Research Proposals



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1.1          Background to the Study

Without reservation, in Ephesians 4:11-16, it is stated that God has given several key individuals to the church to serve as servants of the people in the context of shepherding. These key individuals include prophets, apostles, gospel preachers, shepherds, and teachers. They are a gift from God to serve as leaders in the church with the purpose of training and equipping the congregation to serve one another according to their individual spiritual gifts (Ponco and Daniel, 2023).

In pastoral ministry, the congregation occupies an important place not only as the object of the ministry but also as the subject. As trainers, ministers must equip the congregation to serve according to their spiritual gifts and provide opportunities for the congregation to be truly involved in ministry.

When all ministries are conditioned as contributions from the people to the people, the use of spiritual gifts in the congregation becomes more complete and impacts the effectiveness of ministry (cf. 1 Cor. 12:4-11). Such a ministry condition will lead to church growth (Ponco and Daniel, 2023).


However, Pastoral development and church growth are two interconnected concepts within the context of Christian ministry. Pastoral development refers to the ongoing process of training, equipping, and supporting pastors in their roles as spiritual leaders, counselors, and administrators within a church community. This process involves the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and personal growth necessary for effective pastoral ministry.



Church growth, on the other hand, focuses on the expansion and development of a church community in terms of its membership, outreach, and impact on society.

The relationship between pastoral development and church growth is significant as effective pastoral leadership plays a crucial role in fostering the spiritual vitality and growth of a church. Pastors who are well-equipped and supported in their roles are better positioned to lead and nurture their congregations, which in turn can contribute to the overall growth and health of the church community.


Furthermore, church growth often necessitates the presence of competent and visionary pastoral leadership that can guide the congregation through periods of change, outreach, and discipleship.

Pastoral development encompasses various aspects such as theological education, pastoral counseling skills, leadership training, spiritual formation, and ongoing professional development. It involves both formal education through seminaries or theological institutions as well as informal mentoring, coaching, and peer support within the pastoral community.


The goal of pastoral development is to cultivate well-rounded pastors who are capable of effectively ministering to the diverse needs of their congregations while also adapting to the changing social and cultural contexts in which their churches exist.


Church growth strategies often intersect with pastoral development by emphasizing the importance of empowering pastors to lead congregations toward numerical and spiritual growth.


Effective pastoral development programs can equip pastors with the tools needed to engage in strategic planning, community outreach, discipleship initiatives, and effective communication within their congregations.

Additionally, ongoing pastoral support networks can provide encouragement, accountability, and resources for pastors as they navigate the challenges and opportunities associated with church growth.

The word “pastoral” indicates that is has to do with the duties and work of a man who fills the office of pastor in a church. The precise definition of the term ‘pastoral’ is open to considerable debate. Some, for example, claim simply that ‘Pastoral care is that aspect of the ministry of the Church which is concerned with the well-being of individuals and communities.’


Pastoral development has been mainly the basis behind the rapid growth of churches. Aside from providing spiritual leadership, pastors also play administrative leadership roles in the development of their church, a role that they themselves often fail to recognize within their respective spiritual organizations (Kim, D. S., & You, D. H., 2010).

Broadly described, Christian ministry including The Apostolic Church calls on pastors to proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers by means of preaching and worship as well as evangelism and nurture, care for the church’s members and other persons in the community through pastoral counseling and visitation as well as family ministries and grief support, and lead the church in the achievement of its mission. This great commission can only be achieved through the help of the Holy Spirit (Okon, 2006).

For instance, a spirit filled pastor must see visions of ministry, communicate the dreams clearly, gain consensus and commitment to common objectives, take initiative by setting the pace in ministry actions, and multiply their influence by transforming followers into new leaders (Cole, 2003). He must study and teach the Word of God in order to feed the people. He must know the mind of Christ in order to utter, “Thus saith the Lord.” Hence, the Pastor of a church has an awesome responsibility to develop himself both spiritually and scripturally to be able to face the task ahead (Ekong, 2009).


Therefore, Pastoral leadership which is the leadership of the Church is a corporate effort of Christ the Chief Shepherd and pastoral leaders the under-shepherd (Murdock, 2008). This implies that the pastor needs additional attribute to be able to shepherd the flock. Hence, they must look unto the Chief Shepherd as the source.

All of the leadership activities of the Christian shepherd occur within a given organizational framework: the visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ where the pastor is the chief administrator of the basic, given structure ordained, built and maintained by Christ Himself. As such he is responsible for the over-all actions and results in the work of the church. That church is an organic entity that manifests itself in this world through a visible structure that, for its maintenance, requires planning, organization and rule (Floyd, 2003).


