Research Proposals

THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH LEADERS IN GROWTH AND SURVIVAL OF A CHURCH

THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH LEADERS IN GROWTH AND SURVIVAL OF A CHURCH

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Abstract

The study examined the role of the church leaders in growth and survival of a church. The researcher intended to provide pastors with information about leadership practices that will help them grow their churches. Using two instruments, personal interviews of pastors (PIP) and the leadership practice questionnaire (LPQ), the researcher gathered information that revealed the state of leadership practices in local churches.

Data analysis produced several discoveries that benefit the local church suffering from a shortage of leaders. The findings suggest that among the diverse church leadership practices, serving and loving, visitation, and hospitality related to church growth in local growing churches.

Results also indicated that indicated an essential link exists between effective church leadership practices and church growth and survival of the church. Churches whose ministers performed more effective practices that related to church growth such as serving and loving, visitation, and hospitality saw their churches grow, while ministers who did not perform these practices experienced decline.

Another discovery indicated that ministers who actually served their members and communities with genuine love had their churches grow, while those who failed to serve their members and communities with genuine love had churches that declined. These findings contribute to a better understanding of current reality and inform practice for stronger church leadership practices in more churches in the future.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

Without reservation, leadership is a very important aspect of every organisation. They are the motivators, inspirers, influencers, decision makers, implementers, organisers, directors, and in fact, an engine block or foundation stone in which groups, organisations or associations stand. Moreover, according to Ward (2023), for any organisation, association or institution to function effectively, leaders are needed to direct or shepherd them towards achieving desired goals or objectives. Leaders usually adopt any leadership style they fit in or inbuilt in them in order to easily or smoothly achieve their goals.

 

THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH LEADERS IN GROWTH AND SURVIVAL OF A CHURCH

Church leaders play a crucial role in shaping the direction, vision, and overall health of a church community. Their leadership skills, spiritual guidance, and ability to mobilize and engage the congregation are essential for the growth and sustainability of a church. This study aims to explore the various aspects of the role of church leaders in the growth and survival of a church by examining their responsibilities, qualities, and impact on the congregation (Feela, 2021).

According to Oloyede (2020), church leaders, often referred to as pastors or ministers, are responsible for providing spiritual guidance, teaching, and pastoral care to the members of their congregation. They are entrusted with leading worship services, delivering sermons, administering sacraments, and providing counseling and support to individuals and families within the church community. Additionally, church leaders are responsible for overseeing various ministries and programs aimed at fostering spiritual growth, community engagement, and outreach (Oloyede, 2020).

One of the key roles of church leaders is to articulate a clear vision for the church and communicate it effectively to the congregation. A compelling vision inspires and motivates members to actively participate in the life of the church. Church leaders must have strong communication skills to effectively convey this vision through sermons, teachings, and other forms of communication.

Church leaders also play a vital role in fostering a sense of community within the church. They are responsible for creating an environment where individuals feel welcomed, valued, and connected to one another. This involves promoting fellowship activities, organizing small groups or Bible studies, and encouraging meaningful relationships among members. By cultivating a sense of belonging and community, church leaders contribute to the growth and retention of members.

Furthermore, Kim, (2019) stressed that, church leaders are tasked with equipping and empowering individuals within the congregation for ministry. They identify and nurture the gifts and talents of individuals, providing opportunities for them to serve within the church community. By empowering members to use their gifts, church leaders create a culture of active participation and engagement, which leads to the growth and vitality of the church.

In addition to their internal responsibilities, church leaders also play a crucial role in the external outreach and mission of the church. They are responsible for developing and implementing strategies for evangelism and community engagement. This may involve organizing outreach events, partnering with local organizations, or initiating social justice initiatives. By actively engaging with the broader community, church leaders contribute to the growth and impact of the church beyond its immediate congregation.

 

Undeniably, the role of church leaders in the growth and survival of a church is multifaceted and requires a combination of leadership skills, spiritual discernment, and pastoral care. Effective church leaders possess qualities such as integrity, humility, empathy, and a strong commitment to their faith. They are able to inspire and motivate others through their own example of faith and dedication.

Pastoral leaders are seen as spiritual leadership and the basis behind the rapid growth of churches (Kim, 2019). Kim emphasises that “aside from providing spiritual leadership, pastors also play administrative leadership roles in the development of their churches, a role that they themselves often fail to recognize within their respective spiritual organisations.”

In support of this, Shin (2004) points out that church leadership“was given to us based on the foundation of Our Lord. As Christians, we begin to realize that the church leadership is good in the eyes of Our Lord and since it is based on the Bible, it is better than that of secular management.” Thus, this entails that pastoral leaders are divinely ordained or chosen to lead the church. Other roles of these pastoral leaders as captured by Feela (2021) are “not just to be a disciple; it is to call parishioners to gospel discipleship.

A communion of disciples is the core of parish life, but the notion of communion envisioned by the gospel is radically different from other types of associations. Discipleship to Christ comes as a consequence of being gathered by God.

The role of church leadershipis to help the community discover its actual communion in Christ.” In view of this, Oloyede (2020) says that pastoral leaders must have principles if they must succeed in piloting affairs of the church. According to him, these principles are principle of service (Luke 22:24-27), principle of sacrifice, principle of suffering (Philippians 2:9), and principle of submission (Mark, 14:36).

