of a pastor, he wishes to accomplish something.
It is then incumbent upon the pastor that the will of God be done, if not the
burden becomes heavier under the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer should be based on the harmony with the Holy Spirit. The pastor
must be in harmony with the Holy Spirit and allow him to speak, move and
deal with the situations at all times. When a pastor is in harmony with the
Holy Spirit, his prayers will have access to heaven.
Prayer should be in unity of mind and purpose. There should be unity
between the pastor and members and between members. Prayers should be
directed to God the Father, in the name of Jesus through the power of the
Holy Spirit in the unity of faith and purpose. There God resides.
Examples of Men and Women Who Prayed
1. Prayer of Jesus: Jesus prayed passionately for the will of God to be
done in His life. The evidence of this was when he had offered up prayers
and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save
him from death, and was heard. Jesus began to sweet blood as he prayed.
The ministry of Jesus was a great success. A pastor will have great success
when he learns how to pray as Jesus did.
2. Prayer of David: David made passionate request that the Holy
Spirit should not depart from him. David knew what it meant if the Holy
Spirit were to leave him is another example of men who prayed. He could
not afford to have that happen.
3. Prayer of Jacob: Jacob’s all-night wrestling prayer yielded
tremendous results. “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man
with him until the breaking of the day. (Gen. 32:24). Jacob was blessed and
so was his seed. Several thousand years have gone by but the fruit of this
prayer is evident for all to see. Israel still stands as one of most favoured
nations on the earth.
4. Prayer of Moses: Moses’ burning prayer for victory over
Amalekites is another example of prayer. “Then came the Amalek, and
fought with Israel in Rephidim. Moses said unto Joshua, choose us out men,
and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill
with the rod of God in mine hand.” As Moses prayed the Amalekites were
total annihilated and humiliated. When a pastor prays, he gives birth of a
new dimension.
Importance of Prayer in the Life of a Pastor
The importance of prayer in the life of a pastor cannot be overemphasized. All through the Bible God always called on his people to pray.
It is obvious that the most powerful men in the scriptures have been men and
women who pray.
Prayer is an antidote against worry, anxiety, surfeiting and cares of this
life (Philippians 4:6-7). Prayer generates holy emotions, right attitude and
righteous disposition in the life of a pastor. Prayer brings God’s peace to the
troubled mind of a pastor.
Prayer helps the pastor to live in the realm of the supernatural, brings
quick divine intervention to his problems, changes hopeless situation in his
life. Prayer is one of God’s appointed means for the pastor to obtain grace
and mercy. The pastor needs grace to live and work, and mercy to walk in
acceptance with God.
It is important that a pastor should pray. Prayer is the main business of
heaven. As he is in heaven so we should be on earth. The concern and
burden of a pastor must be the concern and burden of the church. Just as we
cannot do without breathing, a pastor cannot do without prayers.
A pastor must pray because there is a devil (Eph. 6:12; Rev. 12:12). Satan
and his cohorts are set to oppose the works of the pastor. There is so much
moral bankruptcy, lawlessness, afflictions, disease, murder, wanton
destruction of lives and properties, disasters, hunger, divorce and the like.
Satan is behind all these. The plan of satan is to hurt the pastor and thereby
hurt God’s heart, hinder God’s programmes and his purposes on earth.
Prayer restrains satan and the work. Therefore a pastor cannot afford not to
Prayer is a means, by which spiritual laws are released, laws of the spirit
of life (Rom. 8:3), conversion and revival, judgement, spiritual decrees
(Matt. 18:18), spiritual blessing in heavenly places.
Prayer is important in the life of a pastor because the result of prayer
bring glory to God. (John 14:12). A pastor need to pray so that God will
release more labourers for the work (Matt. 9:36-38), for the harvest is ripe
but labourers are few.
Prayer guarantees victory in spiritual warfare (Exo. 17:8-15), bring
divine protection (Ps. 91:1), brings power and strength to the life of the
pastor, raises standard against all the work of the enemies, boldness and
divine favour in the life of the pastor. Prayer sustains revival, brings
deliverance and spiritual and social emancipation.
In Matthew 6:9-15, we can also glean several reasons why a pastor
should pray; that the name of the Lord might be honoured and sanctified,
that his kingdom might come, that mankind on earth will do the will of God
as it is done in heaven, that we may find food to eat daily, that our sins
mighty be forgiven, that we will not be misled into temptation, that we be
delivered from all evil that we may be able to forgive all fellow human
beings all their eve against us.
Prayer promotes deep spirituality and spiritual knowledge (Eph. 1:15;
3:14-19). Prayer brings spiritual hunger and thirst, increases spiritual
awareness and thus broadens the case of revival. Prayer also encourages
repentance and thus holiness of life (2 Cor. 7:14). It focuses us to the need of
the world and the desire for God to meet the same through prayer. (Acts
Prayer in the life of a pastor helps him to fulfill the will of God in the life
of the pastor (Acts 10:36). Through prayer, a minister acquaints himself
with God. (Luke 1:35). Prayer ushers in strength in the life of a pastor,
facilitates revelation and impartation of Holy Spirit (Gal. 4:19). Prayer
gives power and great effectiveness to preaching of the minister, and
increases the ability of the man of God to affect the world.
The Bible says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against
principalities and powers, against wickedness in high places. It is important
that a pastor should pray for progress, pray for perfection and pray for
victory in the work of the ministry.
1. What is Prayer?
2. Discuss the Types of Prayer
3. Examine the Hindrances to Prayer
4. Discuss the Importance of Prayer to a Pastor
Andrew Murray. The Believer School of Prayer. Bethany House Publisher,
Minnesota, 1982.
Andrew Murray. Andrew Murray on Prayer. Whitaker House, New
Kensington, 1998.
Dag Heward-Mills, Transform Your Pastoral Ministry, Parchment House,
Edward M. Bounds. The Necessity of Prayer. Baker Book House, Grand
Rapids Michigan, 1977.
Edward Bounds. Power Through Prayer. Zondervan Publishing House,
Michigan, 1977
Evelyn Christenson. What Happens When Women Pray. Victor Books,
Fajuyigbe, F.B., Prayer a Potent Weapon, Bash-Moses Printing Company,
Gordon Lindsay. Prayer that Moves Mountain. Christ for the Nations,
Dallas Texas.
Jacobs Cindy. Possessing the Gates of the Enemy. Chosen Books, U.S.A.,
John R. Rice. Prayer, Asking and Receiving. Sword of the Lord Publishers,
Jim Cymbala. Breakthrough Through Prayer. Zondervan, 2003.
John Rice R. Whosoever, Whatsoever; When You Pray. Sword of the Lord
Publishers, USA., 1970.
Moses Olarewaju Aransiola. The Secret of Breakthrough Prayers.
Gethsemane publications, Ibadan, 1999.
Peter Wagner. Warfare Prayer: How to Pray Effectively and Hear Clearly
from God. Destiny Image Publishers, 1997
Peter Wagner. Warfare Prayer: Strategies for Combating Rulers of
Darkness. Regal Books, Ventura CA., 1991.
Paul Yonygi Cho, The Fourth Dimension. Plain Field, New Jersey, 1997.
Rosalind Rinker. Prayer: Conversing with God. Zondervan Publishing
House, 1960.
Simon Kolawole, Minister’s Manual: Guides for Success in Life and
Ministry. Villax Inc. Books 2016.
umans are essentially social beings and our ultimate happiness Hand despair is founded in our relationships. This chapter of the
book is meant to consider benefits of Interpersonal
Relationships. Adequate consideration shall be given to friendships and
more intimate relationships in detail, including theories of types of
relationships and loves, why we need them, how they are formed, what we
get out of them and the stages through which they go. Social and cultural
variations are also explored, as well as the effect of relationships on
our well-being and happiness.
What is Interpersonal Relationship?
An interpersonal relationship is a strong, deep, or close association or
acquaintance between two or more people that may range in duration from
brief to enduring. This association may be based on inference, love,
solidarity, regular business interactions or some other type of social
commitment. Interpersonal relationships are formed in the context of
social, cultural and other influences. The context can vary from family or
kinship relations, friendship and marriage, relations with associates, work,
clubs, neighborhoods, and places of worship. They may be regulated by
law, custom, or mutual agreement, and are the basis of social groups and
society as a whole. Interpersonal relationship is a strong bond between two
or more people. Attraction between individuals brings them close to each
other and eventually results in a strong interpersonal relationship.
Forms of Interpersonal Relationship
An interpersonal relationship can develop between any of the
* Individuals working together in the same organization.
* People working in the same team.
* Relationship between a man and a woman (Love, Marriage).
* Relationship with immediate family members and relatives.
* Relationship of a child with his parents.
* Relationship between friends.
Relationship can also develop in a group (Relationship of students with
their teacher, relationship of a religious guru with his disciples and so on).
Necessities for Interpersonal Relationship
* Individuals in an interpersonal relationship must share common
goals and objectives. They should have more or less similar
interests and think on the same lines. It is always better if
individuals come from similar backgrounds.