Pastoral quality indeed affects church growth; the right pastor can cause a church to sink or soar. When a pastor is good at his job, the church grows (Heward-Mills, 2011). Many people come to church expecting to receive something from God through the pastor. So if the pastor is a very good communicator, who delivers good sermons and cares for the spiritual wellbeing of the parishioners, the church grows (Murdock, 2008).

“A Christian leader is someone who is called by God to lead; leads with and through Christlike character; and demonstrates the functional competencies that permit effective leadership to take place.” (Maxwell, 1993).As such, every pastors should be working towards strategies to achieve growth in discharging their ministerial duties. Such Pastors who aim at significant growth are those that will spend quality time in prayerful study, reading and researching on church growth under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Coutts, 2006).

The pastor is responsible for the church growth because the point of being a pastor is to teach and care for the body of Christ (the church). Pastors are supposed to be leaders that guide people into becoming the best they can be so to speak. If a pastor is just going up to the pulpit to preach every Sunday and does not get involved, many people will not really see the benefit to attending a church.


Many people will also feel lost because there is no guidance. In order for a church to grow the pastors must influence God’s people towards God’s purpose. In view of the above, the relationships of pastoral development now become the pivotal point in which everything revolves. Hence, this study seeks to asses on pastoral development and church growth.


1.2          Statement of Problem

According to Engle & McIntosh (2008), Pastoral development is defined primarily as preparing the body, soul and spirit for the ministry thus accomplishing the task of the great commission. If this is true, then it will also follow that for the body, soul and spirit to be armed for the ministry, the Pastor must be ready to contribute to the growth of the church and no Pastor can actually be such except he prepares himself to withstand the hassle of the ministry.

From the preceding notions, it is apparent that pastoral development in a synopsis is pointing to the contribution of the pastors to the growth of the church.


Pastoral development is the key to success in the ministry of the church. Only when pastors understand the dynamics of developing themselves in the light of God’s calling on their lives will they be prepared to lead effectively. Such pastors should be ready to influence the members to give their energies, use their potential, release their determination, and go beyond their comfort zone to accomplish goals.

The church is not a business, nevertheless, it deals with people, programs, and projects as much as any other organization.

Knowledge and skills of handling people, abilities to envision the future, methods of setting long range goals, and ways of communication are just as important in the church as they are in the business world. Hence, leadership of such organization requires continuous development in their spiritual life, academic level and biblical understanding to be able to accomplish the primary function of the great commission.

Therefore, on the premise of this assertion, it can be logically inferred that the growth of the church depends of the level of pastors operating in such organization. In view of this, it is however imperative to investigate on pastoral development and church growth.


1.3          Objectives of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to investigate on the influence of pastoral development and church growth. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. Determine the influence of spiritual development of a pastor and the growth of the church.
  2. Investigate on the effects of pastors’ academic progress and the growth of the church.
  3. Determine the influence of Biblical knowledge of a Pastor and the growth of the church.
  4. Suggests different measures to be adopted by Pastors for development and the growth of the Church.

Therefore, at the end of this research, one should be able to know what pastoral development is, its cardinal factor, what Church growth is, the factors that influence it, its problems as well as get suggestions for possible solutions.


1.4          Research Questions

The following research questions are raised to aid the study:

  1. To what extent does Spiritual development of a pastor contribute to the growth of the church?
  2. To what extent does academic development of a pastor contribute to the growth of the church?
  3. To what extent does theological development of a pastor contribute to the growth of the church?


1.5          Research Hypotheses

To guide this research work and to accomplish the above outline objectives the following null hypotheses will be subject to testing at 0.5 level of significance.

  1. H0 There is no significance effect of Spiritual development of a pastor and the growth of the church.

H1 There is a significance effect of Spiritual development of a pastor and the growth of the church

  1. H0 There is no significance effect of academic development of a pastor and the growth of the church.

H1 There is a significance effect of academic development of a pastor and the growth of the church

  1. H0 There is no significance effect of theological development of a pastor and the growth of the church.

H0 There is a significance effect of theological development of a pastor and the growth of the church


1.6          Significance of the Study

  1. Pastors will be fully enlighten on the important of spiritual development to the growth of their ministerial assignment.
  2. Low academic qualified pastors in the ministries will also understand the importance of academic advancement towards the growth their ministry.
  3. Pastors will also be informed on the need to enhance their knowledge level in biblical understanding to achieve the goals of their ministry.
  4. This material will also serve as a reference work to researchers in related fields of study as it is capable of gingering research into related fields of study.


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Ikemesit Akpan is my name. I am a Nigerian author. I work with I'm a researcher and a writer of academic research.

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