CHURCH PLANTING IN NIGERIA: ISSUES AND PROSPECTS
The work of church planters is often hindered by high levels of problems. Problem may be viewed as a process that involves church planter and an individual’s perceptions of both the level of threat and his or her ability to deal with the threat. The long term and the short term consequences of problem can be attenuated through appropriate coping strategies such as problem solving, prayer, and seeking social support. Recent empirical evidence indicates that exposure to nature is also very effective, a strategy that might be especially beneficial to church planters and their ministries. Several practical applications are suggested
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Christianity in Nigeria which has led to planting of churches dates back to the 16th century when the Portuguese introduced Latin Christianity in Benin and Warri. Looking at Christianity from that early beginning to the present time, many stages of development had taken place resulting to the planting and growth of churches. Several Christian churches abound here and there. However, the researcher will examine issues and prospects of church planting in Nigeria.
Church planting is a process that results in a new (local) Christian church being established. It should be distinguished from church development, where a new service, new worship center or fresh expression is created that is integrated into an already established congregation. For a local church to be planted, it must eventually have a separate life of its own and be able to function without its parent body, even if it continues to stay in relationship denominationally or through being part of a network (Wikipedia, 2015).
Christians especially the missionary and clergy men have always believed that the most effective way to reach the world for Christ is by starting new churches. This is why every people group and community needs a church. According to many scholars, the church is the hope of the world which is why they are committed to building missionally-minded, transformational churches among every people group and community in the world.
Our global society today is undergoing significant constant proliferation and planting of churches which have brought not only changing values, but also greater source of solutions to people’s problems. This rapid multiplication of churches is borne out of the understanding that in Nigeria, there is freedom of religious worship. Central to the constant planting and proliferation of churches is the issues of its environmental effects on the people in the society and the prospects as it’s provide solution to peoples problems which this research is out to address. To an observant mind, the pace at which churches are spreading like a wildfire in Nigeria is alarming. In the country, there is freedom of worship, places of worship are full, pilgrimages are over-booked and there is evidence of religious expansion all over the places.