THE IMPACT OF EVANGELISM ON CHURCH GROWTH
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This study sought to investigate the impact of evangelism in the church growth by using House on the Rock, Uyo, AkwaIbom State, as a case study, Nigeria as a case study. Field survey design was employed. The sample size was 160 selected from the church members of House on the Rock Church in Uyo, AkwaIbom State. Data collected using questionnaires were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Scientists (SPSS). The followings were the objectives of the study: to examine the impacts of evangelism in the growth of the House on the Rock Church in Uyo, AkwaIbom State, to survey the ways in which House on the Rock Church in Uyo, AkwaIbom State, evangelize and to the people in the city, to investigate the effects of evangelism in the growth of House on the Rock Church in Uyo, AkwaIbom State.
1.1 Background to the Study
Evangelism is defined as “the proclamation of the gospel.” Although the term “evangelism” does not appear in the New Testament, the term “euangelion” does. “Gospel” and similar terms abound, as does the concept of gospel preaching and conversion to the Christian religion. It is axiomatic that evangelization has been central to the Church’s global mission. However, there are several evangelistic approaches. Such as personal witnessing by early Christians, debating in synagogues, spontaneous addresses to informal gatherings, converting a tribe’s leader, and instructing inquirers on catechetical matters. These were some of the first techniques. Revivalism has been the primary method of evangelism over the ages, particularly in the last two centuries. As mass evangelism’s efficacy waned and secularism grew, new techniques of reaching individuals alienated from Christianity were developed.
The preaching of the gospel is a call to all believers by God to carry out the great mandate given to everyone by Jesus Christ as in the book of Matthew 28:19-22. Evangelism brings about growth, but there is no true growth that does not result in evangelism. This is because growth brings about the reawakening of Christians who have grown cold and the awakening of dead souls (evangelism).It is a sad but common thing for churches to grow lukewarm in their zeal for bringing the unsaved to Jesus Christ. The church at Laodicea was already lukewarm before the death of its apostolic founders (Revelation 3). It should not be surprised if a church is in a state of spiritual decline, but we also should not be lethargic about it. It is required as a Church to take its mission and evangelism serious for the expansion of God’s kingdom.
The Church needs to make the people understand that evangelism is a serious matter. It can be done in many ways. One is by preaching on evangelism and using it in its applications. If the church focuses on this, the people will usually follow suit. Another way is when the pastor makes the church understand the seriousness of evangelism by requiring that the workers be involved in evangelism. The workers set the tone for the whole church. They set the tone for what new converts will eventually become. If the church does not require that the workers be examples of what he preaches from the Word of God, he is undercutting the preaching. Another way the church can impress the people with the importance of evangelism is by emphasizing it frequently, during announcements, etc. Another is by demonstrating before the congregation that evangelism is at least as important as the many other programs and activities the church pursues.
The church must evaluate the existing evangelistic activities with the goal of making them more fruitful. Even many churches that are not very aggressive about soul winning usually have some traditional evangelistic programs, such as Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and a youth ministry. These are good places to start in evaluating and reworking a church’s ministry. The church needs to ask himself how these can be made more fruitful.
A Vacation Bible School, for example, can simply be a part of the church’s traditional program, something that is carried out without much enthusiasm and without much fruit. Many churches participate in summer camp, and they can be extremely fruitful for evangelism if the church has the necessary vision and zeal. But again, too often the church invests a great deal of money and time into a summer camp with very little attention given to making it evangelistically fruitful. To achieve this, the church must target unbelievers in the environment and encourage them to attend camp, even if that means paying their way. The church must stop thinking only about its own young people, meaning the young people who are members of the church, and have an outward vision toward the needs of the vast number of unsaved children and young people who are in the community and who will not have an opportunity to hear the gospel and grow in Christ unless the church somehow reaches out to them. Their parents are unsaved, and they certainly cannot be expected to care about the spiritual welfare of their children. Another example of this is with special evangelistic or growth services. It is not uncommon for churches to have these and yet to do little or nothing in preparation for them, apart from choosing the speaker and preparing for the meals. A spiritually filled growth service coupled with earnest prayers and accompanied by much visitation in the community to invite the unbelievers will be much more fruitful and acceptable in God’s sight than one that is simply conducted as a tradition.
