Excellence In Public Relation Concept And Church Growth Of Christ Army Church (A Two Ways Symmetrical Analysis)

Project and Seminar Material for Theology and Biblical Studies

Excellence In Public Relation Concept And Church Growth Of Christ Army Church (A Two Ways Symmetrical Analysis)


Abstract


This study made an assessment on the Excellence In Public Relation Concept And Church Growth Of Christ Army Church (a Two Ways Symmetrical Analysis). In conducting the research, qualitative and quantitative research designs were applied with two research instruments-questionnaire and interview schedule used to collect data. Research questions raised were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). The data were presented in tables, percentage and bar chart. At the end of the analysis, it was discovered that the use and effectiveness of the Public Relations unit in Christ Army Church, though nascent, have improved the relationship of the Church and her public as well as drawn the presence of the Church to her sons and daughters outside the domain of the partner with the local Church to foster development and evangelization to the local people.


Table of Content


Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the study
  • 1.4 Research questions
  • 1.5 Significance of the study
  • 1.6 Scope of the study
  • 1.7 Limitation of the study
  • 1.8 Definition of terms
  • 1.9 Organizations of the study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the study
  • 3.3 Sample size determination
  • 3.4 Sample size selection technique and procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of data collection
  • 3.7 Method of data analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the study
  • 3.10 Ethical consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Interpretation of Result

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Public relations is a concept which prides itself with telling the truth based on full information, image making and taking care of the peoples’ welfare in the form of its corporate social responsibility. Public Relations is employed as a veritable instrument for building and sustaining mutual beneficial relationship between organisations and their various publics. In recognition of the place of public relations in relationship management, various religious organisations have established various public relations units charged with the mandate of building and sustaining goodwill among the congregations. Supporting the need for a vibrant public relations in churches, Ebebe (1996, p. 6) noted that:

Presently, there are many guises in the name of Christ. Thieves stand on the highways to steal dressed in religious habits. Different types of money hunters clutch the Bible in the pretence of preaching the Good News. Many, concealed hypocrites are ‘working’ miracles pronouncing the name of Christ while actually manipulating the situation in one way or the other. These satanic activities are not fruits of the gospel while pretending to be.

Ebebe’s position pin-points the power of public relations in projecting the church in good light by upholding the truth as it is contained in the Bible and preventing charlatans from denigrating the Gospel of Christ. What public relations activity needed in this case is that of projecting the truth from the scripture with the sole aim of winning souls for Christ. It equally involves restoring the good image of the Christendom to that which others will see the actions of the church and its followers and turn a new leaf. The emphasis here is on deeds as against words. As St. James would say… let us be doers and not just hearers of the word (James 1: 22). Menkir (1992, p. 85) captured the essence of this statement when he wrote that:

The content of Christian communication should recognize that the gospel is not so much about what God has said as about what God has done. Even when the Bible seems to emphasis the word, it is in so far as words shade into deeds. Words were not simply sounds that could be lost on the desert air; they were deeds which changed the course of events.

Public relations, as presented by the British Institute of Public Relations, ‘is a deliberate and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its public’ (Owolabi, 2007, p. 248). Three words, namely; deliberate, planned and sustained are significant in this definition. This simply means that PR is not a fire-brigade programme but a conscious action targeted at goodwill and image making. Jefkin (1982, p. 32) reinforced this observation as he added that ‘public relations effort should not be made haphazardly but should have a well-defined purpose, it should be planned and not played by the ear, and it is done persuasively and continuously and not seasonal’. This is why PR is different from propaganda. While the later attempts to build a movement whether or not the people understand the issue at stake, the former seeks to persuade and obtain the consent of the people as Owolabi stated.

Given this background, evangelization in the modern world cannot be limited to mere words as the ‘fakes’ and ‘mesmerisers’ do to their unsuspecting audience. Rather it will involve a conscious effort geared toward winning souls for Christ by telling people much about the good news and the need to seek first the kingdom of God. Using the definitional principles of PR, the church can build a good image for itself and in that process capture the interest of those that are the target of evangelization. In fact, all the votes about public relations are tailored towards creating favourable image. However, one can say that the premise to maintain good image began with God. Jesus laid emphasis on good image when he stated that: You are the light of the world… let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven (Mathew 5: 14).

This is in fact public relations defined because it aims at creating good image through good works. Owolabi, speaking on image avers that: Image or reputation can be likened to a product’s life cycle that grows at a time to the peak and starts to nosedive if not sustained. Small and seemingly insignificant thing can destroy the reputation of an individual or a multinational institution or [church] and that is why PR is tailored to achieving and sustaining good reputation.

