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How Pastoral Care Stunts the Growth of Most Churches - CareyNieuwhof.com


This study was carried out examine the impact of effective discipleship on church growth with a particular reference to House of the Rock Church, Uyo. To achieve this objective, three research questions and one research hypothesis were formulated to guide this study. The data collected were analyzed using simple percentages and tables to analyze research questions and Chi-square statistical tool was used for testing of research hypothesis. A structured questionnaire was used as the major instrument for data collection from the members of House of the Rock Church, Uyo. After the careful analysis of the data, the following findings were revealed that; discipleship programme in churches enhances the rate of church growth. The study was concluded with some recommendations that all church leaders should possess the fundamental skills necessary for effective performance in ministry; discipleship programme should be a part of every church using        small group so that everyone can be reached and helped and the Pastor of the church should be interested in his or her own personal growth and work to develop and horn his core         competencies so that he is well equipped to develop other leaders.

Discipleship, Spiritual Growth, and Christian Living | Grace Communion  International



1.1   Background of the Study

        There are many mega-churches everywhere in Nigeria today, but the town or community is unmoved because they are not making disciples, only converts. When things go wrong in the church, we often look at the peripheral issues in resolving the problem. If we look deeper, the abysmal state of churches today is the lack of effective discipleship process that helps young Christian converts become matured and be a follower of Jesus Christ both in words and deeds. It is no wonder that the church is now in an unfortunate generation where greater percentage of Christians are loaded with messages that are centred on hollowed and peripheral kingdom life.

        So many things are responsible for the shallowness that is pervasive in today’s church. Some of these are self-projection of leaders and followers, peripheral scriptural and inspirational knowledge of the person of Jesus Christ, routinized worship with no spirit-life, the same person responding to altar calls many times, pulpit entertainment and gimmickry with superfluity of the whole essence of the church.

        The most worrisome is the conduct and character of some church leaders and ministers whose sole duty is to raise disciples of Jesus Christ. In many of them, we can see pride, anger, greed, hatred, filthy lucre, immorality, politicking for self-aggrandizement among others. However, most of the so called today’s Christians are not disciples of Jesus Christ, but the disciples of their pastors and ministers. This is an apparent failure of no effective discipleship process in most of our churches that make people to become Christ – centred.


Webster’s Dictionary defines a disciple as “a pupil or follower of a teacher or leader in religion, art philosophy, etc” (Cleveland, 1996).  This secular definition has been taken from the scriptural spheres and the praxis of Jesus’ ministry. In the same manner, the non-Christian Greeks defined matthetas (the word used for discipleship in the New Testament) as “one who learns from another who is a teacher” k (Michigan, 2009), The disciple is a student that follows or learns from a teacher. In other words, the word “disciple” denotes intentionally following in order to be able to learn.

        In the church of today, we have large crowds of people who only come to seek the blessing from the Lord, but not to become genuine followers of the Lord whose blessing they are after. They see God as Father Christmas and many pastors are not ready to disciple anybody. Some are reformed, but not truly transformed, hence, there are large numbers of carnal ministers who are not disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, and many workers are working for the Lord they have not met. There are several believers who never believe in the Lord whom they profess, while others are serving the God not known to them.

        In spite of the obvious decadence in this age, the Lord still has remnants among current church leaders and ministers who are standing right in some of our churches today. There are still many Christians and teachers whose lives clearly illustrate deep knowledge of Jesus Christ, personal and persistent relationship with the Lord, integrity and deep life of Christ that keeps reflecting from them. These men and women are few, but their life emits the true heavenly fragrances that challenge some of us who look up to them, but annoys those who think they are too serious for God. The unfortunate thing is that they are few, but if they can start shining to reproduce themselves in the various places where they are located, things will start to change for better in the churches.

        In the 21st century, the main issue in the church is the holistic approach of church health, and not just church growth in numerical terms. The church may be ‘growing’ but not healthy. Church Growth as we know is the fulfilment of the great commission. It is defined according to Akin-John (2005) as “a careful study which investigates the nature, function and health of Christian churches as they relate to the effective implementation of the Great Commission.” To achieve this, the church needs the balanced diet of the Word of God through effective and thorough discipleship in other to grow and be healthy. Leith Anderson (2007) a pastor said; “a Church could grow warmer through fellowship, stronger through worship, broader through ministry, larger through evangelism. It is only through discipleship that will guarantee health in the growth of the Church.”

        Jesus Christ said in Luke chapter six, verse sixty; “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher”. So from Christ’s perspective, the need for discipleship is to produce those like Him through training, teaching, biblical mentoring, character tailoring using the missile of the Word and the thread of biblical teaching so that the church can be full of strong and mature people who will reproduce themselves for the church to thrive.

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1.2   Statement of the Problem

        Growing in Christ is the key to growing a church. This is all about being a good and effective witness of who Christ is and what He has called your church to be and do. Following up, teaching, and mentoring new as well as seasoned Christians are the keys to spiritual growth and the replication of the witness. When a church forsakes discipleship, its people will not grow and thus will not reach out. Many will give up on Christianity while others become confused, calloused, or complacent. Alternatively, they will be swept away by false doctrines and cults because they do not know the difference. When we forsake discipleship, we end up just living for and unto ourselves.

Grow a Disciple-Making Culture in Your Church – Faith Church | Milford Ohio  Evangelical Free Church

1.3   Objectives of the Study

1)     To determine whether discipleship programme in churches     enhance the rate of church growth.

2)     To examine the difference between churches headed by people      who are disciplers (with teaching gifts) and those headed by       people who are not disciplers (with no teaching gifts).

3)     To examine whether discipleship programmes instituted enhance the growth of the church.



1.4   Research Questions

1)     Does discipleship programme in churches enhance the rate of         church growth?

2)     Is there any difference between churches headed by people   who are disciplers (with teaching gifts) and those headed by       people who are not disciplers (with no teaching gifts)?

3)     Does discipleship programmes instituted enhance the growth of      the church?

1.5   Research Hypothesis

H0:    Discipleship programme in churches does not enhance the rate       of church growth.

H1:    Discipleship programme in churches enhances the rate of       church growth.

5 Principles of Discipleship from Colossians 1:28-29 - Downline Ministries

1.6   Significance of the Study

        This Study is significant because of the reasons stated below:

1)     It will assist leaders to know the true growth state of their       churches in view of the qualitative revelation of spirituality in    the church.

2)     It will bring to the front burner the problems of those churches       that does not care to grow members to become disciples.

3)     It will show the church leaders that numerical growth is not    synonymous to spiritual growth if nothing is done to enhance        the latter in the church.

4)     It will also enable most church leadership to access the findings      of this study and employ the recommendations in it to position discipleship as a key programme in their churches.

5)     It will also serve as a springboard for future researchers who are interested in the field of discipleship and church growth.

Creating an Environment for Discipleship | Saturate

1.7   Scope of the Study

        This study is concerns about the impact of effective discipleship on church growth with a particular reference to House of the Rock Church, Uyo.

1.8   Limitations of the 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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