* Individuals in an interpersonal relationship must respect each
other’s views and opinions. Asense of trust is important.
* Individuals must be attached to each other for a healthy
interpersonal relationship.
* Transparency plays a pivotal role in interpersonal relationship. It is
important for an individual to be honest and transparent.
Stages of Interpersonal Relationship
According to famous psychologist George Levinger, every relationship
goes through the following five stages.
1. First Stage – Acquaintance: Acquaintance refers to knowing each
other. In order to start a relationship, individual need to know each other
very well. Two individuals might meet at some place and instantly hit it off.
People feel attracted to each other and decide to enter into a relationship.
Common friends, social gatherings, same organizations also help people
meet, break the ice, get acquainted with each other and start a relationship.
2. Second Stage – The Build-Up Stage: This is the stage when the
relationship actually grows. Individuals are no longer strangers and start
trusting each other. Individuals must be compatible with each other for the
relationship to continue for a longer period of time. Individuals with similar
interests and backgrounds tend to gel with each other more as compared to
individuals from diverse backgrounds and different objectives. The buildup stage in a relationship is often characterized by two individuals coming
close, being passionate and feeling for each other.
3. Third Stage – Continuation Stage: This is the stage when
relationship blossoms into lasting commitments. It is when people after
knowing each other well decide to be in each other’s company and tie the
knot. Trust and transparency is essential for the charm to stay in relationship
4. Fourth Stage – Deterioration: Not all relationships pass through
this stage. Lack of compatibility, trust, love and care often lead to
misunderstandings and serious troubles in relationship. Individuals
sometimes find it extremely difficult to adjust with each other and
eventually decide to bring their relationship to an end. Compromise is an
integral part of every relationship. Individuals failing to compromise with
each other find it difficult to take the relationship to the next level.
5. Fifth Stage – The Termination Stage: The fifth and the last stage
is the end of a relationship. Relationship terminates due to any of the
following reasons
* Death of any one partner
* Divorce
* Separation
An ideal relationship results in lasting commitments and marriages
whereas there are some relationships which do start on a positive note but
end abruptly.
Benefits of Interpersonal Relationship
1. Development of Effective Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal
Skills is to have a pleasant, informative and valuable conversation that
leaves a lasting positive impression of you in others’ minds. Interpersonal
skills, for all the mystery and high-talk surrounding them, could be
something as simple as handling a conversation. It is all about learning the
art of giving in rather than giving up. It also includes adequate
understanding of how to use facts and emotions to get people on your side.
To communicate effectively, the first thing we need is not only a good
collection of words, but also a good selection of words. Indeed, knowing
how to speak is fine, but what to speak is the backbone of any conversation.
Proper usage of words and the right manner of communication will create
ways of sharing opinions and expressing ideas in a positive manner
2. Enhancement of Effective Communication:Communication is a
two-way process whereby active listening plays as major a role as speaking
fluently. Speaking fluently without listening will make any conversation a
very short-lived one. Hearing is simply picking up sound waves in our
surrounding and realizing that there has been a source of sound, whether
you have seen it or not. Listening, on the other hand, is not only picking up
sound waves but also understanding the meaning of the words spoken,
analyze them, interpret them, and act accordingly. In short, hearing involves
only the brain, but listening involves the mind. Active listening helps in
getting a deeper understanding of what the person is saying, which in return,
will help you arrive at the most appropriate conclusion. In addition to that, it
also helps you to communicate more successfully and build a receptive,
cooperative image in the mind of the speaker. It helps the speaker to
perceive the listener as a caring, and attentive, an act that will make the
speaker to download all details.
3. Enhancement of Effective Listening: People who cannot listen
cannot relate. Poor listening undermines our ability to communicate with
others. Anyone who wants to be an effective negotiator, interviewer, coach,
consultant, leader or group member needs to be a good listener. Listening
involves more than just hearing what somebody has said. It involves
interpreting what has been heard, and searching for a full and accurate
understanding of the meaning of the other’s message. Listening also
involves more than merely attending to verbal messages. To be a good
listener we need to be able to ‘read’ both verbal and non-verbal messages.
Interpersonal Relationship resulted into effective listening habits which can
manifest in several ways. As everybody knows that good listeners are liked
by others because they meet the basic human needs to hear and to be loved.
People who listen, have the skills to separate facts from fictions, they
effectively deal with false beliefs and prevent the situation when others use
them for personal gain and benefit. Effective listening leads to sensitivity,
and tolerance. Effective listeners are engaged in continuous learning,
permanent knowledge acquisition and skills that lead to greater creativity,
worker’s efficiency, advancement and pleasure. Whenever these are
attained, Job satisfaction increased, and everyone participate in mutual trust
that developed from a good interpersonal communication. Listening
depends on the ability to receive and decode the verbal and nonverbal
messages. Through listening, individuals can satisfy different needs and
goals as this will help in mutual association, interaction, and enhanced
ability to receive necessary information to solve any problem.
Types of listening
(a) Ordinary Listening: Listening for pleasure, recreation,
entertainment and relaxation is the most usual kind of listening. Some
people listen to music all day in order to relax the brain and mask unwanted
sounds during daily routines, work periods and daily duties.
(b) Intensive Listening: When one listens in order to obtain
information, solve problems, or persuade or dissuade (the argument).
Intensive listening involves greater use of analytical skills for solving
problem. In intensive listening, one becomes good evaluator and magnet for
ideas good analysis.
(c) Empathic listening: Empathy occurs when a person is trying to
share feelings or emotions with others. Counselors are used to empathic
listening in dealing with their clients. Good friends, couples and close
associates also listen to each other empathically. Empathy is a valuable
feature, developed by people who are skilled in human relations. Listening
with empathy involves real tact, combined with other good listening habits.
(d) Probing Listening: This a way of listening that involves
encouraging and prompting of speakers to talk about themselves and to
define their concern in more concrete and specific terms.
4. Establishment of Rules: Interpersonal relationship establish rules
and enforce it. Rules serve two major functions in relationships:
a. It regulates behaviour in order to minimize potential
sources of conflict that may disrupt the relationship. Such rules are referred
to as ‘regulating rules.’
b. They provide an exchange of rewards that motivate the individual
to stay in the relationship. These rules are known as ‘reward rules’. Since
different relationships have different goals, the rules obviously differ. For
example, rules in work relationships (such as doctor-patient) are almost
exclusively regulating rules. In contrast, friendship rules include many
rules about exchange of rewards, and marriage involves many reward rules
designed to maintain intimacy.
5. Helps to Create Awareness
(a) Self-Awareness: Self awareness is one of the tools for effective
interpersonal skills. To be a skilled reader of the behaviour of others, one
needs to be aware of self (value and believe) and how this influences the
way the world around us including the people whom we encounter is
accessed and how other people perceive us so as to know how this
influences how they behave towards us. It is observed that people who have
a high level of self-awareness understand how their own values, beliefs and
subjective theories influence what they see and do. This awareness offers
them the possibility of taking account of known biases to reappraise first
impressions and rehearse alternative ways of behaving. There is need to
observe self in action and this can be done by reflecting on patterns of past
behaviour and monitoring how we behave in the here and-now.
(b) Awareness of Others: Reading the Behaviour of Others: The way
we perceive others is influenced by the way we selectively attend to them.
This selectivity is influenced by a range of factors. Internal factors influence
the questions we ask ourselves about others. One of these internal factors is
what we believe and value. For example, we may believe that the people
who matter are those who can make things happen. We may also believe that
such people tend to be assertive, seek to take control of situations and adopt
a task-centre approach to leadership. These beliefs will influence the kinds
of questions we ask ourselves about others. We may pay attention only to
information that helps us to assess the extent to which they manifest these
qualities, and we may completely ignore information about it, for example,
whether they are warm and friendly and whether they can win the
confidence of the people with whom they work. We need to be aware that
we adopt a blinkered approach to perceiving others and that the questions
we ask ourselves about them are influenced by factors such as our values,
beliefs, need, attitudes and mood states. However, we also need to be aware
that we often ask relatively few questions and that we use the limited
information we obtain to infer much more about them than the evidence
merits. We do this by making assumptions about how personal
characteristics tend to be clustered. For example, we may assume that
people who are well dressed, have neatly trimmed hair and manicured nails
are also reliable, attend to detail, carefully monitor progress and adopt a
conservative approach to assessing risks before making decisions. On the
other hand, we may assume that people who pierce parts of their bodies and
wear nose studs are unreliable, fail to pay proper attention to detail and are
inclined to disregard risks when taking decisions. In other words, we often
assign people to categories for which we already have stereotypes. These
stereotypes are important because there is evidence which suggests that first
impressions persist. Once we have stereotyped somebody we tend to be
reluctant to revise this assessment. Our approach to perceiving others
affects both our reading of their behavior and the way we behave towards
them. If the behavior is negative, negative response will be provoked.
6. Helps to Reflect on Patterns of Past Behavior: Another way of
improving our objective self-awareness is to reflect on our past experience
in order to identify habitual, and possibly unconscious, ways of behaving.
