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Account Name: Emmanuel Idorenyin Samuel.
This study attempts to investigative the relationship between the youth and church growth in some selected denominations in Nigeria. It is important to invest in today’s youth if the body of Christ must be groomed for posterity. Teaching young people in the church to grow in their relationship with the Lord prepares them to serve Christ in all they do. As a result, this nurtures the congregation and allows the church to grow in all ramifications. Five research questions were raised by the research. Four null and alternate hypotheses were formulated to be tested at 0.05 level of significance. The research design deemed fit for this study was simple percentage, a sample size of hundred and thirty three 133 respondents were randomly selected from a population of 200 Christians. The findings here revealed that young people often feel reluctant to share their ideas because they feel it would be irrelevant to the leaders that rely solely on their experiences in the religion. Some recommendations were suggested to help harness the role of youth in today’s church towards growth and development of the church.
TABLE OF CONTENT
Background to the study
Statement of Problem
Purpose of the Study
Significance of the study
Delimitation /scope of study
Limitation of Study
Review of Related Literature
Summary of Literature Review
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
Population of Study
Sample and Sampling Techniques
Validity of Instrument
Administration of the Instrument
Method of Data Analysis
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
Data presentation and Analysis
Discussion of Results
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
1.1 Background of the Study
Youth is the time of life when one is young, and often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity). It is also defined as “the appearance, freshness, vigor, spirit. The above definition showcases the characteristic of one who is young”. Biblically, God often used young people to do great things. For example in the cases of David, Joshua, Joseph, Daniel and many other youths as recorded in the Old Testaments. In the New Testaments, God used a youth name “Timothy” to pastor and lead the Ephesian church when he was a teenager. According to (1Timothy 4:12 says), “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” In addition, there is much to be learned from the faith of a child. Matthew 18:2-4 says, “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” Because of God’s heart for young people, it is important to recognize youth’s value in today’s church.
When talking of church growth there are some factors to be considered, among such factors is the leaders’ relationship with the youths which forms the next generation church. It cannot be over emphasized that youths play a vital role in the life of a Church as they are the leaders of tomorrow and future of the church (Day & Kurtz, 2017). The elderly stands out but youth’s contributions have been shinning and have always been flag bearers of every Church. For any tangible growth to take place in any Christian community, the youth must be significant in that process of growth. This is the more reason why wise nations, countries, groups and organization focus more on the development of youths so that the future of such investments would never be improvised or blind. It is therefore of vital importance in today’s Church to prepare assiduously youths for the tasks they would naturally face in the coming future. It is only when we have nourished our youths that they in-turn develop the Church.
To foster rapid proliferation of church growth the church must incorporate contemporary stratagems to the youth ministry in establishing the growth of youths. The elders have a role to be flexible and adjust to the ever changing needs of youths through updating and matching the youth energy and vitality while avoiding old models. The youth must therefore in the long-run not to dilute the gospel message but discover how to live out the good news and encourage others to do so (Nielson, 2016).
The Church Growth Movement started with a passion for the Great Commission, and seeing people come to Christ. The vision of Christ towards church growth was not just to see the world drafted to the church but to see them saved and remained in the faith (Luke 14: 23). The creature of God lie waste around the world, engulfed in sins and wicked acts which need immediate intervention from the Church of God (John 4: 35-36). To religiously execute this great task called the “Great Commission of the Church” the church earnestly needs active involvement of the youths. The church is a community composed of members from diverse backgrounds who enjoin to share the work of God. The youth must therefore be involved actively in drawing the congregation both old and young to participate responsibly in the work, life and mission of the church and the community (Nielson, 2016). When the youth are drawn to the community it becomes easier for them to comprehend what it is to live in the Christian community.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The major challenge in today’s church is the inability to examine the role of youth and church growth. Another problem is how best to measure their level of repentance coupled with all the evil occurence in the world today. A variety of indicators for attendance and occasional offices are available, but all are affected to some degree by measurement error and random fluctuations. Such variability poses particular problems with small churches, where the addition or subtraction of just a few people produces large proportional changes in the totals. Today, a great percentage of our Christian youths are living a life of disobedience to the Word of God, they are copying the patterns of this world with dexterity. Today, the lifestyle of the youth is such that it is very difficult to have a distinction between Christian youths and of those who are not Christians. How can we change the perspective of our youth who are easily lured and enticed by worldly lifestyle? This research became pertinent because it aims at making an analysis of the contributions youths to church growth. Most organizations especially in church set up always want their youths to live a care-free lifestyle (character trait of Jesus), the absence of this brings a very big problem between the youths and the leadership of the church. In some instances, the youths are removed from position of leadership or placed on church discipline. This indicates that Christian organizations are after godly lifestyles that will lead to church growth.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The primary purpose of this research is to critically examine youth and church growth. The specific objectives are;
- To cast a fresh vision for the youths that will foster church growth.