Good image or reputation can be achieved through communication which is a key instrument in the hand of the public relations practitioner. Keghku (2007, p. 312) noted that “for as long as our activities involve communication and we seek to generate goodwill, we are engaged in the PR process”. Katz and Khan as quoted by Nzewi (1992, p. 18) wrote that communication is “of broadest relevance in the functioning of any group, organization or society and is the very essence of a social system or organization”.

Communication is vital therefore, to public relations. In order to reach people they have to grasp or understand you, and until the message is clear, communication has not taken place (Nzewi, 1992, p. 18). Saint Paul was of the same opinion when he told the Corinthians that: Except you utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For you shall speak into the air. (1 Corinthians: 14:9)

A well communicated message with enough persuasion is likely to always make an impact. From the ‘Pentecost’ experience (Acts. 2), there was a surge of people into the church. Acts 2:41 recorded an addition of three thousand people to the church after Peter’s soul-stirring message – communication (Nzewi). Had Peter kept quiet, nothing of such would have happened. Peter, under the influence of the Holy Spirit was able to influence 3,000 people primarily through communication to think well of Jesus Christ, to respect and support the course of evangelism.

Evangelization which is primarily a movement geared toward winning souls for Christ, was actually commissioned by Christ himself when he said “go ye into the world and preach the gospel to every creature’, (Mark 16: 15). Ogbu (1992, p. 10) observed that: The motivating factor in the life of the Christian church is centred on the existence of the command which Jesus gave his disciples to go into the whole world baptizing and making disciples. This one motivating factor has led Christians into all forms of strategies and to different localities in outreach to people, in order to fulfil the great commission.

Therefore, it is believed that evangelization will become easier than imagined when allowed to thrive on the basis of effective media and community relations. As for the community, especially those at the grassroots, good relationship accompanied with charitable actions will serve as a potent means to attracting the people and making them psychologically disposed to receiving and working with the message preached.

The need for this research work is however captured by the words of Arinze (1999, p. 1), when he avers that: Human society has known division, factions and misunderstandings due to linguistic, cultural and religious differences. The world, especially, in this jet age of instant communication, is thirsting more and more for unity, good understanding between people who are different on several counts, and especially dialogue across religious frontiers.

It becomes imperative, therefore, to employ PR which is a technique geared towards fostering unity, and understanding in achieving goodwill between the various religious frontiers, thereby creating a sound forum for evangelization especially at the grassroots.

Public relations is not new in Christianity; in fact they grew up together… dating back from creation, when God said, ‘let us make man in our own image’. A more practical area of public relations in the church was when Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, turned water into wine, people were drawn to him; he was different from others, when his apostles followed likewise, they were showing forth good works’ (Nzewi, 1992, p. 21). In fact, there is a general consciousness of image value in Christians – how do men view us, do they like or detest us? This is reflected on the Christian emphasis of good works, faith, and love in relating with others. St James stated that faith without good work is dead (James 2:14). PR shares the same principles. The Biblical golden rule ‘do unto others as you would like them do unto you’ (Matthew 7: 12) has in fact become a popular public relations maxim, which fits in both social and spiritual situations.

However, the hallmark of public relations in the church is centred on interaction with people, with the sole aim of winning favourable responses. While PR is a top management process aimed at winning friends and creating goodwill through communication anchored on truth, knowledge and full information; the church on its own wishes to exist among the people with maximum acceptability. This is where public relations is needed in the church. Therefore, the essence of this research work is to examine the place of public relations in the church, with a keen focus on Christ Army Church.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The Christ Army Church has at one time or the other came under criticism from members of the public. In some cases, the church is accused of over acquisition of land meant for community development. In other cases, its priests are accused of one form of misconduct or the other. There are instances where the church came under direct conflict with members of the Christian community it was created to serve. These issues have ways of tarnishing the image of the church and its practices. Acceptability becomes a problem on the part of the people. This is when public relations is required by the church in order to wriggle out of the tight corner it has boxed itself. How effective the church used PR to reposition itself in the diocese still remains in doubt. Hence, this study intends to find out the place of public relations in the Christ Army Church and how effective it has been in restoring good image for the church.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objectives of this study is to ascertain the Excellence In Public Relation Concept And Church Growth Of Christ Army Church. Hence, in specific terms the study has the following objectives:

  1. To find out the extent to which the church is aware of the need for public relations in its ministerial function.
  2. To examine the extent public relations has been used in the church to achieve goodwill and positive image.
  3. To examine the specific public relations strategies used by the church in eliciting goodwill and preaching the gospel.
  4. To find out how effective these public relations strategies have been in the hands of the church.