Once we have identified patterns of past behaviour we will be able to
recognize them as well as monitor our behaviour in the here-and-now. We
can reflect on whether this habitual pattern is functional. This reflection can
also inform us about our values, beliefs and assumptions about our
relationship with others.
7. Interpersonal Relationship Gives Social Power: Social power
can be defined as the ability of a person to make demands on another and to
have those demands met. Power is an important influence in any
relationship – in friendships, among co-workers, between family members
and especially between lovers. An obvious example of power in a
relationship is that of a boss over the workers, although workers also have
some power in this relationship. Friendships may represent egalitarian
(equal) relationship but each partner has power over the other – the power to
influence decisions, the power to take advice so serious without picking
offence. Power is based on the control of valuable resources.
8. It Creates Special Bond:Interpersonal relationship skills allow us
to share a special bond with our co-workers such that trust and positive
feelings for one another are maintained. This allows a better understanding
among employees as well as more effective communication which made
room for friendly ambience and healthy interpersonal relationships at work.
9. Being open and responsive to feedback from others: Other
people are often aware of things about us that we are not conscious of. For
example, they may be aware that we never fail to communicate our
preferences when relating to some colleagues but that we are not assertive
when relating to others. They may also recognize that when we are being
assertive it is usually when we are relating to younger, less experienced or
junior colleagues, and that when we fail to be assertive it is usually when we
are interacting with older, more experienced or senior colleagues. It may be
very helpful if we were aware of this information about ourselves, but
others may be reluctant to give it to us. One reason has to do with ‘face’. If we
present ourselves as a confident and competent professional who is never
afraid to tell others what we think, it can be humiliating if this positive selfimage is challenged in public. A successful challenge may cause us to ‘lose
face’. This can also be an embarrassing experience for the person who gives
the feedback that causes the loss of face, and for anyone else who is present.
Consequently, people tend to be tactful in their behaviour towards others
and are often reluctant to give them honest feedback.
1. What is Interpersonal Relationship?
1. Discuss the Forms of Interpersonal Relationship.
2. Examine the Stages of Interpersonal Relationship.
3. Discuss the Benefits of Interpersonal Relationship.
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ower and influence go together because with power comes Pinfluence. “Power is potential influence. Power is the resource
that enables a leader to gain compliance or commitment from
others (Hersey, 1984:77). Power is wielded in any setting, be it into family
society, the work place, the market place and in the church. There is no
vacuum when it comes to power. Anytime leaders do not exercise power in a
certain situation someone else will, whether authorized or not. Power has to
do with leadership. To be a leader is to exercise power. Leadership is not
possible without power (Patterson, 1992:68).
Power and influence are important factors to consider in how
institutions, business, organizations and churches are run. No leader ever
set out to fail, but failure is imminent when a leader does not possess enough
power needed to influence his people into changing their behaviour to
achieve a set objective and at the end leaving both him and his subordinates
stronger and better. To successfully influence the behavior of others, the
leader should understand the impact of power on the various leadership
styles (Hersey, 1984:84). Power base drives leadership style; appropriate
use of them can enhance effectiveness as a leader.
On the other hand “Influence is the ability to change another’s
behaviour through words or actions; power is the ability to exert that
influence which in turn enhances one’s status. Status is the ability to
exercise power to influence decisions and outcomes (Daniel & Spiker,
Influence is the act of providing an effect, action or impact without
apparent use of force or direct exercise or command. Power should not be
confused with authority even though they are interrelated. Authority is the
formal aspect of power; while power can be exercised effectively without
one having authority (Patterson, 1992:68). Authority is delegated power, in
other words, authority is the power given to someone on behalf of a group.
The Source of Power
God is the source of power. The ultimate power belongs to him; he is
the giver and taker of power. However, there are different ways of taking
power that is available to man. These are the ways of accessing powers:
According to Philip V. Lewis there are two sources of power.
(1) Interpersonal Source of Power
Interpersonal source of power is that which is gained and exercised
among the people who are the different beneficiaries or other wise of the use
of power (Lewis, 1996:24). This includes:
Referent Power
This is the power granted because the group accepts that person’s
influence. Referent power comes when the followers identify with and
admire their leader. The group place power in the individual and they are
ready to voluntarily respond to his request and expect him to make right
decisions about behavior standards, attitude or values (Lewis, 1996:25).
Legitimate Power
This is when leaders use power to fulfill God’s plan or when they use
power legitimately (Patterson, 1992:67). Legitimate powers are granted to
leaders who have the right to make certain decisions because of their
positions. For example, pastors who have undergone seminary training and
have been formally ordained have more legitimate power than lay
ministers. Legitimate power is increased through trust, respect and honor.
Expert Power
This is released to a leader who possesses special knowledge to solve a
problem, performs a task, or decided on a future course of action (Lewis,
1996:25). One emerges because the group members see him as someone
who has special ability and this is because he has specialized skill,
information, knowledge and therefore others look to him as expert.
Reward Power
This is a person’s ability to obtain desired responses by offering payoffs
(Lewis, 1996:26). The reward may be formal: pay rises, promotions, special
recognition, or award plagues. It may also be informal: pats on the back,
granting of favor, or a dinner for a job well done. This source of power is
meaningful if others value the rewards earned.
Coercive Power
Coercive Power results from the belief that failure to follow directions
will attract punishment (Lewis, 1996:23). The use of coercive power can
gain compliance from the followers but will not create motivation. Pastors
who specialize on using coercive power in getting things done shall realize
that people will continue to leave for other churches where there is teamspirit, empowerment, open communication, dialogue and group
participation. However, any of the five interpersonal sources can get the
job done but referent and expert power are thought to be the best support for
positive work climate.
(2) Structural and Situational Sources of Power
These include information, resources and decision-making. These are
structural and situational sources of power:
Information is power because it is generally believed that the person
who possesses information also possesses power. The leader who has
information that may be of use to followers and decides to withhold that
information exerts a controlling power over the followers (Lewis, 1996:26).
Knowledge is power. The leader who knows what to do and how to do it
from time to time earns the respect of their followers. There should be
continuous search for knowledge because dependence on obsolete data
base may ground any organization.
Resources include facilities, money, machinery and human capital.
Human resources, of all resources need are the most valuable. Power is
gained when resources needed by a group come in through the leader on a
consistent basis.
Decision Making
This is choosing between alternatives. Most models of decision making
include defining the problem, analyzing the problem, establishing criteria
for solution, proposing possible solution, evaluating the alternatives,
selecting a solution, and plotting a course of action (Lewis, 1996:30). An
individual or group can acquire power at the level to which they can
influence or affect some part of the decision making process.
Types of Power
Richard Patterson in his book titled: Effectively Leading: A Guide for
All Church Leadersstates the following as types of power:
This is derived from the position one has with the group.
This is the ability of a person outside the group, in matters unrelated to
the group.
This is gained from different sources or groups who realize they have
greater power when joined together; examples are the Christian Association
of Nigeria (CAN), the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), etc.
People with better and sharper verbal and writing skills than others have
unique power.
The success one has had in one or more areas provides the power not
necessarily related to the setting.
A wealthy member of a group can influence decision making process
and outcomes because he wields great and extensive power and sometimes
that can unduly influence the group towards their own personal goal.
People who are truly spiritual, who show greater walk with God,
character maturity, commitment to God’s word and service have strong
influence over others.
Leadership, Power and Influence
Power and influence cannot be discussed outside leadership because
leadership holds power on behalf of the group to positively influence it into
achieving a set goal. We are surrounded by countless moment in which we
can influence others. Ideally, our influence will be for good but that depends
on us. We will only choose from day to day or from situation to situation,
what kind of influence we will be; that is, the power we have to make a
difference in the world around us (Dungy &Whitaker, 2010:100). It is
influencing people who are led toward the fulfillment of a particular vision.
A good leader influences his team not by coercion or manipulation but by
persuasion and motivation. Sociologists tell us that even the most
introverted individual will influence ten thousand other people during his or
her lives time (Maxwell, 1993:1). This goes to show that everyone
influences someone in one way or the other.
The power a leader wields over the subordinates makes him have
influence over them and this may bring about a change in behavior,
obedience to rule, regulations and procedures, increase in organizational
output and productive, enhance interpersonal relationship and the overall
wellbeing of both the leader and the followers. Most people recognize that
success in organizational life depends in no small measure on the skilful use
of influence, power and authority.
Leadership is to hold power on behalf of others in a positive way as to
influence them in doing what is expected of them towards achieving a set of
goal jointly the agreed upon.
1. Discuss the Relationship between Power and Influence.
2. Examine the Sources of Power.
3. Discuss the Types of Power.
4. Are there Leaders without Power? Discuss.
Adetunji G. Oluwaponmile. Leadership in Action: A Source Book in
Church Administration for Students and Ministers. Ibadan,
Nigeria: Baptist Press (Nigeria) Limited, 2010.
