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The research work was focused on how the attitude of giving can lead to growth in the church with particular reference to Foursquare Gospel Church, Jakande Estate. The research work adopts library/field based approach; this includes the study of related materials, books and the use of oral interview. The research concludes that right attitude to giving is paramount when giving to God, His children and the Church. Giving must not be done with wrong motives but must be sacrificial and serves as a form of worship to God. Through the questionnaires distributed and interview conducted, it was discovered that majority of the members of Jakande Estate District Church have the right giving attitude to the growth of the church. The research also established that Giving is not limited to monetary values, one can give his support, his time, his talent, his effort towards the growth and development of the Church. The researcher therefore recommended The Church must also be able to offer multiple ways the members can give especially in this age like the use of ubiquitous offering basket/bucket, online giving solutions and every form of giving in the church must be appreciated by the Church authority no matter how minute it may be or it may look.
1.1 Background to the Study
Church growth has been defined as “the movement within evangelical Christianity which aims to grow churches based on research, sociology, analysis etc.” The church growth movement started with a passion for the Great commission, and seeing people come to Christ. Similarly, according to McGavran stated, “It is God’s will that women and men become disciples of Jesus Christ and responsible members of Christ’s church.”
Therefore, when church members faithfully pay their tithe and offering as commanded in the scriptures, there will be money to cater for the minister of the gospel and the church will be able to organise crusade, seminar, outreach and other programmes that will lead to church growth. In some churches today, people are pressured and manipulated to give whereas giving in the church should be given without sadness or compulsion because God loves a cheerful giver (Proverb 22:8-9).
However, the negative attitude of Christian towards giving is having negative effect on church growth as money is needed to propagate the gospel which will eventually lead to church growth. According to Albert Aina, “dwindling church finance has put a brake on the drive of pastors and congregation for church growth and expansion, the purse drive the pulse for church growth. Currently, less than three percent of Christians are paying their tithes. Salary cuts and job losses have worsened the financial fortune of most churches.”
The early church in Acts of Apostles gave all they have and it was shared among the believers and no one lack among them. (Acts 4:34-37). The Philippians church gave out of their poverty to support the ministry of Paul and he prayed for them that “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19 NKJV).
Commenting on the willingness of Philippians to give out of their lack to support Paul’s ministry Eshetu Abate, Submits:
By supporting the imprisoned apostle, the Philippians demonstrated that they shared in his troubles. By supporting evangelists, missionaries or any workers in the vineyard of the Lord, we are sharing in their ministry, even though we may not be physically present. As individuals and as churches we should give tangible support to the work of the Lord. Repeated sacrificial giving of the type modelled by the Philippians should be the norm for an active and serving church.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Ministry without money will face a lot of challenge and this can equally affect the church growth because there will not be money to finance outreach and other programmes that will bring about the growth of the church both numerically and spiritually, that is why Bible says “A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes merry: but money answers everything.” (Ecclesiastes 10:19 NKJV). The effect and impact of the church will be limited and minimal without financial sufficiency hence, the wheel of gospel moves slowly without money. Since most of church income is generated from members tithe and offering, that is why the effect of Christian giving will have impact on church growth.
There has been a lot of false teaching about giving going on the social media and traditional media where people have been discouraged from paying their tithe and offering in their church. On the other hand, the case of pastors and other church leaders who have been embezzling church funds is not helping matter either as some Christians are no more faithful in their giving towards the work of God and these are also having negative effect on church growth.
In the same vein, the issue of economic recession is another reason some church members are not giving bountifully towards the work of God. Many people have lost their job while some workers salary are no more regular while other have their salaries reduced to halve hence, the attitude of such categories of Christian towards giving may not be positive and that may eventually affect church growth.
In the light of these enumerated problems, the burden of this research work is to state the right attitude of Christians towards giving and to proffer solutions to the challenge of wrong attitude of Christian towards giving.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study will be:
1) To analyse the biblical concept of giving
2) To examine the effect of Christian attitude on giving towards church growth.
3) To state the right attitude of Christians towards giving
4) To establish the relationship between giving and church growth
5) To encourage church leaders and members to have a right attitude towards giving in church
6) To proffer solutions to the challenge of wrong attitude of Christian towards giving.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The research work is expected to be valuable to many categories of people and organization which include the minsters of God, missionaries, church leaders, Christian families, church planters and generality of Nigerian Christians. The study will serve as a resource material for the seminarians and future research work in the area related to the subject matter.
The study will also be useful for the purpose of conducting seminars, workshops, and conferences as regard giving and church growth.
1.5 Delimitation of the Study
Knowing that issue of giving and church growth is very broad, this study is tailored along the effect of Christian attitude on giving towards church growth. The study is limited to Foursquare Gospel Church Jakande Estate District in Lagos State and not the whole Foursquare Gospel Church as an organization.
1.6 Research Methodology
The descriptive and historical research design is adopted in this study because the study is to examine the effect of Christian attitude on giving towards church growth.
The Library of LIFE Theological Seminary and personal Library are the sources of information for the study. The researcher conducts a survey of literature such as text books, Bible commentaries, concordance, dictionaries, illustrated Bible dictionaries, magazines, Christian Journals, internet and encyclopaedia.
The researcher also complies with the use questionnaires and oral interviews which will be personally administered to get information from ministers, council members, workers and members of Foursquare Gospel Church Jakande Estate District in Lagos State.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
This research work faces some constraint at the period of writing, some of which include: unwillingness of some church leaders and members served with questionnaire to give the exact answers to the question asked. Due to the limited time, finance and distance, the study could not interview many people and the questionnaire was given randomly to some selected people in the church. However, the researcher did this possible best to present a valid report.
1.8 Definition of Terms
For the purpose of this research, the following words/terms are defined thus:
Effect: A change produces by an action or cause
Christian: Follower of Christ; to be of Christ or Christ like.
Attitude: A fixed way thinking.
Church: Michael L. Williams theologically defined church as ‘ekklesia’ (Greek word) which means a called out company or assembly. Wherever it is used in the Bible it refers to people. It can be a mob, the children of Israel (Acts 7:38), and the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 5:25, 32).”
Church Growth: Calls to try one’s skill or strength especially in a competition; a demanding task; an objection or query.
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