CHURCH PROLIFERATION AND ITS EFFECT ON THE UP-COMING GENERATION
The objective of this study was to examine church proliferation and its effect on the up-coming generation. Specifically, the study sought to determine the factors responsible for the proliferation of churches in Nigeria, to assess the effects of proliferation of churches on the up-coming generation and to examine the role of the church towards reducing moral decadence among up-coming generation. Research questions were raised to guide the study.
The study adopted a blue print design which specifies how data would be collected to analysis a given identified problem. The target population for this study was divided into Primary and Secondary respondents; primary respondents church members. Secondary respondents comprised church leader/head identified through referral by the church and community members.
A simple random sampling technique will be used to select 28 respondents from the population. The instrument for data was a structured questionnaire constructed by the researcher. A mean score rating method was used to analyses the data based on the 2.5 acceptance region format to answer the research question, while to address the research hypothesis, the chi-square was used.
The findings of the study showed that Church Proliferation significantly affects the up-coming generation and the society at large. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended among others that; there should be laid down principles guiding the establishment of a church. On the one hand, in the early church history, church is not just founded on the ground of I’m called or I’m a convert, but it is done under the authority of apostleship.
Church proliferation and its effect on the up-coming generation
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The proliferation of churches in Nigeria recently is one issue that has attracted reasonable attention. A stroll down the average Nigeria Street will reveal the widespread presence of churches (Efe, 2012; Morgan, 2015). And with thousands of registered churches within its domain. It is pertinent to ask what factors account for the proliferation of churches in Nigeria.
In reaction to this question, Ajiki (2008), Efe (2012), Olukayode (2013), observed that the proliferation of churches in Nigeria is to a certain extent the result of schisms and break-away. This was significantly fuelled by Martin Luther’s revolution that laid the foundation for the proliferation of churches.
Many scholars (Efe, 2012; Morgan 2015; Ajiki, 2008; Olukayode 2013) attributed the proliferation of churches in Nigeria to poverty and the rise of materialism in our society. Consequently, little regard is paid to the means of attainment as material wealth has become an end in itself. As such, many poor and average Nigerians are surrounded by signs and symbols of wealth.
To an observant mind, the pace at which churches are spreading like a wildfire in Nigeria is alarming. In the country, there is freedom of worship, places of worship are full, pilgrimages are over-booked and there is evidence of religious fervour all over the places. Many people were cashing in on the situation, as they launch new religious organisations and societies. There is evidence that many are just charlatans looking for a means of livelihood.
Many are perhaps genuinely religious. But it is obvious that our society has not become upright. It certainly has not become peaceful. There have been and still many hot and cold wars in the name of religion. (Fayomi 1993:37). Churches are noted to be springing up at an alarming and unprecedented rate in all available spaces, shops and uncompleted buildings. Worship come up in warehouses, hotels, abandoned cinema buildings, studios and other public places.
It is a common sight to see a minimum of fifty different churches on a street of four kilometres long. This may paint a terrible picture, but such is the present rate of church proliferation in the country. In a statement made by Ogidi, he categorically asserts that, “Nigeria is a country with easily the largest number of churches per capital in the world.”(Ogidi 1997:11). Fayomi also described Nigeria as “a fertile soil for the growth of independent churches.”(Fayomi 1993; 32).
These churches, which have risen against the backdrop of moral and socio-economic deterioration in Nigeria society, play a rather significant role in the lives of everyday Nigerians.
Efe (2012) observes that from the top echelons of the society to the lower rungs of the ladder, Nigeria is reputed to be a very religious bunch, placing divine in human affairs. Since the first imprints of Christianity on Nigeria soil in the 17th century, the faith has grown in leap and bounds, with churches springing up by the hour. This phenomenon has had varies effects on Nigeria and Nigerians.
Historically, the socio-economic contribution of the churches since inception and spread is evident in the spread in the provision of education, Health care facilities and services, not to mention the social and moral restraint it has play on million of its followers across the nation (Efe, 2012; Nwaomah, 2007).
Church Proliferation is a process that results in a new Christian church being established. It is a necessity for Christians for the purpose of the propagation of the gospel especially in strict compliance with the injunction of Christ that believers should go into the world and preach the gospel to all nations.