Daniel T. D. & B. B. Spiker. Perspective in Organizational Communication
2nd Edition. Dubuque, Iowa: W.M.C. Brown, 1991.
Dungy Tony with Nathan Whitaker. The Mentor Leader: Secret to Building
People and Team That Win Consistently. USA: Tyndale House
Publisher, Inc., 2010.
Hersey Paul. The Situation Leader. USA: Center for Leadership Studies,
Lewis V. Philip. Transformer Leadership: A New Model for Total
Congregational Involvement. USA: Philip V. Lewis, 1996.
Maxwell C. John. The Developing Leader within You. Tennessee, USA:
Injury Inc.1993.
Miller Calvin. The Empowered Leader:10 Keys to Servant Leadership.
USA: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995.
Patterson Richard. Effectively Leading. USA: Evangelical Training
Association, 1992.
The Elements of Power. http://www.theelementsofpower. com /power-andinfluence, accessed 13/05/2017.
The Importance of Power,, accessed
iscouragement is something that we all live with from time to Dtime. It is easy for us to allow the pressures and burdens of life
to overwhelm us and cause us to despair. Discouragement and
disappointment are normal emotions we all experience even as Christians.
Discouragement is part of life. Everyone struggles with discouragement
from time to time, and it seems like Christians struggle with it more than
others because the Lord uses it to teach us to rely only upon him. Even so, it
is not the easiest thing in the world to live with. Discouragement is a disease
unique to human beings, and its universal – eventually everyone gets it. It is
important to know how to make sure those debilitating emotions do not get
the best of us.
Discouragement comes most often when you do right things but
experience poor results. The fact is that discouragement takes no work at all.
It comes naturally to each and every (Peterson 2000) one of us. Fighting
discouragement can be at times a full-time job. Everyone suffers from
discouragement; fear and anxiety are commonplace in the world.
Discouragement eats a hole in our hearts. It makes us want to quit,
saying things we shouldn’t say, shaking our fists at God. It is a lack of
confidence in one’s ability to resolve the challenge of life tasks. When
people become discouraged about their abilities and worth, they may
eventually develop an attitude of unwillingness and possibly ineptitude to
exert an effort in life.
Definitions of Discouragement
Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present,
and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday,
indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength
for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the
needs of our fellowman and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience
with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God (William, 1978).
Discouragement is the act of making something less likely to happen or of
making people less likely to do something. Discouragement: a feeling of
having lost hope or confidence. All of us deal with discouragement in one
form or another, throughout our lives. Discouragement covers a broad range
of concepts. The verb of discourage means “to deprive of confidence, hope
or spirit; dishearten, daunt.” Afflict, beat down, demoralize, depress,
dismay, distress, frighten, intimidate, irk, and trouble are synonyms of the
word discourage. Discouragement is the lack of courage or confidence. It’s
easy to become discouraged when we are disappointed or tired. At such
times, we feel we cannot or do not want to go on.
Stages of Discouragement
Mild Discouragement: – This can occur when a person experiences
minor problems or pressures that affect his emotions. For the most part, this
level of discouragement goes unnoticed by others and is not long-lasting.
Strong Discouragement: -This can occur when we face major
problems or pressures. This level of discouragement affects our spirits. In
our words and actions, others can easily observe both physical and
emotional indications of discouragement.
Disabling Discouragement (Depression):- If we become
overwhelmed by problems or pressures we experience which drains us of
spiritual, mental, emotional and physical strength. When this happens, our
hearts “melt” within us, and we have no desire, energy, or ability to go on.
Causes of Discouragement
a. ALie from Satan: This is the source of every discouragement. Fear,
unbelief, self-pity, and self-condemnation are by-products of Satan’s lies.
You become susceptible to Satan’s lies when you lose sight of God’s ways or
do not put your confidence in Christ’s provision for your every need
(Ephesians 6:16). We become discouraged for many reasons. Oftentimes,
the cause of our discouragement is a combination of emotional, physical,
and spiritual challenges that makes the situation seem impossible.
Discouragement is a killer! Discouragement has caused many people to
drop out of the church. It has caused them to quit on God. It has caused many
preachers to give up the fight and lay down their Bibles.
b. Fatigue:When you are physically or emotionally exhausted, you are
a prime candidate to be infected with discouragement. Your defenses are
lowered and things can seem bleaker than they really are. This often occurs
when you are halfway through a major project and you get tired.
c. Frustration: When unfinished tasks pile up, it is natural to feel
overwhelmed. And when trivial matters or the unexpected interrupt you and
prevent you from accomplishing what you really need to do, your
frustration can easily produce discouragement.
d. Failure: Sometimes, your best laid plans fall apart – the project
collapses – the deal falls through – no one show up to the event. How do you
react? Do you give in to self-pity? Do you blame others? As one man said,
“Just when I think I can make ends meet – somebody moves the ends! That
is discouraging!
e. Fear: Fear is behind more discouragement than we would like to
admit. The fear of criticism (what will they think?); the fear of
responsibility (What if I cannot handle this?) and the fear of failure (What if
I blow it?) can cause a major onset of the blues.
Steps You can Take When You Start to Feel Discouragement
1. Be Honest: – It does you no good to pretend you do not feel what
you feel. You cannot take action against a negative feeling until you first
admit you have it. Astrong Christian is not someone who never experiences
negative feelings. It is someone who has learned what to do with them when
he or she has them and how to process them biblically.
2. Take Care of YourBody:- If your body is not working, your mind,
emotions and will are also weakened. Sometimes the circumstances of life
drain us dry, and we need to press pause, stop doing, and simply rest and
3. Pay Attention to Your Thought Life:- Maturing as believers
means we learn to think truthfully (Philippians 4:8) and to take every
thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
4. Train Yourself to “See” Life Out of Two Lenses at the Same
Time: – When the Apostle Paul counsels us to be transformed by the
renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2); he is telling us that our mind needs to
be trained to think differently than we have in the past. Part of this training is
to learn to see both the temporal (life is hard) and the eternal (God has a
purpose here) at the same time (Philippians 1:12-14 for another example).
5. Press Close into God: – The truth is life is hard, people do
disappoint and hurt us, and we do not always understand God or his ways
(Nahum 1:7).
6. One Final Tip: – The best way to chase out a negative feeling is
with another feeling. The Bible teaches us “In everything give thanks for
this is the will of God” (1st Thessalonians 5:18). Gratitude is a powerful
antidote for discouragement. We may not be able to give God thanks for the
difficult situation that we find ourselves in, but we can learn to look for
things we can be thankful for in the midst of it.
People Who Became Discouraged in the Bible
Rachel could not have children. One day, she burst out to her husband,
“Give me children, or else I die!” Rachel’s discouragement came from
resenting a situation she has no power to change.
When the Israelites heard that the Canaanites were giants and lived in
fortified cities, they “lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept
that night” (Numbers 14:1). Their discouragement came from comparing a
difficult situation to their resources instead of God’s resources.
When the Israelites travelled in the wilderness, the Bible says, “The
soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way” (Numbers
21:4). In this case, they were discouraged because they were focusing so
much on their difficulties that they lost sight of God’s promises and
David was about to be stoned by his own men when they were
distressed about the loss of their wives and possessions. David’s low point
came through experiencing rejection and misunderstanding from those he
loved. We have the good news that he didn’t yield to discouragement, but
rather “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1st Samuel 30:6).
Elijah came to the point of wishing to die. Two things contributed to
Elijah’s discouragement. First he was physically and emotionally
exhausted. Second, and perhaps more significant, he seems to have pressed
on in God’s work without a clear sense of direction from God. The Bible
records that Elijah ran for his life into the wilderness, but there is no
indication that this was God’s leading. How many times have people
“burned out” in our day by running on empty?
Job said, “My soul is weary of my life.” And shortly after we hear him
ask God, “Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou
shouldest despise the work of thine hands?” (Job 10:1, 3). In light of Job’s
stupendous trials, we scarcely blame him for feeling down, and yet we see in
his discouragement the reasoning that God is not fair in allowing the bitter
experience I am facing.
At one point, Nehemiah was so sad that King Artaxerxes questioned
him closely. Nehemiah was down because he saw the work of God going
backward. The rebuilding of Jerusalem was very dear to Nehemiah, and he
told the king that it “lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with
fire” (Nehemiah 2:3). How many people today feel down because the
projects they have given their lives to turn to nothing?
How to Overcome Discouragement
Rest Your Body: – If you need a break – take one! You will be more
effective when you return to work. If you are burning the candle at both
ends, you are not as bright as you think!
Reorganize Your Life: – Discouragement does not necessarily mean
you are doing the wrong thing. It may just be that you are doing the right
thing in the wrong way. Try a new approach. Shake things up a little.
Remember God will help you: – Just ask Him. He can give you new
energy. There is incredible motivating power in faith.
Resist the Discouragement: – Fight back! Discouragement is a choice.
If you feel discouraged, it is because you have chosen to feel that way. No
one is forcing you to feel bad. Hang on! Do what is right in spite of your
feelings. No feeling lasts forever.
