Negative Attitudes Of Children Of Church Ministers And Its Effects On Preaching The Gospel: Case Studies Of All Churches

Project and Seminar Material for Theology and Biblical Studies

Negative Attitudes Of Children Of Church Ministers And Its Effects On Preaching The Gospel: Case Studies Of All Churches


Abstract


This study examines the negative attitudes of children of church ministers and its effects on preaching the gospel in Nigerian churches. It was noted that the family of church ministers experience specific challenges, particularly in relation to the maintenance of boundaries between their personal lives and the individual needs of each member of their family, and the public pastoral roles of a church minister. The main aim of the research is to examine the effects of negative attitudes of church minister’s children on spreading the gospel of Christ. The study made use of primary data from the information obtained from the distribution of research questionnaire to members of the selected denominations. The research design adopted for this study is cross –sectional survey and descriptive analysis on a randomly selected sample of the different categories of churches (Catholic, Pentecostal and Orthodox). The study made use of a total population of 100. The sample of 40 was considered for the study, the data hypothesis was analyzed using the chi-square method. Findings shows that, in today’s church most of the minister’s children misbehavior have been overlooked, with the view of not trying to touch an anointed vessel’s property.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the study

The young generation today especially “clergy children” has decline from following their father’s foo steps of spreading the gospel and settled for worldly life styles to suit into the contemporary society. But for the gospel to be passed down from generation to generation in order to grow the body of Christ, the issues of negatives attitudes of church ministers children needs to be given urgent attention. Biblical history reveals few smooth generational transfers of faith. The tragic words of Judges 2:10 suggest a pattern repeated throughout the biblical narrative: “And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.” This text refers to the first generation of Israelites born in the Promised Land, a group whose fathers had rushed over the crumbled walls of Jericho and whose grandparents had crossed the Red Sea. Surely this godless generation’s ancestors had not neglected to pass their faith stories and religious traditions on to their children. No, the problem of the Judges 2 generation was not a lack of information about God, but a lack of personal knowledge of the presence and the covenant love of God.

A mind blowing question was posted on a Nigerian website named “Nairaland” on August 18, 2005. The question read, “Why Pastor’s Children often Embrace Cultism, Prostitution Etc?”. As much as 1,360 responses came in ranging from blame on pastors children for just wanting to destroy their parents’ ministry to pastor-parents not spending enough time to train their children, to indifference–pastors children are just like any other children and they are accountable for their lives (www.nairaland.com).

The question, the responses and discussions that ensued were quite interesting, challenging but in a more reflective mood, pathetic. The poser of the question was not even asking why Pastor’s children occasionally misbehave. He asked why they “often” misbehave. The poser was not just asking why there is some minor misconduct among pastors’ children, he was asking of why pastor’s children engage in such gross misconduct as cultism and prostitution. This is a great indictment on the ministry of the clergy and it calls for a close examination if there will be a solution to such things that are bringing shame and reproach to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. What some pastor’s children engage in could be as terrible as stealing or worst still, armed-robbery, sexual immorality including teenage pregnancy, use of hard drugs, drunkenness, bullying and other acts of misdemeanor.

Young people in every generation must wrestle with the faith handed down from their forefathers, grappling with the written words, presence, and mission of God until their own story joins the stream of His story. Likewise, people of God in each maturing generation reach out to the younger generation, striving to transmit a living faith to those who come behind them. The beauty and importance of the intergenerational chain of grace leap from the pen of the psalmist who says, “I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations” (Ps. 89:1).