Toward the goal of getting everyone involved and creating effective evangelistic outreach, it is wise to find out what the church people think. Few pastors do this, but it is not understood why they do not. It is wise for church leaders to get feedback and ideas from the people. Get together with the whole church or with various groups within the church and invite candid discussion of evangelism. Try to find out what hinders people from being involved. Find out what they think of the current evangelistic efforts. Ask them to analyze every part of the church’s program and give feedback about how to make things more fruitful. Challenge them to think of new ideas or new ways of doing the old ideas. Encourage them that you are open to their ideas and suggestionsand criticisms. The church should especially focus on any church members who are burdened to carry the gospel to lost souls. It is likely that they are already thinking about these things and have ideas. In fact, in many cases it is certain burdened church members who earnestly pray that the Lord will touch the pastor’s heart that he might wake up and lead the congregation in evangelism. In such cases, some of the church members might be far ahead of the pastor, and if so, they can be a great help if the pastor is wise enough to use them.
Prayer is crucial for the spiritual growth of Christians, for removing demonic barriers that the Devil seeks to erect to hinder the preaching of the Gospel, and to break the stony hearts of the unsaved. Prayer is absolutely crucial. There are many ways a pastor can lead in the matter of prayer. He can work to make the mid-week prayer meeting more focused on evangelism. He can perhaps start an evangelism prayer chain. Many churches have prayer chains for medical emergencies and other urgent requests. One member calls another member who calls another, and in this way the prayer request is quickly passed through the entire membership. Having an evangelistic prayer chain for urgent prayer requests about salvation that are passed around the church is great idea. This helps focus the people’s attention on evangelism. It I on the basis of this that this study investigates the impact of evangelism in the church growth by using House on the Rock, Uyo, AkwaIbom State, as a case study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Many things hinder evangelism. Often, our secular, materialistic, individualistic culture gets in the way. Sometimes it is as a result of our insensitivity to other people and subcultures that obstructs the Good News. Fortunately, some Christians are doing brilliant cultural analysis to alert us to such hindrances and suggest how we might overcome them. Yet there are other obstacles still, stumbling blocks more subtle that we often miss. In some churches in Nigeria now, lack of trust is an obstacle facing effective evangelism. Many people here are trapped. Seldom do people leave the ghetto to shop, play, or do business. Consequently, they do not believe that suburbanites, who commute each day into the city but then leave in the evening, understand them. Nor would they trust anyone who would try to minister to them who didn’t share their life. Trust, of course, is not just an inner-city issue. Regardless of location, if we want to reach people, we need to build rapport and establish trust, which usually means we must live in the community to which we will evangelize. For proper evangelism to take place in the House on the Rock, Uyo, AkwaIbom State, all the subgroups in the church must come to terms and cooperate with one another to enable evangelism to revive the Church.
1.3 Research Questions
This research will be carried out to answer the following research questions:
- what are the impacts of evangelism in the growth of the House on the Rock Church in Uyo, AkwaIbom State?
- what are the ways in which House on the Rock Church in Uyo, AkwaIbom State, evangelize to the people in the city?
- What are the effects of evangelism in the growth of House on the Rock Church in Uyo, AkwaIbom State?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to investigate the impact of evangelism in the church growth by using House on the Rock, Uyo, AkwaIbom State, as a case study. The specific objectives include:
- to examine the impacts of evangelism in the growth of the House on the Rock Church in Uyo, AkwaIbom State
- to survey the ways in which House on the Rock Church in Uyo, AkwaIbom State, evangelize to the people in the city
- to investigate the effects of evangelism in the growth of House on the Rock Church in Uyo, AkwaIbom State
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study investigates the impact of evangelism in the church growth by using House on the Rock, Uyo, AkwaIbom State, as a case study 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 House on the Rock, Uyo, AkwaIbom State, Nigeria. Information collected from these workers shall be subjected to further analysis and the results got from it shall be final.
1.7 Limitation of the study
The study will be faced with a lot of challenges and one it the problem of finance. There is not going to be enough funds to print questionnaires and to also transport the researcher to meet the desired respondents. Another one is time; the researcher is currently busy with the demand of his academics. A lot of assignments are available for the researcher to do and coupled with his desire to read and learn at the same time. These are the major challenges of this study.
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.
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