The Benefits of Discouragement
Although discouragement is a form of attack from Satan, God can
redeem any discouraging circumstances and bring blessing to a person who
is a discouraged as that individual seeks God for deliverance. The biggest
benefit of suffering through a time of discouragement is that if confirms our
need for God.
Discouragement can effectively produce deeper maturity in Christ,
because through it God can destroy a believer’s delight in temporal things
(see Philippians 3:7-11) and one’s confidence in human effort (see Romans
7:22-24). God has ordained that His strength be made perfect through our
weakness. God told the Apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for
my strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9).
Discouragement effectively exposes our weakness and should always
motivate us to seek the Lord’s strength.
Quotes about Discouragement
I. Disappointments will come and go, but discouragement is a choice that
you make – Dr. Charles Stanley.
ii. Do not be discouraged if your plans do not succeed the first time. No
one learns to walk by taking only one step – Catherine Pulsifer.
iii. Develop success from failure. Discouragement and failure are two of
the surest stepping stones to success – Dale Carnegie.
iv. Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it
looks impossible and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to
become discouraged – Thomas Edison.
v. Defeat should never be a source of discouragement but rather a fresh
stimulus – Robert South.
vi. It is only after an unknown number of unrecorded labors, after a host of
noble hearts have succumbed in discouragement, convinced that their
cause is lost; it is only then that cause triumphs – Madame Guizot.
vii. In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I
have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my
drawing – incent Van Gogh.
viii. Nobody else can make us discouraged; it is a choice that we alone make
when facing disappointments – Dr. Charles Stanley.
ix. What we do not see, what most of us never suspect of existing, is the
silent but irresistible power which comes to the rescue of those who
fight on in the face of discouragement – Napoleon Hill.
x. Seeds of discouragement will not grow in the thankful heart
– Anonymous.
xi. Every great work, every great accomplishment, has been brought into
manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the
big achievement comes apparent failure and discouragement
– Florence Scovel Shenn.
xii. The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to
allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the
discouragement that must inevitably come – James Whitcomb Riley.
xiii. Discouragement can be temporary – or it can destroy our life. The
choice is ours. If we refuse to deal with discouragement head-on, we are
opening the door for it to completely dominate our life – Dr. Charles
xiv. Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are
sure to succeed – Abraham Lincoln.
1. What is Discouragement?
2. Examine the Causes of Discouragement.
3. What are the Steps to be taken when you are Discouraged?
4. Discuss how to Overcome Discouragement.
5. What are the Benefits of Discouragement?
ll the Pastors are expected to preach the word of God. The object of APreaching is to motivate the listeners to action. After every sermon
the audience should have a clear call set before them that demands
action on their part. Good preaching spurs action such as to repent, to stop
sinning, to study the Bible more, and to deal with anger, lust or greed, to
worship God more and so on. A Pastor should motivate his audience in
A preacher should strive for excellence in content, completeness, form
of delivery, accuracy and clarity of speech. Every Pastor should have a
close, trusted friend to whom he gives the liberty to provide honest critiques
of his sermons. Do not copy the preaching style of another preacher who
you admire. Be yourself in the pulpit. Whenever you preach, speak boldly
and authoritatively (1 Pet. 4:11).
Qualifications of the Preacher
1. Must be Regenerated (Born again).
2. Must love Jesus.
3. Must love Souls.
4. Must be a Student of the Bible.
5. Must be a Man of Prayer.
6. Must be Holy.
7. Must be fit for the work (physically, spiritually, mentally and
8. Must be called.
Necessity forPreaching
1. It is God’s ordained means of spreading the gospel.
2. It is a witness to the facts of the gospel.
3. It is the means of generation faith in the hearers.
4. It is the means by which Souls are regenerated.
5. It is the means by which the hearers are edified.
Preaching through Social Media
The gospel must be preached to all and sundry. All avenues must be
explored. Social media has made the World a global village. Today, social
media has made communication and interaction easier. In a twinkling of an
eye you are connected to people around the globe. Right in your bed room or
living room you can be chatting or speaking with someone in another
continent. Social media has changed the face of interpersonal relationships.
Social media has influenced interpersonal relation in every part of the
world, influencing every aspect of human social life. People do many things
on Social media today. These include: advertizing, dating, shopping,
teaching, preaching and so on. The Social media has been hijacked by
different people.
The Church for a long time did not explore this platform for the spread
of the gospel. However, the recent Corona virus (COVID 19) pandemic that
was instrumental to the closing down of Churches by the government
around the globe has taught the Christians a lesson. Churches used social
media platforms for worship services during this time.

Our generation is a generation of social media. It is important for
preachers to avail themselves the opportunity of using this platform to reach
the world for Christ. Preachers reach a wider audience whenever they use
the Social media. Social media include: Instagram, Face book, what’s app,
etc. and these have become an integral part of communication between
church members. Social media can have both positive and negative.
However, social media usage can also facilitate conflict, jealousy, and
passive aggressive behaviors from users.
1. What is Preaching?
2. Discuss the Qualifications of a Preacher.
3. Examine the Necessity for Preaching.
4. What are the Advantages for Preaching through the Social media>
One of the issues that have continued to generate debate among the
mainline Churches is the movement of some of their members to the NeoPentecostals Churches. Top leaders of the mainline Churches and members
are concern about this trend. Some of the mainline Churches at different
levels have organized seminars, conferences, workshops and lectures to
consider the issue. Stakeholders, Pastors, heads of fellowship groups at one
time of the other met to examine the factors responsible for this ugly
Efforts have been made by some Church leaders to bring back those
who have moved. There are Parents that threatened to disown their Children
if they refuse to attend the church they are attending. Some parents went to
the extent of stopping to pay the school fees of their Children if they
continue to attend a Church different from theirs. These and other steps
taken so far have not yielded any appreciable result. This is because the
migration from the mainline Churches to the Neo-Pentecostal Churches has
been at alarming rate.
What is Migration?
It is the movement of person from one place to another. Another word
for Migration is relocation. Migration is as old as the Earth. Gleaning from
the biblical account, humans have been migrating from one place to
another. The rate at which people migrate from rural areas to urban areas is
very alarming. Most of the people in our cities today were once in the rural
areas. Humans by nature are not static. Causes of migration in most cases
vary from person to person.
The Christian community in any nation of the world is not free from
Migration. The era of reformation in Church history was a period of
migration. All the Church Fathers migrated from their bases to form or join
the organization of their choice. It was migration of Christians that gave
birth to denominations. Today, more churches and denominations are being
formed as Christians move from church to church.
The Mainline and Pentecostal Churches in Nigeria
The mainline or established churches are the churches that were started
by the white missionaries or expatriates many years ago. Examples are the
Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, Baptist, UMCA, ECWA, Presbyterian and
so on. These groups of Churches are also known as Orthodox and
Evangelicals. Their main emphasis is salvation of the soul. These groups are
the pioneer of the Christian faith in Nigeria. The Pentecostal in Nigeria
today are off-shoot of the mainline churches.
On the other side are the Pentecostals. This group believes so much in
the manifestation of the spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
They are not as old as the mainline churches. In fact most of them are
splinter groups from the established churches. Examples of churches in this
category are: Christ Apostolic Church, The Apostolic Church, Redeemed
Christian Church of God, Deeper Life Bible Church and a host of others.
These are Churches founded by Nigerians. Some of the founders of these
churches at one time or the other were prominent members of the mainline
churches who claimed to have received a revelation from God to float a
The neo-Pentecostals are the new generation Churches. Most of them
came from among the Pentecostals. Their doctrines and services are more or
less the same with that of the Pentecostals. However, they are more radical
than the Pentecostals. Examples of churches in this category are Winners
Chapel, Daystar, Mountain of Fire and a host of others. It is believed in
many places that the mainline produced the Pentecostal while the
Pentecostal produced the neo-Pentecostals. They claimed that it was the
failure of the mainline churches that brought about the Pentecostal while the
failure of the Pentecostals produced the Neo-Pentecostals.
It should be understood that most of the founders of Pentecostals and
Neo-Pentecostals are Nigerians. As Christians are migrating from the
mainline churches they are also moving from the Pentecostals churches.
Causes of Migration from Mainline to Neo-Pentecostal
1. Division or Schism in the mainline Churches.
2. Security of life and property.
3. Worship services are not contextualized.
4. Use of prayer book for prayers during services.
5. Unemployment and poverty.
6. Services are too solemn and dull.
7. Community service.
8. In search for miracles.
9. Leadership opportunities.
10. Dressing.
Implications of Migration of Christians
1. Heresy or erroneous teachings on the increase.
2. Poor Church revenue.
3. Reduction in church attendance.
4. Carnality.
1. What is Migration of Christians?
2. Discuss the Causes of Migration of Christians from one church to
3. Examine the Implication of Migration of Christians.
4. Discuss how to curb Migration of Christians.
taff motivation is vital in any working condition in as far as good Sperformance at the work environment is concerned. Poor
working conditions have not been exceptions among the church
staffs. In many poor church settings, church staffs face multiple challenges
in order to get quality care. Welfare is of different nature ranging from
economic, infrastructure, consumables as well as humans among others.