Church Proliferation does not only help to discover the talents of members (especially the ones that are made leaders among them) and enhancing their God given potentials; it also provides an environment for fostering new and creative approaches – exploring new possibilities for biblical and relevant expressions of church that honor God and reach friends with the gospel.
It may also prove to be the most significant way to hand on faith to new generations (Kooistra 2011, p 12). Every believer (minister) and pastor should be involved in some way in Church Proliferation as the population is increasing on daily basis. Although, it can be argued that Church Proliferation is not only the most effective means of reaching more secular people as fresh approaches to worship and evangelism also gives new life to many.
For a local church to be planted, it must eventually have a separate life of its own and be able to function without its parent body, even if it continues to stay in relationship denominationally or through being part of a network (Wikipedia, 2015).
Christians especially the missionary and clergy men have always believed that the most effective way to reach the world for Christ is by starting new churches. This is why every people group and community needs a church.
According to many scholars, the church is the hope of the world which is why they are committed to building mission-minded, transformational churches among every people group and community in the world.
Our global society today is undergoing significant constant proliferation and planting of churches which have brought not only changing values, but also greater source of solutions to people’s problems. This rapid multiplication of churches is borne out of the understanding that in Nigeria, there is freedom of religious worship.
Central to the constant planting and proliferation of churches is the issues of its environmental effects on the people in the society and the prospects as it’s provide solution to people’s problems which this research is out to address.
To an observant mind, the pace at which churches are spreading like a wildfire in Nigeria is alarming. In the country, there is freedom of worship, places of worship are full, pilgrimages are over-booked and there is evidence of religious expansion all over the places.
Many people were cashing in on the situation of massive Church Proliferation, as they launch new religious organizations and societies. There is evidence that many are just charlatans looking for a means of livelihood. Many are perhaps genuinely religious. But it is obvious that our society has not become upright.
It certainly has not become peaceful. There have been and still many hot and cold wars in the name of religion (Fayomi, 1993). Churches are noted to be springing up at an alarming and unprecedented rate in all available spaces, shops and uncompleted buildings.
Worship come up in warehouses, hotels, abandoned cinema buildings, studios and other public places. It is a common sight to see a minimum of fifty different churches on a street of four kilometreskilometres long. This may paint a terrible picture, but such is the present spate of Church Proliferation and planting in the country.
Moreover, churches are noted to be springing up at an alarming and unprecedented rate in all available spaces, shops, warehouses, hotels, sitting rooms, uncompleted building, both private and public school premises to mention a few.
The proliferation of churches in Nigeria today is as a result of numerical strength of churches which was a result of church growth. This rapid multiplication of churches according to Ibiyinka (2011) borne out of the understanding that there is freedom of religious worship in Nigeria.
The society is witnessing proliferation of churches which has brought changes in values, created job employment, Western Education by establishing both Elementary and Tertiary Institution and Hospitals. Likewise it is a great source of solution to people’s problems.
However, the negative effects brought about by the proliferation of churches are over riding the good side of it which is reflecting in the current situation in the country where corruption and moral decadence are the order of the day. It is sad and disheartening that the springing up of churches nowadays fails to stop or reduce moral decadence in the society which ought to be the major impact of churches in our society.
Many people were using the spreading of churches like wild fire for means of livelihood which flicked in our society for not becoming upright and not peaceful. There have been and still are many hot and cold wars in the name of religions according to Fayomi (1993) and confirmed by Nigeria Newspoint (2015).
The present rate of Church Proliferation in the country is such as having a minimum of fifty different churches on a street of few kilometers long, having some or more different churches sharing the same story building in Urban Areas and Cities where there are lack of space .
This situation made the columnist of the Nigeria Newspoint (2015) categorically asserted that Nigeria is a country with the largest number of churches per capital in the world” and that Nigeria has become a fertile soil for the growth of independent churches.
Many greedy pastors were taking advantages of freedom of worship or religious practices to launch new churches, religious organizations and societies as a means of livelihood, encouraging robberies, stealing, corruptions and crimes by praying for members that brought or donated a huge amount of money as gifts or worship offerings without propping to ascertain the source of the money.
The negative impacts on the nation is not peculiar on the planting of churches alone, the spreading of the two major religions, Christianity and Islam in the nation which led to increase in churches and mosques, in turn led to increase in the number of Pastors and Muslim clerics which has a negative impacts on the leaders at the helm of affairs of the nation.
