DISCIPLESHIP AND ITS IMPACT ON CHURCH GROWTH
This thesis investigated the creation and nurturing of discipleship in a small group context as a means of establishing a church, with one of the outcomes being spiritual (qualitative) and numerical (quantitative) growth.
A small group ministry is an important alternative to regular church practise when it comes to church growth.
Chapter 2 examined the goal of the church and the concept of building up the church using biblical concepts as its foundation.
The third chapter discusses the importance of discipleship in church building and its impact on church growth. It also highlights small group ministry as the best technique for developing and nurturing discipleship among church members. Small group ministry has enormous practical possibilities for the church.
It encourages members of the congregation to recognise and apply their spiritual skills and talents, discovering their value and identity in Jesus Christ in the process.
The outcomes of empirical research undertaken among three Nigerian Christ Apostolic Churches that practise small group ministry are documented in Chapter 4.
It was determined what the three senior pastors thought about the importance of small groups. This was followed by a detailed investigation on the workings and impacts of small groups, which included 205 respondents from three congregations.
Chapter 5 gives a proposed plan to build up the church based on the research findings, supporting church growth through the formation and nurturing of discipleship through a small groups ministry.
The study provides a seven-fold approach to the implementation of a small group ministry meant to inspire spiritual and numerical growth among church members through the formation and nurturing of discipleship.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The call to discipleship includes Jesus' one-of-a-kind invitation to become like Him (Luke 6:40) and fully participate in His mission. “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,”
links discipleship with spreading the good news to all (mark 1:15,17; Luke 5:10), whereas the times when Jesus sent the twelve or the seventy out in pairs (Mark 6:7-13; Luke 10:1-20) show that He expects disciples to be fully engaged in service to others.
Discipleship is personal as well as public. It consists of our individual daily walk of prayer, fasting, worship, and Bible study. All of these are things that people do not see us doing.
Then there's the public witnessing, ministry, and serving. These are the obvious things. Some have referred to this as our “journey inward” and “journey outward.” Discipleship encompasses both.
Discipleship in the church is a vital ministry of the church. It is God's heartbeat and a key requirement for living a successful Christian life. According to the Bible, Jesus called the twelve disciples from the start of His mission. He taught them over the course of three and a half years.
He told them to go and make additional disciples from all across the world after the training and before ascending to paradise. He had already assured them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
So go, make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Making disciples is central to the Great Commission. God's instruction is not simply to raise or create coverts from all nations. This is vital, especially for believers who are disciples now and disciples of the future.
It is unfortunate that many churches today are overcrowded with overgrown adolescents; this is why the church in this generation has been unable to make a significant impact on society. There are several church auditoriums where people meet every week in tremendous fervour and excitement, but the number of disciples is insignificant…..
A successful life is one that is fulfilled; a fulfilled life is one that pleases the Lord. One who has conformed to the image of God's son is one who will delight the Lord (Romans 8:29).
The result demonstrates the significance of discipleship in the life of a Christian. “Most churches grow through transfer.” The rotation of the saints is the current system. To carry on His father's work, Christ had to commission his disciples, all believers included.
The quantity of genuine converts to Christ required him to commission his disciples, including all believers. Some “great churches” have a small number of genuine converts to Christ; nonetheless, churches with excellent preaching and music programmes attract a large number of people.
As a result, people believe that the church is wonderful and that the personnel perform an excellent job. In actuality, because it entertains, the church with restaurants and theatres becomes the huge one.
The clergy-laity connection has evolved into a professional one, similar to that of artists and parishioners and audience; the better the show, the greater the crowd.
All of this demonstrates that exceptional performance attracts individuals. It means little more than that it does not authentically reflect Christ's priorities for His church. ‘I'm going to conquer more worlds for my Father, so do a good job,' said the lord.
The essential question of “who is a disciple” surfaces once more. A disciple is someone who adheres to Jesus Christ. Being a Christian, even if a member of His Kingdom, does not make one a disciple.
Following Christ entails recognising Him as Lord and serving Him as a slave, just as unbelievers serve Satan. It also entails admiring and praising the father. Perhaps the most serious issue in the church today is a lack of grounded Christian journey; only a few people are plugged in all the way to the point where they mature in the faith.
In addition, many Christians are easily deceived by words, and as a result, they engage in philosophy. Making disciples is a process of building up, preparing, and equipping the body of Christ. Every believer who is a disciple and desires to be a discipler should prioritise the advancement of His kingdom.
To be founded in faith, the church of the twenty-first century must follow-up on new converts and take them through the Bible investigation class (B.I.C), as well as regular attendance at church services and mid-week events.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Discipleship has emerged as one of the most difficult tasks confronting the modern church. The believers' service in today's church does not have the intended impact on the lives of growing Christians and society.
There have also been significant inadequacies in the lives of persons who profess to be members of the body of Christ, resulting in many undesirable personalities and attitudes that make one wonder if they are genuinely born again.
This research is thus carried out with the goal of assessing current discipleship systems and their effects on church growth, as well as making recommendations for upgrading the standard. In this study work, the researcher needs to investigate and provide a solution to the following questions:
What are the advantages of discipleship as a church-growth tool?
What is Christ Apostolic Church Oke Igbala Ketu District's discipleship strategy?
What are the difficulties of discipleship in the Oke Igbala Ketu District of Christ Apostolic Church?
What are the members' problems and activities in terms of church growth?
1.3. Purpose of the Study
To investigate the role of discipleship programmes on church growth.
Identifying the roles of church members and leaders in discipleship ministry and church growth.
To see our church improve in quality, as it did during the time of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To suggest to the church biblical discipleship practises exemplified by biblical leaders of various eras.
1.4. Importance of the Study
Despite the church's proliferation, there has been a significant neglect of the church's discipleship ministry since most churches have substituted it with other activities, despite the fact that the church cannot expand properly without biblically based discipleship programmes.
The study will be used as a source of material for seminaries and further research into the topic issue.
This research will assist the church in improving their discipleship initiatives for maturing believers.
The study will assist the church in beginning to use discipleship as a strategy for church growth.
1.5. Delimitations of the Study
This research focuses on discipleship and its impact on church growth. Christ apostolic Church OKe Igbala, Ketu District will be interviewed for the study.
1.6. Limitations Of The Study
The study's limitations include various flaws that were discovered during the research process.
The constraint is due to a lack of funds, time, and the difficulties in meeting the respondents during interactions with the Pastors and members of Christ Apostolic Church, Oke Igbala, Ketu District.
1.7. RESEARCH PROCEDURE
The researcher conducted a survey of related literatures such as textbooks, commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, and Christian journals as the primary instruments for carrying out the study. The poll was conducted at the following libraries:
Ikorodu LIFE Theological Seminary Library
Personal library and internet access for the researcher
1.8. Definitions of Terms
It is a process in which a converted individual learns at Christ's feet with the goal of practising and doing what he learns until his lifestyle and habits fit to God's standard.
The church is simply the body of Christ at action in the world, where the conceptual and the functional collide. Without the “communion of persons,” the institution lacks divine authority, and the communion lacks ways to minister to the finite, historically grounded world of persons.
This refers to the church's growth, both numerically and spiritually.
Christ the King Apostolic Church:
The church's organisation, beliefs, and practises distinguish it as an indigenous African church; it is an independent Pentecostal church.