INVESTIGATION INTO CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF YOUTHS MIGRATION FROM ASSEMBLIES OF GOD CHURCH TO OTHER DENOMINATION: A CASE STUDY OF IKWERRE DISTRICT NIGERIA
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The study sought to investigate the causes and effects of youth migration from Assemblies of God Church to other denominations, using Assemblies of God Church Ikwerre District as a case study. This study critically examine the following objectives: to examine the extent of youth migration in Assemblies of God to other denomination in Nigeria, to discover the causes of their migration on the growth of Assemblies of God Nigeria and to sensitize Assemblies of God Youths on the need to maintain their denomination of belonging. The study recommended some remedies to stop the exodus. The study employed the descriptive and explanatory design in its process. Questionnaires and interviews were used for data collection and analyzed using simple percentage of 104 respondents. The findings revealed that the factors responsible for youth migration in Assemblies of God includes: dissatisfaction with the worship service in the Church and they are not adequately engaged by the church authorities. It confirms that the migration of youths is a reality by the respondents to the questionnaire. The remedy to the migration includes: discipleship programme, strong campus fellowship, participation in musical instrument and engaging youths in other church activities, coupled with innovative and creative teaching methods. It is therefore recommended that the roles of church leaders in the spiritual formation and development of the youth to ensure that there is harmony between the church and her youths. Hence, the church must brace up to the challenge by arresting and managing these challenges to reduce it to the barest minimum as it applies the recommendations of the study.
- Background to the Study
The proliferation of churches in Nigeria today has led many youths who love varieties to keep changing churches like clothes. Today it is very possible that a Nigerian can be a member of more than one denomination. This phenomenon is more prevalent and practiced among the teaming youths who naturally love exploring new things. Today, our youths troop in to join Pentecostal churches day in and day out. Some join these churches through evangelistic activities of various forms whiles others become members of the Pentecostal churches as a result of getting tired of orthodox mode of organizing church services. Migration therefore sets in as a result of youths attempting to try the current mode of dressing, music, worship, prosperity message, healing and other enticing side attractions in other denominations (Gail, 2017).
Migration plays a vital role in every nation, country, community and society, because it may bring positive or negative effects on the growth of each locality and as the migration is taking effects most especially in a youth – dominated area, the tendency to have many places of worship increases. While places of worship increase rapidly, the problem of the youth will also be increasing too. Some youths believe that they are not finding solutions to their problems where they worship so the tendency of searching for solution to their problems elsewhere increases. This has caused youths to move from one local assembly to another and from one denomination to another. Some move out of the church entirely to the larger society, regarding freedom or liberty as a solution.
The media coverage of congregational and church affairs has become a frequent occurrence; matters that are relevant to congregations have featured in media reports on a regular basis (Oosthuizen 2014:7; Hanekom 2014:3; Pretorius 2014:4-5). Although, this phenomenon is not new in the Nigerian context. Changes in denominations has led to a decline in numbers as a result of member’s lack of satisfaction with most church doctrines and leadership pattern. Which makes conflicts among the youths to be very rampant in the church today (Kunhiyop, 2008). These range from confrontation, aggression, and to militancy. Some of them do not spare the church authorities either. Those in church equally complain about authorities, some youths in the church equally complain about orthodoxies in some church service, lack of innovation, change of mode of service and dull worship services (Aina, 2015). They equally conclude that most programmes are not designed to be of benefit to them, and that monotony in church programmes is the order of the day.
Civilization and socio-economy situations in our society have effects on the youths. Some because of migration leave their home churches to other assemblies simply because they could not find their home churches in the cities, while some because of larger congregation in a particular denomination believe their problems will be solved in those kinds of churches or assemblies. Some whose problems are not solved go out of the church and involve themselves in armed robbery, drug abuse, hooliganism, immorality and truancy (Oderinde, 2013). Morality tends to have fallen so deep while academic and spiritual standards of many youths in the church demand serious attention if the church is serious about having better future within and without.
The church, on the other hand, knows that the youths have struggles that tend to keep them away from church services. However, church leaders do not understand how to fruitfully handle such issues that the youths face with the church. Some of the efforts applied to help the youth fit in the church include direct engagement of some youths in the church’s mainstream events, making efforts to balance church services, creating special programmes for the youth, motivating them, sharing responsibilities with the youth, and delegating them for work in the church, counselling them on how to choose right marriage partners, and sex education for growing youths (James, 2017). It should be noted here that pastors intend to neglect sex education despite the glaring fact that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have destroyed many youths who are the future leaders of the church. Thus, the churches need to be aware of the dangers these neglect will bring to the church and the society at large. It is better to remember that the youth are the future leaders of tomorrow and the youths are already leaders in their capacity, and by that they are meant to replace the aging adult leaders. It is believed that if this subject matter of youth migration in Assemblies of God Church South South Zone II is properly and addressed appropriately on time, the future of the church shall experience a robust growth.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
The Assemblies of God Nigeria, Ikwerre District has been affected by the persistent migration of her church youths. One key challenge is the inability of the church to manage time and to examine the feature of worship services. The youths of the Assemblies of God Nigeria, Ikwerre District are also well versed in the use of modern mass media technology. Today, a great percentage of our Christian youths and elites of the Assemblies of God Nigeria, Ikwerre District, are migrating to other denominations due to lack of structural development of the church. This research is not attempting to stratify social classes in the church; it is obvious the social class exists even in the church. In modern Nigeria, where university graduates and professional are on the increase by leaps and bounds, a typical Assemblies of God church cannot boast of a little as 5% of such in her membership. The truth is that they were there before as undergraduates but immediately they are independent from their parents they move. Even now greater number of the undergraduates has left and most parents cannot provide adequate answers to their heart probing and mind urging questions relating to the relevance of our worship style to the 21st century.