Church staffs are human capital, one of the most important resources an
institution can have. From time immemorial until the turn of the century,
organizations of different capacities have been investing in human
resources as one way of sustaining the existence of their operations. Agood
welfare package to personnel in any given organization has a long-term
impact. Though may be expensive if done well but rewarding.
Providing generous benefits for church employees is part of a strategy
that is used to attract and retain key employees. Benefit packages come in
many shapes and sizes, depending on the size of the church and ministry
organization. Benefits vary greatly by organization and can be as simple as
health insurance for church employees and can be complex. The larger the
organization, the more expanded and diverse the benefits become while
smaller organizations often lack the resources to offer expanded benefit
packages as well as the manpower to a minister them because all employee
benefit packages require a designated person to administer them and
maintain employee file records. The tragedy today is that, many church
members have misperceptions about pay and compensation of ministry
staff. Many ministers are underpaid by community standards. Awojobi
Peter said “It is only a few denominations that can pay their staffs well.”
(Awojobi, 2011:32). Pastors and church staff do incredible job caring for
the church members. The church should take care of them as well.
Rewarding employees for their contributions is what a benefits package is
all about. Creating a fair church employee benefit package coupled with
strong performance management can help churches achieve their
objectives and ultimately their mission.
Where members of staff are less motivated, performance of their work
goes down and usually the quality of services is compromised. Should it be
an organization, then its viability remains questionable. It is therefore,
important to find out what can be done to improve the overall interest of
members of staff so as to promote staff welfare and improve performance.
The Importance of Church Staff Welfare
Nobody can pay the church staff adequately especially a pastor because
of the work they do. What they do is so unquantifiable that you cannot
compare it to civil service or any other job. Pastors put in so much from
morning till night. There is no Sunday, Saturday or weekend for them.
Matthew Harmon, a professor at the seminary in the United States,
conducted research surveys, among pastors in respect to their welfare, and
why they leave the ministry. The research reveals that between 1,500
–1,700 pastors leave the ministry each month. That means on average 50
–57 pastors leave the ministry every single day. “These studies go on to note
several more disturbing statistics:
* 70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid.
90% of pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.
80% of pastors believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected
their families.
80% of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as
50% of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the
ministry if they could but have no other way of making a living.
80% of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry
will leave the ministry within the first five years.
70% of pastors do not have someone they consider a close friend.
70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
100% of pastors have a dangerous enemy who is absolutely
determined to destroy them and the people they lead” (Harmon.
These statistics are sobering, and quite frankly frightening. When a
Pastor is well or adequately remunerated, there will be less worries about
meeting the basic needs of life, which if not provided for, could tempt a
pastor to pilfer the Church funds. The fact can’t be denied that if the church
staffs are not paid well, they may not be honest in handling church funds,
though not encouraged but let the devil not given space. They equally have
responsibilities to meet up with so also is the societal expectations.
Why Church Staff should be Remunerated
The issue of pastors’ and church staff’s remunerations can be quite
delicate, depending on the angle from which it is viewed. For those that
believe such spiritual activity should be strictly voluntary, it might not
really be necessary to pay them any fixed amount, as they should do it for
free and go get their reward in heaven. Others think pastors and other church
staff should have another steady source of income, and should, therefore,
not depend solely on society and members’ good will. In fact some say they
should all be volunteers and for the group that feels pastors should be
adequately rewarded, pastors should not only be adequately paid, but such
remunerations should be worthwhile
A church should definitely provide for the financial needs of its pastor
and any other full-time ministers (1 Cor. 9:14;Matthew 4:4). First Timothy
5:17-18 says, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are
worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and
teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading
out the grain,’ and ‘the worker deserves his wages.’ There is nothing
spiritual about making a pastor or any church staffs “suffer for the Lord.”
Yes, a pastor has been divinely called to his ministry, but it does not follow
that a congregation should say, “Let God take care of him.” God says the
local church is responsible to take care of him and his family. Caring for the
spiritual needs of a congregation is an important work, probably more
important than other things we normally spend money on, such as meeting
our physical needs, maintaining our vehicles, and entertaining ourselves.
It is true that the apostle Paul supported himself as he ministered in
Corinth (1 Corinthians 9:12). He drew no salary from the Corinthians. But
he made it clear that he did this as a voluntary sacrifice on their behalf, “that
in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use
of my rights as a preacher of the gospel” (verse 18). Paul did take wages
from other churches (2 Corinthians 11:8). His arrangement in Corinth was
the exception, not the rule. Sometimes a church is just not able to provide
sufficient finances for a pastor. The pastor in such cases is forced to be bivocational, having no choice but to work outside the church to support his
family, while other church staffs remain volunteers. It is usually better a
pastor to be paid full-time so he can fully dedicate himself to the Lord’s
work of ministering to and shepherding the congregation God has entrusted
to him.
Fixing Welfare Package forChurch Staff
Many have asked about whether a pay package a church offers to their
staff is adequate especially when compares to another church. It is not
always easy to answer that question because Pay pack would differ from
one church to another church but must be commensurate to the economic
reality at that time. “The church in her annual budget, is to vote a reasonable
amount of money for this aspect of the church so as to settle salaries, wages,
bonuses…, when due.” (Awojobi, 2020:27).
The following are some suggested areas to consider when dealing with
church staff pay package. Though some churches may not be in a position to
offer all these benefits, but perhaps they could work toward providing them:
1. A Base Package: The pastor and the church staff welfare should
consider salary and housing allowance. “It is also the responsibility of the
church to provide suitable accommodation for her staff or give some
amount of money in lieu of this” (Awojobi, 2020:30). The salary, of course,
is assumed, and a housing allowance is a designated portion of the staff
2. Self-employment Tax Offset: If your pastor pays selfemployment taxes, your church should consider providing additional funds
that cover the portion they would have to pay if the pastor were classified as
an employee the additional funds toward those costs will be helpful,
because “the salary of the church staff must be commensurate to the
economic reality of the country in which they serve.” (Awojobi, 2020:30).
3. Health, Disability and Life Insurance Coverage: Churches
should be encouraged to provide full family coverage for health insurance
but do cover at least the staff’s premiums. Though the staff may want more
disability and life insurance coverage than the church offers but do offer at
least some level of insurance.
4. Retirement Funds: Even if your pastors are young, help them
think about the future by contributing to a retirement fund for them. Even a
few dollars per month can pay off in the long run.
5. Travel Allowance and Mileage Reimbursement: When church
staff travels, they should not be forced to pay out of their own pockets for
church office-related travel. The Church should make provision in the
Budget for training, conferences or denominational meetings that take
place out of town.
6. Books, Resource and Continuing Education Allowance: If the
church wants some staffs like pastors to continue to study and grow, they
should provide resources for them to do so. They might exceed whatever
allowance provided but covering some of the costs is a motivation. This will
make the pastors to be the best-equipped leaders (whether via attending
conferences or working toward an accredited degree) will encourage them
to get that training.
7. Entertainment and Fellowship Funds: If pastors take only one
family per month to dinner, the costs still adds up if they are paying out of
their own funds. The church should cover the cost of entertainment and
fellowship that intentionally promote the church’s ministry.
8. Phone Coverage: Many pastors use their cell phones recurrently
during the week to do church “business.” Consider providing at least a
portion of these costs.
9. Time Off: Give your pastors a weekly day off and significant time
for vacation (e.g., 3-4 weeks per year). Hold them accountable to get the rest
and relaxation they deserve and need.
10. Sabbatical Time:At least every 6-7 years, give your pastor a onemonth paid sabbatical. A hard-working pastors and staff can use the
sabbatical to prepare for many more years of effective ministry.
Review of Church Staff Welfare Package orCompensation
Determining pay in a church setting is one of the most difficult portions
of church staffing and team building. Job descriptions vary widely as do the
people filling positions, which can make assessing the proper pay for a new
hire or a current church staff member feel nearly impossible. These are a
few practical steps for determining fair compensation amongst the church
staff. By utilizing the following suggestions, churches can make informed
decisions when determining the welfare package for their staffs, which will
ultimately help lead to a long tenure, harmonious staff.
1. Holistically review your organization chart. To assess any right or
wrong compensation, you need to take a look at the church organization as a
whole. It is typically best to start at the very top of your chart and work its
way down. Separate data based on job description, tenure, education (if
applicable), and salary amount. Does anyone’s salary in particular stand out
as not fitting with the general flow of salaries (for better or for worse)? Are
there any salaries not commensurate with job responsibilities? This is the
perfect time to evaluate each of the church departments as a whole to ensure
the church is utilizing the budgets in the best possible way (for example,
everyone has specific job descriptions; there is little overlap in
responsibilities, etc.). There may be discovery of more efficient ways of
organizing so that the budget can be maximized and maybe even find space
for that new position the church has been hoping to hire.
