- BACKGROUND TO THE study
The family as an integrated and functional unit of society has for a considerable period of time captured the attention and imagination of researchers (Sooryamoorthy, 2012). While the family itself is a matter of study, equally important for research is its role as a factor influencing and affecting the development, behaviour, and wellbeing of the individual. The family is a basic unit of study in many social science disciplines, such as sociology, psychology, economics, anthropology, social psychiatry, and social work (Sonawat, 2001).
A family affects the growth of every member, and plays an important role in the normal operation process of a social system. Therefore, family function is restricted by the characteristics of the family itself, and depends on the social demand (Dai & Wang, 2015). According to Dai and Wang (2015), the concept of family stability can be divided into three dimensions: family intimacy, family adaptability and family communication. The family intimate degree refers to the relationship between family members (disengaged, separated, connected or enmeshed); family adaptability is the ability of family rules to cope with the external environmental pressure or the development of marriage; and family communication refers to the interaction between family members, which is important for the development of family intimacy and adaptability (Dai & Wang, 2015).
Your minister has a family. Sometimes the congregation forgets. Sometimes even the minister seems to forget. If the minister is single, relatives and close friends are the family. Each member of that family–as each member of your family–has needs to be met and potentials to be developed.
Peter preached, recalling Genesis and God's promise to Abraham, “In your descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Acts 3:25). So we become one family in Christ, caring for every member of the body. Sometimes a minister's family may feel that the church members are the minister's family, because they seem to have more impact on the minister and by extension impacts on the spiritual growth of the church. Whenever they call, whatever they want, the minister seems to be ready to counsel, teach, preach and visit. Because ministers care about what they do, it often is difficult for them to turn people away who crowd into family time. More and more ministers, however, are scheduling regular time away from their ministerial duties for their families in addition to time for themselves. Children have access to a parent at times other children can't reach theirs. They understand what their parent, who is a minister, does more clearly than children whose parents go to regular work. But there may be a sense of intrusion, especially when the minister's family lives in a parsonage.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Ministerial family is one of the keys to success in the ministry of the church. Capable and skillful leaders will create an atmosphere of excitement, give directions to move forward, and develop people to grow into maturity. Only when ministers understand leadership in the light of God's calling on their lives will they be equipped to lead effectively. As the Barrs state, “Leadership is the process of influencing people to give their energies, use their potential, release their determination, and go beyond their comfort zone to accomplish goals. Leadership is a dynamic process. It affects, risks, drives, inspires, threatens, supports, and leads.” Local churches are looking for someone to lead them into God's purposes God's way. Local churches need leaders who truly believe God will do what he says. People will follow spiritual leaders who understand God's agenda and who know how to move them toward it. Effective leaders recognize the three elements of a triangle: (1) their own preferred and comfortable leader style, (2) the comfortable relational styles of their followers, and (3) the most productively structured ministry situations for them. Ministeral leaders should be alert to the most comfortable and productive combination of these three elements leader follower-situation. Is this leadership triangle too complex to analyze? No, leaders can select their own leader style and can help structure the ministry situations they work in. In other words, leaders can influence two of the three points of the leadership triangle. That creates favorable, reciprocal, and complementary possibilities for effective leadership. Leaders determine their followers' style reactions, however, unless they choose to manipulate.
The lack of leadership in today's churches, especially the smaller churches, has caused all kinds of problems which have stagnated the healthy growth of the church. In this time of unprecedented opportunity and plentiful resources, the church is actually losing influence.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The general purpose of study is to examine how ministers' family relationship affects the spiritual growth of the church in Abuja Main District of Assemblies of God, Nigeria.
The specific objectives are:
- To investigate the problem besetting ministers' family relationship in Abuja Main District of Assemblies of God, Nigeria.
- To find out those factors responsible for the problem besetting ministers' family relationship in Abuja Main District of Assemblies of God.
- To assess the effects of the problem besetting ministers' family relationship on the spiritual growth of the church in Abuja Main District of Assemblies of God, Nigeria.
- To investigate those who are mostly affected by the poor ministers' family relationship in Abuja Main District of Assemblies of God.
- To suggest or recommend relevant solutions in order to enhance the spiritual growth of the church in Abuja Main District of Assemblies of God through ministers family relationship.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the problem besetting ministers' family relationship in Abuja Main District of Assemblies of God, Nigeria?
2. What factors are responsible for the problem besetting ministers' family relationship in Abuja Main District of Assemblies of God Nigeria?
3. What are the effects of the problem besetting ministers' family relationship on the spiritual growth of the church in Abuja Main District of Assemblies of God, Nigeria?
4. Who are those mostly affected by the poor ministers' family relationship in Abuja Main District of Assemblies of God?
5. What relevant solutions could be recommended or suggested in order to enhance the spiritual growth of the church in Abuja Main District of Assemblies of God through ministers' family relationship?
1.5. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The greatest challenge facing the church is that of growth. Congregational growth is not automatic. It is affected by a complex set of factors, not all of which can be controlled by the church.
This research work seeks to study ministers' lifestyle and church growth. Though ministers' salaries have improved, they remain well below most professionals, often making it necessary for the spouse to work outside the home.
1.6. DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study is limited to the impact of minister's family relationship on the spiritual growth of the church using the Abuja Main District of Assemblies of God as the case study
1.7. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
1. 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).
2. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8. OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Church Growth: is a movement within evangelical Christianity which aims to develop methods to grow churches based on business marketing strategies.
Preacher: A preacher usually identifies a person who delivers sermons or homilies on religious topics to an assembly of people
Family: A basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.
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