IMPACT OF TEEN EVANGELISM ON CHURCH GROWTH IN ASSEMBLIES OF GOD NIGERIA
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- Background of the Study
Spreading the word to all peoples is one of the Lord’s greatest commands. It is the duty of every Christian to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Teenagers can confidently decide whether to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior. They should be given the opportunity to say, “Children are lost,” if they so desire, after hearing the gospel at that age. It is clearly stated in the Bible that it is God’s divine will for everyone to have access to the gospel and find salvation. The Lord Jesus gave His disciples two final instructions: “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and “go into the entire world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). If we are less concerned about sharing the gospel, God’s favor can be withdrawn from us.
It is becoming clear that many Christians today do not give much thought to the salvation of non-Christians, particularly in relation to evangelism. This is apparent in the way believers act and in the things they value. Evangelism receives little attention in the general environment and focus of Christian activities like prayer, revival meetings, and other well-attended programs. It is clear that the instruction Jesus provided to his followers to be “fishers of men” is either being completely disregarded or is only being applied to a select few. The individual believer does not appear to be involved in the Master’s affairs. To evangelize, according to Parker (1961, 37–38), is to present Christ Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit so that men will come to put their trust in God through Christ, accept Him as their Saviour, and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His Church. Parker attempts to provide a practical definition of evangelism. And the ultimate goal of evangelism is for men to be saved and added to the Church, which is the earthly Kingdom of God. Men must first hear the gospel through evangelism in order for them to put their faith in God. When the gospel’s purpose is fulfilled, the Church expands as a result. Cecil (2003, 9), also defines evangelism as “the zealous preaching and dissemination of the gospel, as through missionary work”. That is, the Good News about Christ must be zealously preached.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of teen evangelism and soul winning in the modern world. There are many people who would rather die in their sins as each day goes by. Whether every close relative, friend, and acquaintance has heard the good news of Jesus Christ is the repentant question that every Christian needs to respond to. Jesus instructed the disciples to pray that the Father would send extra laborers to the field because the harvest was already ripe when He realized the size of the task. There are so many individuals on the street whose lives the gospel must touch. Every devout Christian who is assured of his position in heaven must carry the burden of soul winning. God intends for the church to serve as the means by which the Gospel can reach every person on earth. “Just as the father has sent me, so send do you,” Jesus commanded the disciples. The mission to make disciples of all nations and to the ends of the globe has been given to Christians.
Teen evangelism appears to be of no relevance in the modern church. People don’t seem to be particularly willing to discuss their beliefs with friends, coworkers, family, or even parents. According to a recent Barna survey on evangelism, Christian evangelism is an activity that is in risk of extinction as Americans adopt more and more postmodern philosophical ideas. This is thus because postmodernism opposes evangelistic efforts to persuade others about the Gospel because it promotes tolerance and individual truth. One can assert that evangelism in Nigeria appears to be no different from other countries. This is due to the shifting cultural perspective, particularly with regard to the post-modern worldview. Postmodernism emphasizes tolerance and diversity of thought, but it also maintains that there are no universally applicable absolute moral or spiritual standards. As a result, it criticizes aggressive evangelism as an effort to ‘impose’ one person’s viewpoint on another.
Teen evangelism is the sharing of the good news with teenagers about how to accept God’s full forgiveness by entering into a personal relationship with Christ Jesus. We must evangelize the teenagers in our churches and communities so that they may be rescued. Teens are sinners, but they can be redeemed if they comprehend the gospel. When a child makes a conscious and intentional decision, they are held accountable before God. There is no set age at which a child can receive Christ. “Anyone, then, who knows what he ought to do but does not do it, sins,” James 4:17 says.
The lack of fervor for teen evangelism in Nigeria today is likely due to mistaken priorities rather than the effect of postmodernism. The importance of holding church programs and praying for the needs of the church and Christians is emphasized more. In order for other things to be added, the church should be more concerned with pursuing first the kingdom of God. Both clergy and lay people should prioritize the teen evangelism movement’s goal of spreading the gospel to every Christian. The individual’s responsibility in salvation is to recognize his guilty position before God and repent of that sin, to have a sincere belief that Jesus died on the cross and rose again, and to have personal faith in Jesus Christ alone as savior. The only need for redemption imposed on humans is faith. Because salvation is the supernatural operation of the Holy Spirit, there is no qualifier of age, either a beginning age at which it is possible to believe or an ending age after which it is too late to believe. Children can make this vital decision before sin hardens their hearts. Jesus told his disciples to preach the gospel from Jerusalem to Judea and all the way to the ends of the earth. Every Christian has his or her own Jerusalem, which is their immediate surroundings. From there, the preaching of the gospel must begin. When believers are inspired to go out and win souls wherever they find themselves, as the disciples did, it leads to huge church growth because more non-believers are born again, and the Church of Christ grows massively.