- To look into some unhealthy culture of today’s church youths with respect to church growth and development.
- To examine the significant role the youth plays in the growth and development of the 21st century church
- To proffer solutions to some challenges facing youths in church leadership today.
1.4 Research Questions
The dimension which the study will follow will be based on these questions, which will help in creating an insight into the problem under investigation.
- Does the youth play any significant role in the growth and development of the church?
- Is there any significant relationship between the youth and church growth?
- Do the youth contribute to the growth and sustenance of the church?
- What are the roots causes of the moral degradation and eroding of our Christian values among Christian youths?
- What are the effects of the influence on the youth and the society?
1.5 Research hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated for testing at 0.05 level of significance.
H0: the youth plays no significant role in the growth and development of the church.
H1: the youth plays a significant role in the growth and development of the church.
H0: there is no significant relationship between the youth and church growth
H2: there is a significant relationship between the youth and church growth
1.6 Significance of the study
The findings of this study will assist churches, ministries, pastors, etc 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. From this research, we will discover what a healthy church is like and how youths can boost church growth. The study is very significant because youths are the future of every organization especially the Church. Many, if not all church denominations in Nigeria have been affected by the change in the lifestyles of their youths. The researcher aims at digging the root cause, the effect and the appropriate way of solving the worldly lifestyles affecting our youth so that organizations, parents and youth will benefit from the research findings.
1.7 Scope/Limitations of the study
The study on youth and church growth seems broad such that it cannot be exhausted in this research work. For this reason, the research shall focus on what the Bible teaches about Christian youth and godly lifestyles, the root causes of moral degradation and eroding of our Christian values among Christian Youths, its effect on the youth and society, and how they can boost church growth. On the other hand, this research shall focus on some selected churches in Nigeria only because of security challenges, time, and budgetary constraints. The researcher shall sample the opinion of some selected Christian youths from different churches in Nigeria through a questionnaire. There were some constraints which tend to hinder the flow of the study, these include;
Members Reluctance: In most cases the members of the selected churches often feels reluctance over providing required information required by the researcher. This result in finding information where the structured questionnaires could not point out.
Inadequate Materials: Scarcity of material is also a major hindrance. The researcher finds it difficult to lay hands on several required material which could contribute immensely to the success of this research work.
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).
1.8 Operational Definition of terms
Many terms have been used in this work but few uncommon English terms are defined below. These definitions should be understood in their utility for the study objectives:
Church Growth: is a movement within evangelical Christianity which focuses on developing methods to grow churches based on business marketing strategies.
Youth: Youth is the time of life when one is young, but often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity).
Youth Ministry: Youth Ministry, also commonly referred to as youth group, is an age-specific religious ministry. Faith groups or other religious organizations carry out youth ministry to involve and engage with young people who attend their places of worship, or who live in their community.
Acculturation: “is the encounter between one culture and another or encounter between two cultures… it is of course, it is an encounter between two sets of symbols and conceptions, two different interpretations of experience, two social identities.”
Cult: “is any religious group which differs significantly in some one or more respects as to belief or practice from those religious groups which are regarded as the normative expressions of religion in our total culture.”
Culture: Culture “refer to the common ideas, feelings, and values that guide community and personal behavior that organize and regulate what the group thinks, feels and does about God, the world, and humanity.”
Culture Shifts: “occur not only because of outside influence, but also because of the invention of new ideas and products, which make old things and old ways obsolete.”
Disrespect: lack of respect for somebody or something.” It is also discourtesy or rudeness.
Youth culture: “is the way adolescents live, and the norms, values, and practices they share. Culture is the shared symbolic systems, and processes of maintaining and transforming those systems. Youth culture differs from the culture of older generations.