2. Holistically review the role. When addressing what fair and
reasonable pay for a specific position, it is important to do a complete
assessment of the position in question. The church needs to look at the
ministry responsibilities and what kind of value that ministry brings to the
church as a whole. If their ministry is growing and that is directly affecting
all church attendance, it should carry weight in the overall decision about
pay. Look back at history of staff reviews– what kind of employee has this
person been? Are there specific and consistent areas of achievement or
neglect within their ministry or performance?
3. Compare. Having a good grasp on the church organization as a
whole and the specific position in question, there is need to compare the
organization to others in order to get an idea of a fair value to place on the
role. Points of consideration should include the church annual budget and
weekly attendance, as well as the location of such church in comparison to
national averages. ‘Any Church that pays less than the national minimum
wage is breaking the law’. The church should be sure they have the broadest
scope of information possible in order to make a fair assessment about pay.
4. Develop a Personnel Policy. Every church regardless of size in all
ramification should have a personnel policy, sometimes this is referred to as
condition of service, this will help in determining qualifications for service,
duties, expectations of service, remunerations, promotions, information
about leave, retirement plans and some other things necessary. This will
allow justice and fair play within the system.
5. Assess risk of loss. The goal of evaluating compensation is to
determine a fair and reasonable pay package for your employee. It is
important to remember that what is reasonable may not always seem fair to
everyone, but the church have measurable justification for paying a person
what they do. Risk of loss plays a big part in this – the church should
consider what it would cost to lose this employee. Would the attendance and
ultimately the tithes be affected? If the church losses the staff, how much
would it cost to bring in a new staff – one who has not been at the
organization as long or doesn’t have the same experience? How much time
will searching for a new staff take the employees who are already busy?
New, incoming staffs are generally going to cost more than a staff that has
been with the organization a long time. Giving the existing Staff a raise will
almost always be cheaper than having to find a new one, and it will help
utilize a long tenure for the employees and keep the church running happily
and without any interruption.
6. Create an action plan. After evaluating the factors mentioned
above, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Often, you’ll discover that
something needs to be adjusted, and it is hard to know how to make it all
right. The most important thing to note is that it doesn’t need to happen
overnight; “don’t feel like you have failed if you have to adjust” (Treat,
1989:108). Depending on the severity of the adjustment you need to make,
develop a 3-5-year action plan to get everything on track for the future,
keeping in mind what the church’s budget has room to do. The second most
important element of this step is to keep the church staff up-to-date with
what is happening, especially those whose salary this decision directly
1. Discuss the Importance of Church Staff Welfare package.
2. Examine what to consider for fixing Church Staff Welfare.
3. Discuss how to Review Church Staff Welfare Package.
4. Why should Church Staff be Remunerated.
Awojobi, P Olanrewaju, Church Management. Ilorin: Nigeria: Kingdom
Power Communications, 2020.
Berkley, J. D. Leadership Handbook of Management & Administration.
Benin City: Beulah land Publications, 2013.
Treat, Casey, Church Management Leading People in Church Growth,
Washington: Casey Treat Ministries,1989.
Johnson, D. W. (1986). Finance in Your Church. Nashville: Abingdon
Johnson, J. W. (1981). How You can Manage Your Money. Minneapolis:
Augsburg Publishing House.
Nulls, D. H. (2016). Principles of Financial Management in Ministry.
Accra: Ghana, Parchment House.…treat-your-Pastorswell/
What is Spiritual Formation?
piritual formation is the growth and development of the whole Sperson by an intentional focus on one’s spiritual and interior life.
In general terms, it refers to all attempts, means, instructions and
disciplines intended towards deepening our faith and furtherance of
spiritual growth (May, 2012). In Christian spiritual formation the focus is
Christ, that is, to be like Christ. It is a lifelong process as a believer desires
to become a disciple of Jesus and become more like him. This will be
possible because of the divine grace of the gospel and the empowerment of
the Holy Spirit. It involves spiritual practices like prayer, the study of the
scripture, fasting, simplicity, solitude/meditation, confessions, worship etc.
This is a process in which all Christian must be involved. It is a day to day
experience or walk with Christ. A Christian will grow in Christ’s likeness
through Bible study, listening to sound teaching and messages, personal
retreat, attending seminars and conferences, independent studies, Holy
living, being busy for God, associating with godly people e.t.c
Steps to Spiritual Formation
1. New Birth
This is to be born again without age limit. This is to have personal
encounter with Jesus Christ. It is to received Jesus Christ as your personal
savior and become a child of God. He should realize that he is to live in
union with Jesus Christ and such person sin no more and sin will not have
dominion over such person any longer. “It is God’s desire that everyone
must be born again. God never intend that man should merely live and die.”
2. Prayer
Another tool that can be used to attain Christian growth and spiritual
maturity is the place and alter of prayer. Prayer is a complete dependence on
God by communicating desires and patiently awaiting his response. Prayer
is a way to communicate or take our request knows to God. In the aspect of
prayer for spiritual growth one should start with adoration, confession,
thanksgiving, and supplication.
3. Bible Study
In many parts of the world, committed Christians are experiencing the
dynamic impact of Bible study and discussion. Sparked by a growing
hunger to know God’s word, people are banding together to study and
discuss the truths of scripture. The fellowship and personal interaction over
the Bible along with mutual commitment to apply the discovered truths
make the Bible discussion group makes most effective avenues of
Christian’s growth.
4. Devotion
Another aspect of step to Spiritual growth is devotion. Devotion is just
our intimacy with God. Devotion should be done in a quiet place where
there will be no disturbances what so ever. Some people refer to devotion as
quite time. Quiet Time can be defined as a “special time set apart for diligent
study of God’s word and devotion. It is a time with little or no movement. It
is a time of gentleness and humility before God who is the creator of heaven
and earth. Quiet Time is a silent time of communion and communication
with God. In communicating, the communicant speaks with God in prayer
and supplication. He also allows God to speak to him. Quiet Time can be
termed “alone with God.” It is also a time set apart by an individual to be
alone with God, to study Bible and pray.
5. Pursuit of Personal Holiness
To be in pursuance of personal holiness is another important step to
Spiritual growth. To be Spiritual grow, is to be holy in all realms of life. The
Bible say “Be holy because I am holy (1 Pet. 1:15-16) H.B. London, Jr. and
Neil B. Wiseman have these to say “concerning the pursuit of personal
Holiness. Intimacy with Christ nourishes ministry and the pursuit of
holiness keeps the soul in shape….” (London & Wiseman, 1973:174).
6. Solitude from God
Seeking solitude from God is a personal sanctuary. Solitude is an
opportunity to be sought and cherished. It is a time to enjoy the great reality
of God’s presence. It is not, however solitude itself that leads us to precious
moments of fellowship with the Lord. It is what we do in those brief
moments snatched from our busy days that determine what will happen to
them.” (Hybels,1984:115). (Ps. 19:14;63:6; 119:97; Jos 1:8). When I
remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches (Ps.
7. Evangelism
Anyone that desire Spiritual growth must be involved in evangelism. It
is the heart beat of God.
8. Mentoring
Mentoring stands as follow up. When something is started it needs
proper mentoring or follow up if not that an individual may likely go astray
or fall by the way side. Mentoring encourage spiritual friendship. Rowland
Forman, Jeff Jones and Bruce Miller have these to say: “Christian
Mentoring is a purposeful Spiritual friendship to encourage growth in both
the mentor and the protégé. Essentially it is a friendship between two or
more people who respect each other. Mentoring is spiritual in the sense that
it needs to be orchestrated by the Holy Spirit and result in Spiritual
transformation. Mentoring is also purposeful. Going to lunch with
somebody is not in and of itself leadership development. But enjoying lunch
together can provide the occasion for intentionally asking developmental
questions about knowledge base, character and ministry skills of your
protégé (Forman, Jones & Miller,2004:67).
This is where a young person Christian lives with a matured person for
training and discipleship to growth in faith. The mature Christian observed
the growth of the mentee and reproduced himself out of the one he or she is
mentoring. Helps rendered by matured Christians in the right direction to
Christians can become all that is required for steady spiritual growth as
9. Associate with Godly People
Another aspect of steps to Spiritual growth is to associate with Godly
people. Such as attending any spiritual full grow church where sound and
Spiritual Message of God is always preached. By attending such one will
grow up spiritually. “It is an incontrovertible fact that some Christians
seems to experience a much closer intimacy with God then others. They
appear to enjoy a reverent familiarity with Him that is foreign to us.”
(Sanders, 1980:13). Associating with Godly people means to be attending
prayer meeting, Bible studies, debate, drama or any other ceremonies that
can lift up an individual in spiritual realms. (Joshua 1:8; 15:24).
10. Listening to Sound Teaching and Messages.
Another step to spiritual growth is by listening to sound teaching and
messages. One should be very mindful of the literature books that one will
read (1 Tim. 4:6-16).