- Statement of the Problem
Despite the fact that pastors are constantly planting new churches, many of the people who join them are already members of one or more churches. This is because only a few people engage in evangelism, which leads to soul winning. However, Agyin-Asare (2009, 47) believes that “the best way to start a church is with new believers you have won.” Furthermore, Yesudian (2001) stated that evangelism is always about bringing new individuals into the kingdom. It is not about transferring existing Christians from one church to another. Heward Mills (2007, 15) wondered, “Why do so few people get involved in soul winning?” Is it because Christians lack motivation to engage in effective soul winning? How frequently do Charismatic congregations engage in general evangelism and personal evangelism in particular? When pastors build new churches, the once-aggressive soul-winning drive appears to be missing in Christendom.
According to Yesudian (2001), going out to evangelize requires courage, and one can only be courageous if he is encouraged to do so. Because Jesus did it, the church should encourage its members to go out and evangelize. Personal evangelism should be considered in addition to large evangelism and gospel crusades. The church’s target audience should be non-Christians, not those who already attend other churches. People simply transition from one denomination to the next, and pastors are happy that the church is growing without questioning whether they are freshly converted or being drawn from other churches.It has been observed, however, that whenever the spreading of the gospel for the salvation of the non-Christian is emphasized, it is viewed as the job of the great evangelist in large outdoor Crusades, rather than the individual to impart the faith in a personal fashion. However, Spurgeon (1995,10) believes that “leading men to God is the honorable goal of all Christ’s laborers.” Every Christian is a co-laborer with God and has been formed for good works (cf. Ephs.2:10, 1ST Cor.3-9). There seems to be lack of zeal for evangelism. This may be the cause of lack of growth for churches which have been established in communities with so many people yet only a few are born-again. Again Bishop Heward-Mills(2001) asked, as we see the multitude streaming down the road, do we ask ourselves, how many of these know Christ as their Saviour? How many will really die in Christ? And how many go to church on Sunday? This is a crucial question that needs answers from all believers, especially, Pastors and members of the Charismatic Churches in Nigeria.
Objective of the study
The broad objective of this study is to investigate the impact of teen evangelism on church growth. The specific objectives include:
The specific objectives include:
- To examine the impacts of evangelism on church growth.
- To investigate the effects of teen evangelism in the growth of the church
- To examine the relationship between teen evangelism and the growth of the church
- Does evangelism has any significant impact on the growth of the church?
- Does teen evangelism have an effect on the growth of the church?
- Is there any significant relationship between teen evangelism and the growth of the church?
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: Evangelism does not have any significant impact on the growth of the church
H1: Evangelism has a significant impact on the growth of the church
H0: Teen evangelism does not have any effect on the growth of the church
H2: Teen evangelism has an effect on the growth of the church
H0: There is no significant relationship between teen evangelism and church growth
H3: There is a significant relationship between teen evangelism and the growth of the church
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study investigates the impact of teen evangelism in growth of the church and therefore would benefit churches and religious leaders to enable them to determine the various problems associated with evangelism and mission outreach and will also find it beneficial to understand what being born again Christians is all about. It will add to academic knowledge in the area of religion studies.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study will be carried out among the members of assemblies of God church 99 ukana offot Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Information collected from these teen departments shall be subjected to further analysis and the results gathered will be analyse in the course of the study
1.7 Limitation of the study
The issue of finances is just one of several difficulties the study will face. It won’t be possible to print the questionnaires and transport the researcher to the target respondents with the available funding. Time is another; the researcher is currently preoccupied with the demands of his academic work. The researcher has a lot of tasks at his disposal, along with a strong desire to read and learn simultaneously. These are the main difficulties that this study faces.
1.8 Definitions of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Christian: is a person who follows or adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Christianity: religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who is the focal point of the Christian faith. It is the world’s largest religion, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, known as Christians.
Evangelism: the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness.
Growth: an improvement in the condition or strength of something.
Teen: a teen is someone between 13 and 19 years of age.
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