Consequently, among these young educated members of the church are sons and daughters of ministers (Levites) and prominent members of the church, who began to look elsewhere for churches and fellowship centers that could meet their needs, and provide the kind of atmosphere they anticipated in the church. Those who left for the universities and other higher institutions never returned to the church, many of them joined other ministries and churches as pastors and church workers. Many who felt led into pastoral calling planted churches of their own in seaming cities of the country. This appears to have generated a chain reactional effect on many of our young people who are attracted by their fellow young graduates serving as pastors in many of the new generation churches (denominations) and consequently, are lured away from the Assemblies of God church. This research acknowledged the fact that these young professionals should be given an opportunity and to be properly guided to enable them minister effectively to the younger generation with a view to “winning and retaining them as members of Assemblies of God, Nigeria, Ikwerre District. Thus, this present study is targeted towards an investigation into causes and effect of youth migration from Assemblies of God youth Ikwerre District from a socio-ethical perspective. It also seeks to find out what can be done both to stop the migration and retain the youth within the church.
1.3. Purpose of the Study
The primary aim of this study is on the investigation into causes and effect of youth migration from Assemblies of God youth Ikwerre District. The sub-objectives are:
- To examine the extent of youth migration from Assemblies of God to other denomination in Ikwerre.
- To discover the causes of the migration of Assemblies of God Youths to other denominations in Nigeria.
- To access the impact of youth’s migration on the growth of Assemblies of God, investigation into causes and effect of youth migration from Assemblies of God youth Ikwerre District.
- To sensitize the youths of Assemblies of God Ikwerre District on the need to remain in Assemblies of God.
- To recommend some remedies to the migration of Assemblies of God Youths to other denominations in Ikwerre.
- Significance of the Study
It is often imperative to question what would be the significance of any endeavor, be it academic or otherwise. This is also applicable in this study. The researcher anticipates that at the completion of this study, will give a clear insight on the major causes of youth migration from orthodox churches to Pentecostal denominations in Nigeria.
This study will help sensitize Assemblies of God youth who will be responsible in the future for the administrative sustenance and growth of the church.
It will highlight the spiritual and physical demerits of losing the youth of Assemblies of God Church Ikwerre District Nigeria.
It will assist churches in the aspect of evangelism as part of the three main dimensional goals of the church (worshipping God, edification of the body of Christ, and evangelization).
It will help the young people and professionals to reach people of their like mind in order to win and disciple them in Assemblies of God, Ikwerre District Nigeria for the kingdom of God.
It will help in motivating the young people towards role modeling. That is their lives shall be patterned and parceled in such a way that they become examples in lifestyle, mode of dressing, career choice etc. for Assemblies of God Nigeria and other new generation churches of our generation.
It will help the pastors in discovering the vital roles youths play in the life of a Church as they are the leaders of tomorrow and future of every church.
It shall provide information which can be consulted for further research on the subject matter.
1.5. Delimitation of the Study
This work is based on the investigation into the causes and effects of youths migration from Assemblies of God Church, Ikwerre District to other denominations in Nigeria. And the focus of the work is mainly on Assemblies of God Church Ikwerre District, the researchers will only focus on Assemblies of God Church Ikwerre District with the aim of proffering lasting solutions to the challenges discovered in this study
1.6. Research Question
The researchers posed some questions with respect to the subject matter, through which responses reveal the causes and effect of youth migration. The questions are as follows:
- What are the factors responsible for youth migration in Assemblies of God, Ikwerre District?
- What is the impact of youth migration on the growth of Assemblies of God Ikwerre District?
- What role has Assemblies of God Church Ikwerre District in stopping the migration of the youth of Assemblies of God Nigeria?
1.7. Operational Definition of Terms
Youth: This is the time of life when one is young, and often means the time between childhood and adulthood maturity usually from 20-40 years of age.
Migration: This is the movement of people from one place to another with intentions of settling, permanently or temporarily, at a new location.
Denomination: This is a religious group that has slightly different beliefs from other groups that share the same religion.
Church Growth: is a movement within evangelical Christianity which focuses on developing methods to grow churches based on business marketing strategies.
Life Style: It is the way people live and do, with whom, where, how and what we use to do it.
Challenge: Is something new and difficult which requires great effort and determination.
Worship Center: A specially designed structure or consecrated space where individuals or a group of people such as a congregation come to perform acts of devotion, veneration, or religious study.
Ordained Ministers: Are those individuals who are consecrated, set apart and elevated from the laity class to the clergy, who are thus then authorized to perform various religious rites and ceremonies.
Pastor: Is the leader of a Christian congregation who also gives advice and counsel to people from the community or congregation.
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