1.4 Research Questions

This work will be guided by the following research questions:

  1. To what extent is the church aware of the need for public relations in its ministerial activities?
  2. To what extent has public relations been used in the church to achieve goodwill and positive image?
  3. What are the specific public relations strategies used by the church in eliciting goodwill and preaching the gospel?
  4. How effective is the public relations strategies used by the church in its Christian activities?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study is important because it investigates the extent to which the Christ Army Church makes use of public relations strategies in carrying out its Christian activities. The study will also reveal if these strategies are effective or not and possibly recommend ways the church can make it better.

Academically, the study will be of benefit for researchers in this area and other related area, as it will provide data that are product of empirical investigation.


1.6 Scope of the Study

This study will focus primarily on the use of public relations in the Christ Army Church. This means that Christ Army Church will be the major focus of the study. Data will, therefore, be collected only within this region. The researcher will therefore not concern himself with other variables outside this area of study.


1.7 Limitation of study

Finance, inadequate materials and time constraint were the challenges the researchers encountered during the course of the study.


1.8 Definition of Terms

The following term were operationally defined.

Public Relations:

This has to do with the establishment of goodwill, good image and cordial relationship between the Christ Army Church and other people inhabiting the same geographical area as well as outside her geographical area.

Public Relations Practice:

This is the activities of public relations carried out by the Christ Army Church


1.9 Organizations of the Study

The chapter one consist of the introductory part of the study which includes the study background, the statement of the research problem, the study objective and scope of the study.

The second chapter is a critical review of other literatures relevant to the study and its objectives including the theoretical framework for the study. While the third chapter is methods of data collection, sampling and data analysis used in conducting the study. The fourth chapter centres around the research findings including an analysis of how it relates to previous findings. The fifth chapter consists of the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations base on the study objectives.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This study made an assessment on the Excellence In Public Relation Concept And Church Growth Of Christ Army Church (a Two Ways Symmetrical Analysis). In conducting the research, qualitative and quantitative research designs were applied with two research instruments-questionnaire and interview schedule used to collect data. Research questions raised were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). The data were presented in tables, percentage and bar chart. At the end of the analysis, it was discovered that the use and effectiveness of the Public Relations unit in Christ Army Church, though nascent, have improved the relationship of the Church and her public as well as drawn the presence of the Church to her sons and daughters outside the domain of the partner with the local Church to foster development and evangelization to the local people.


5.2 Conclusion

Any organization or institution without healthy public image can never stand the test of time. The image we create to the publics determines to a greater extent our acceptability by the same publics. From the findings of this study, the researcher draws the following conclusions:

There is a Public Relation organs in Christ Army Church since its creation but became a unit after some years with the installation of a new leaderships. Although it has not been long it was created but the unit has risen to her challenge to make her presence felt in the diocese and beyond.

Even though, the unit has been established and their presence visible among the elites and the abroad members, it has not been fully felt by the locals and indigenous people within the church jurisdiction. Vast number of the illiterate members are yet to come to terms with the activities of the PR unit. These number are usually those lacking the ability to read or the reading culture, the channels of this unit are usually not accessed by them.

Some of the factors inhibiting the effectiveness of PR unit in the diocese among other things are: lack of funds to establish communication channels such as radio station, printing press, lack of professionals in the unit, curbing poor reading culture among the congregation and lack of data base for all the abroad members of the diocese for easy communication and accessibility.


5.3 Recommendation

Based on the findings of this study, a number of issues have to be urgently addressed to improve on the effectiveness and use of Public Relation in Christ Army Church.

Efforts should be made to boost the unit with funds to mount communication channels such as Radio station, television station and printing press. The horizon of the diocesan newspaper and the Bulletin should be expanded to reach out to a wider coverage and boost the image of the church to the publics.

It is a known fact that any investment without a professional management will be producing minimum out-put. The Diocese should take steps to either employ professionals in the PR unit or train priests in that field to give the unit a processional touch in order to boost its output.

There is need for the priests, through their preaching, to help inculcate reading the reading culture on their parishioners to keep them abreast with the happenings in the diocese and prevent possible rumour mongering.

When the people read more about the Diocese in the pages of the newspaper, bulletin or the Diocesan journals, the more informed they become and as such help in creating good image for the Diocese.

Efforts should be made to translate some of these fruits of PR unit to more practicable and impressionable realities in structural development of the diocese. Seeing they say is believing. When people begin to see some structural changes, the small group that denies the existent of the unit will acclaim its effectiveness.

The Public Relations Unit should articulate and implement a good social responsibility programme in various communities within Christ Army Church. That will help launder the image of the church among faithful in the communities.

Finally, it is recommended that further research be carried out on the application of public relations in grass root mobilization and evangelism for growth of the Christ Army Church.


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