According to Olagoke (2016) a Muslim cleric, the propagation of the two religions has failed the nation and has no positive influence on the national leaders which resulted to the present economy recession, wide spread corruption, high rate of criminal activities and corrupted leaders in the nation.
The national leaders are under the teachings of either Pastors or Muslim clerics which ought to have positive impact on them, and this has reflected in the governance of the nation if the pastors and the Muslim clerics perform their roles as priests of God and not priests of stomachs. The way of governance and high rate of crimes witnessing in the nation are clear evidence of negative impacts of the planting of both churches and mosques on the nation, Nigeria.
In a statement made by Ogidi (1997), he categorically asserts that, “Nigeria is a country with easily the largest number of churches per capital in the world.”(Ogidi, 1997). Fayomi (1993) also described Nigeria as “a fertile soil for the growth of independent churches.”(Fayomi 1993).
In urban cities and even rural areas, for lack of space and accommodation, six or more different churches could make do with a storey building. Such is the present state of events all over Nigeria. For example, in Ekiti State, as rightly observed by Tokunbo (2007), there are well above One hundred and fifty-seven Pentecostal denominations alone between 1970 and 2004 (Tokunbo, 2007).
More parishes and new religious movements continue to be springing up each passing day. The spiritual discernment reportedly used by the Pastors and leaders planting churches in Nigeria is, “We prayed about it, and God said go and establish your own church.” Very often, one cannot compete with the self-proclaimed revelations and answers to prayers received by leaders looking to baptize their whims in God-talk.
The phrase is usually evoked to silent objections and avoids careful teaching and accountability. And apparently, its use is on the rise, “God told me so” is now perhaps the dangerous four-word-sentence uttered by church leaders and planters.
Several factors have been found to be responsible for this massive Church Proliferation. They include economic recession, rapid evangelization, beliefs and practices, unhealthy rivalry, genuine thirst for spiritual nourishment, theological issues, fanaticism, leadership tussle and the likes (Falayi, 1998).
Impact of Church proliferation on the up-coming generation
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The phenomenon of Church Proliferation has its effects on the up-coming generation as well as the society at large. However, church proliferation beings about rapid evangelization, development of new leadership, provision of checks and balances to orthodox churches, promotes specialization in ministry and enhances the provision of an atmosphere in which human problems are at times solved (Adesanya, 2004).
On the other hand, it also leads to personality clashes, unhealthy competition for convert via homiletical propaganda, lack of unity, monetary crises, heresies, fanaticism and bickering (Tokunbo, 2007).
Although, massive Church Proliferation has certain negative effects as noted above, but they are not strong enough for total condemnation of the phenomenon. This is because Jesus was reported in the Bible to have said that, the Gospel should be preached to all nations (Mk. 16:15).
Then, Paul in Philippians 1:15-18, supports Church Proliferation and proliferation for the expansion of the kingdom of God. This is because religion is not fossil, but a living and dynamic phenomenon. It will surely continue to increase. However, the researcher is out to examine church proliferation and its effect on the up-coming generation.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study was to examined church proliferation and its effect on the up-coming generation. The following are the sub-objectives of this study:
1. The factors responsible for the proliferation of churches in Nigeria.
2. To assess the effects of proliferation of churches on the up-coming generation.
3. To examine the role of the church towards reducing moral decadence among up-coming generation.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions guided the study:
1. What are the factors responsible for the proliferation of churches in Nigeria?
2. What are the effects of proliferation of churches on the up-coming generation?
3. What are the roles of the church towards reducing moral decadence among up-coming generation?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1. Findings from this study will educate the church administrators and the general public in Nigeria on the merits and demerits of massive Church Proliferation in Nigeria.
2. It will serve as documents that will enlighten the Christian leaders on the need to embark on teaching of morality in churches.
3. This study is going to find the reason(s) why the spreading of churches has negative impact, and also aims to examine the cause(s) of church proliferation in the nation that has no effect.
4. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
Church proliferation and church growth
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on the church Proliferation and its effect on the up-coming generation will cover the spate at which new churches are been established in Nigeria with a view of identifying the it’s numerous effects on the up-coming generation.
1.8 Limitations of study
1. Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
2. Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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