Perhaps this prompted Coutts (2008) to advice pastoral leaders to emulate the following biblical heroes; Moses, David, Paul, and Jesus. He explains that “Moses was wise to listen to Jethro’s counsel to delegate tasks to the reliable and empower his assistants (Exod. 18:24). David was courageous in the face of overwhelming obstacles (1 Sam. 17) and inspired others to follow him (2 Sam. 23).

Paul directed all his ambition and ability to the mission (Acts 20:34, 35) and was conversant in every culture (Acts 17; 18).

Jesus carefully trained a team of successors (Matt. 10; Luke 10), was apparently quite amiable at parties (Matt. 11:19), and was apt to attract a crowd (Luke 9:10–12).”

Furthermore, Christian Reformed Church notes that what drives good leadership in church include “Character in the leader (which generates trust on the part of followers), conviction in the leader (which helps the congregation discern its purpose and vision), and competencies in the leader (which help a congregation function as a healthy system—i.e., deal with the normal anxieties and conflicts of communal life in healthy and productive ways)”.

Others are confluence of leader, congregation, time, place, ministry opportunity, and resources (gifts of God’s Spirit that enables a leader and congregation to work joyfully together in realizing God’s purposes). The study examined the role of the church leaders in growth and survival of a church.

 

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Church leaders, including pastors, priests, bishops, and other clergy members, play a significant role in guiding and nurturing their congregations. They are responsible for providing spiritual guidance, leading worship services, administering sacraments, and overseeing various ministries within the church. Additionally, church leaders are expected to foster a sense of community, promote unity among members, and ensure the overall well-being of the church.

The Great Commission mandates the Church to experience both qualitative and quantitative growth. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matt 28:18-20).

 

Christ expected his disciples to lead the church to experience dynamic growth. Their leadership skills, vision, and ability to adapt to changing circumstances can significantly impact the growth and long-term sustainability of a church. However, challenges such as leadership succession, conflicts within the leadership team, and external factors can also pose significant obstacles to the growth and survival of a church.

Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that churches apply best techniques and organize many church programs with their flocks, they do not experience dynamic growth.

 

In addition, ministries fail, often not because we have failed to understand or even apply the best techniques and programmatic advances with the flock. We often fail because we have either forgotten or have not known that the key to every ministry is the quality of the shepherd who leads.

Lastly, the lack of effective leadership practice in today’s churches has caused all kinds of problems which have impeded the healthy growth of the church. Therefore, this study looks in this direction at the study examined the role of the church leaders in growth and survival of a church. in the study area.

 

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to examine role of the church leaders in growth and survival of a church. Specifically, the study aimed at investigating:

  1. The common leadership practices in churches in the study area.
  2. The leadership practices in churches that relate to growth and survival of a church.
  3. The leadership practices that pastors identify as having a positive impact on growth and survival of a church.

 

1.4       Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will be immense benefits to numerous churches, pastors and the society.  Effective leadership can be positive on the growth and effectiveness of every organization. The Church is no different, and it relies on its leaders to provide strategy, vision, and guidance in the day-to-day operation of its ministries.

One of the important dimensions of being an effective pastor is leading the church to make disciples. The Lord has chosen the church as a means of spreading the message of salvation to the entire world. In order to fulfill this mission, the pastor must be committed to feeding, organizing, and leading a well-trained group of God’s people to fulfill his will. Thus, without strong church leadership in the churches, the ministries and people will suffer.

The findings of this research could be a basis for developing strong church leaders for effective church growth. The researcher also believes that this study helps pastors know the best leadership practices that enhance church growth in the local churches. It bring to the fore the pitfalls in leadership that do not promote church growth and how to avoid them.

 

1.5       Research Questions

In an attempt to address the research problem, this dissertation addressed the questions below:

  1. What are the common church leadership practices in churches?
  2. What church leadership practices in churches relate to growth and survival of a church?
  3. What church leadership practices are identify as having a positive impact on growth and survival of a church?

 

1.6       Delimitation

This study focused on the role of the church leaders in growth and survival of a church. It is delimited in scope to all the pastors in the study area who must have served the church at least 2 years in the God’s Vineyard.

 

CONCLUSION

Based on the findings of the study, it is concluded that, church leaders play a significant part in shaping the vision, mission, and values of a church, as well as providing spiritual guidance and pastoral care to its members. They are responsible for leading and equipping the congregation, fostering a sense of community, and ensuring the overall health and sustainability of the church.

In addition to spiritual guidance and community building, church leaders are responsible for providing pastoral care to their congregation. They offer counseling services, visit the sick and elderly, provide comfort during times of grief or crisis, and offer support to individuals facing personal challenges. By demonstrating compassion and empathy, church leaders create an environment where individuals feel safe to share their struggles and seek guidance.

 

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Joselyn Nya

My Name is Joselyn Nya A Publisher in Project Boss Team. I'm a Nigerian I'm a graduate/Educational Researcher. Project Boss Team. We are the best for Project materials and project writing services. Email: admin@projectboss.com.ng

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