11. Harmonious Living with One’s Family
In steps to spiritual growth one needs to live harmoniously with one’s
family most importantly people who are giving responsibilities to in the
church. In 1 Tim. 5:8 it says that one who does not provide for his family he
is worse than an unbeliever. It is the Holy Spirit that plays a crucial role in
sanctifying and maintaining harmonious living with one’s family because
one cannot do anything good on his own without the assistance of the Holy
Spirit which will not allow the desires of the flesh but harmonious living
with one’s family and this will surely lead to spiritual growth of an
12. Passion
Passion eventually gives birth to vision that set goals for what to be
attained in life as a Christian. Passions adequately and midwife into visions
or dream drive Christians into exploring ways of knowing God and have
intimate relationship with Him. It should be noted that, there is no holistic
singular step towards spiritual growth every step (s) that must be taken are
interwoven. One is leading to another. Therefore passion form the Christian
life can lead to spiritual growth. Also, passion helps one develop the right
attitude that receptive to experience growth and spiritual maturity.
13. Reliance on the Power of the Holy Spirit
Another requirement towards spiritual growth is the trust, submission
and reliance on the Holy Spirit for empowerment to do and achieve what
looks unaccomplishable before men. His divine power enables Christians
directs their passions appropriately, and thus avoids misplaced priorities.
The Holy Spirit also plays important role in spiritual growth; to guide;
direct, rebuke and increase energy where it is necessary.
14. Sharing
Experience has shown that sharing of faith and teaching the word of
God can eventually spur believe into growing spiritually. The one who is
sharing through teaching becomes challenged to be above board and alert,
so as to live up to the expectations of the audience. He or she is thus pushed
to seek more of knowing and understanding God; and developing intimate
relationship with God.
15. Living hope in the 2nd Appearance of Christ
Another tool that can usher Christians into spiritual maturity and
growth is the hope of Jesus Christ second coming the anticipation of his
appearance and lack of knowledge about when but every genuine Christian
in the desire to prepare and know Him the more.
Hindrances to Spiritual Formation
These problems as enumerated below can turn a clog in the wheel of
steady growth to maturity.
(1) Inconsistent Christian life
A man who is not spiritually matured will not be able to stand firm for
Christ in time of trials (Matt.16:24).
(2) God and His demand taken forGranted
Such a person will take things of the spirit with levity. It will become
impossible for him to abide by the teaching of the scripture or live by it.
Majority of such persons always abuse the privilege of grace.
(3) Disappointment due to long waiting
Believers who refuse to grow are always looking for miracles and are
more interested in what benefit they will derive from following Jesus. These
sets of people are prone to feel disappointed whenever things are not
working the way they perceived.
(4) Loss of Focus and Selfish Desires
Lack of spiritual growth we lead to loss of focus and selfish desires.
Heaven ought to be the utmost desire of every believers but today the
pursuit of men are blessings and prosperity which the Bible says is an
“additions” if we could seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness
(Matt. 6:33). To many the minor has become the major in their Christian
5. Lack of ProperDiscipleship.
Some young converts are not willing to be disciple. Others do not see the
need for discipleship by claiming that the Holy Spirit will teach them all
Benefits of Spiritual Formation
The following benefits accrue unto us as children of God through personal
spiritual growth.
1. Sharing in the divine nature – The goal of every Christian should be
to become more like Jesus each and every day. At the point of salvation, we
were giving the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. We are able to share God’s
divine nature as a result of the Holy Spirit’s power.
2. It helps us to escape the corruption of the world. When we are
focused on spiritual growth; we take our eyes off of the lust of the flesh, lust
of the eyes, and the pride of life. Our focus is on the Lord and how we can
become more like Him.
3. To avoid laziness and unfruitfulness – The point of salvation is not
to wait around in a lazy state for His return. God wants us to lead fruitful,
productive lives for His kingdom purposes. We can accomplish this through
purposeful spiritual growth.
4. To remember our cleansing from sin – It reminds us that we are
sinners that are saved by grace and as such we should strive to live the life of
5. Confirms our calling and election into God’s family – Living a
Godly, productive life is evidence of our salvation. This in no way saves us,
but demonstrates to the world that we are His children.
6. To avoid sinning – When you are working on these steps for
spiritual growth, it becomes more difficult to live in a fleshly, worldly state.
We avoid sin because we are attempting to live lives that are pleasing to the
1. What is Spiritual Formation?
2. Discuss the steps to Spiritual Formation.
3. Examine the Benefit of Spiritual Formation.
4. Discuss Hindrances to Spiritual Formation.
Allen, Leonard, Compiler, The Contemporaries Meet The Classics on
Prayer, West Monroe: LA: Howard Publishing Co., 2003.
Balentine, Samuel E. Prayer in the Hebrew Bible: The Drama of DivineHuman Dialogue. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1993.
Benner, David. Care of Souls: Revisioning Christian Nurture and Counsel.
Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998.
Blackwood, Andrew L. Leading in Public Prayer. New York: Abingdon
Press, 1958.
Bloesch, Donald. The Struggle of Prayer. Colorado Springs: Helmers &
Howard Publishers, Inc., 1988.
Bondi, Roberta. To Pray & to Love: Conversations on Prayer with the Early
Church. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 1991.
Bounds, E.M. The complete Works of E.M. Bounds. Grand Rapids: Baker
Book House, 1990.
Carson, D.A.A. A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities From Paul and
His Prayers. Grand Rapids: Baker Books 2002.
Dallas Willard. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of
Christ. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 2002.
Ken Boa. Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to
Spiritual Formation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.
May, Gerald G. Care of Mind, Care of Spirit: A Psychiatrist Explores
Spiritual Direction. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1992.
Lawrence, Brother. The Practice of the Presence of God. Grand Rapids:
Baker Book House, 1975.
his section examines the main Religious groups in Nigeria with Treference to their roles in peaceful co-existence and
development of the Country.
What is Religious Interaction in Nigeria?
Interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive, and positive
interaction between people of different religious traditions.
Note these for Discussion
1. There are two (2) types of Muslims in Nigeria:
(a) SUNNI (b) SHIA.
2. Majority of the Muslim population in Nigeria are SUNNI
3. Shia is minority found in Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna, etc.
4. El-ZakZaky introduced SHIA Islam to Nigeria in 1980 (after the
Iranian Revolution). This is a Militant group.
5. Islam came to Nigeria in the 9th century from Egypt through the Arabs
and Berber traders.
6. The Fulanis have been principal actors in the propagation of Islamic
Religion in Nigeria.
7. Islam is believed to be the Religion of the Rulers.
8. At the request of the northern leaders, Christianity was restricted from
advancing into the Muslim heartland of the northern Nigeria.
9. Muslims and Christians had always lived peacefully until late 1970s
(Iranian Revolution).
10. Christianity came to Nigeria in the 15th century through Augustinian
Capuchin Monks from Portugal but later went into extinction.
11. Christianity was re- introduced to Nigeria in the 19th century from
Europe and America via the Yoruba land.
12. The First generations of Christians were Yoruba ex-slaves who traced
their way home from Sierra Leone.
13. The First Mission of the Church of England was established in 1842 in
Badagry by Henry Townsend.
14. To the African Traditional Religionists the coming of Christianity was
considered as a good omen and fulfillment of Ifa Oracle (1830).
15. The Relationship between the adherents of the Christian Faith and the
ATR was so cordial to the point that the Priests in ATR released their
Children to attend Mission Schools.
16. Conflicts started when adherents of the Christian Faith started calling
ATR paganism, fetishism, animism etc.
17. The Christians’ claim that Jesus Christ is the only way to God is
offensive to the adherents of ATR and Islam.
18. Christianity and Islam are the two major Religions in Nigeria today.
19. Christianity is dominant in the South while Islam in the North.Where
Muslims are in the majority they control the political and economic
20. Christianity and Islam are always at loggerheads with each other.
Christians accused Muslims of trying Islamized the Country.
21. In the Southern part of Nigeria, Christians and Muslims are living
together in harmony.
22. Co-operations and harmony can be seen in: Inter-religious Marriage,
Festivals, Community Development, Joint Prayers, Social
Celebrations, Attacks on Social Vices, Business Transactions, etc.
23. Christianity has been under attack in Northern Nigeria since its
24. Christianity is the most persecuted Religion on Earth. The reasons for
Persecution include: The person of Jesus Christ, Christian message is
offensive to many, Anti-Government, Conversion Strategies, etc.
25. In Northern Nigeria where Sharia is practiced, Christian converts from
Islam are to be executed. Christians must not put on a Cross medal, a
Cross or display Christian religious books where Muslims pass by in
the market or cities. Christians must not play Christian music or
instruments in their church where it will disturb the peace of the Muslim
nearby. Christian under Sharia is considered as a second class citizen.
26. Islam is propagated through Jihad.
27. Christianity has always use evangelism and social services such as
schools, hospitals, investments, etc to advanced her Faith.
28. Interaction of Religions in Nigeria should promote peace, love,
harmony, and development for the Nation.
1. What is Interaction of Religions?
2. Examine the Conflicts between Christians and Muslims.
3. Discuss the factors that foster good relationship between Christians and
African Traditional Religion in Nigeria.

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