Some studies found out that averagely, 1 in 3 young people growing up in a Christian home walk away from their inherent Christian values by age 18 (Barna Research Group, 2011). Despite spiritual value systems a Christian home provides, teaching the Christian faith does not guarantee salvation. For each young person choosing to walk away from their upbringing, there are parents left in the wake of an adolescents faithless lifestyle; parents who have sleepless nights, and families that implode from the social, spiritual, emotional, and physical fallout of their child’s behavior. Even when pastoral parents spend time training their child in the direction they should go, some will disregard the gospel message (Colorado Springs, CO: Biblica, Inc., 2011) Parents desire the best for their children, and have faith they will become productive members of society. Even more, Christian parents yearn for their children to become productive members for the Kingdom of God. As children grow older, they take on the responsibility for making choices outside of the parent’s control (Elyse Fitzpatrick, 2005). For a pastor’s child, these choices not only influence the family, but also additional ministerial obligations parent-pastors 4 have to their congregations. This study therefore look at what informs the society’s expectation of what pastors’ children ought to be and what are the factors that ultimately affects pastor’s children’s conduct or behavior negatively. The researcher then looks at the building blocks for developing ethical life and conduct in pastors’ children.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Church ministers who are accountable to a church congregation along with their children assume a difficult task that non-pastoral parents will never experience. The ability for ministers to escape from stressors of church and family life are challenging because both are encompassed in the pastoral lifestyle. For evangelical clergy, leading people to faith in Jesus Christ is the capstone of their pastoral duties. When children choose to walk away from the Christian faith, it can project a sense of personal failure in preaching the gospel to those who are closest to home. The minister’s ability to escape these feelings can become overwhelming, even damaging to the minister’s soul.

Similar to mainstream statistics for young adults raised in Christian homes, 3 out of 4 pastors claim their child fifteen and older has experienced significant doubts of faith (Barna Research Group, 2011). Minister’s children enjoy many unique advantages, but also struggle with a set of painful challenges that can drive them away from God and the church. Minister’s children grow up with preacher parents in families influenced to an unusual degree by the members of the local church community, who are also collectively their parents’ employers. Pastor’s children often feel that church people watch their every move, unfairly criticize them, and expect them to be perfect. When perfection proves impossible and criticism mounts, because of this some Pastor’s children may choose open rebellion, which drains energy from the pastoral family and produces confusion among church members. Pastoral families are often expected to model Christian family life for the church and community, and the apparent failure of Christianity in the pastors’ family can prove deeply troubling to the whole church and preaching the gospel to unbelievers.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this present study is to examine negative attitudes of children of church ministers and its effects on preaching the gospel. The researcher intends to cross examine the following sub objectives;

  1. To cross-examine the general behavior of Minister’s children in the Nigerian churches.
  2. To examine the causes of negative attitudes of Minister’s children in our churches.
  3. To explore relevant theological framework on minister’s family issues and ministry challenges to spreading of the gospel.
  4. To proffer solutions to the challenges of negative attitudes of minister’s children to the growth of the church.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated by the researcher to guide the indebt of this research;

  1. Does the minister’s children lifestyle go against the doctrine of the church?
  2. Are church ministers and clergy men found wanting in putting their homes in order?
  3. Is there any significant relationship between minister’s children negative attitudes and church growth?
  4. What are the causes of negative attitudes of Minister’s children in our churches?
  5. How can children of church ministers overcome these negative tendencies so as to grow the ministry of Christ?

1.5 Significance of the study

This study will unveil the root cause, the effect and the appropriate way of solving the negative attitudes of church minister’s children so that the society, parents and church ministers will benefit from the research findings.

This research is very significant because children are the future of every society including the Church. Many, if not all church denominations in Nigeria have been affected by the bad images projected by their church minister’s children in the society. The findings of this research work will immensely assist churches, ministries, pastors, etc in discovering the vital roles their children plays in the life of a Church as they are the leaders of tomorrow and future of every church. From this research, we will discover what a healthy church is like and how Minister’s children life style can draw the world to Christ and boost church growth. Finally, the findings of this study will serve as reference materials to scholars in this field of study.


1.6 Scope and Limitations of the study

This study examines negative attitudes of children of church ministers and its effects on preaching the gospel. A research of this nature seems broad such that it cannot be exhausted in this research work. For this reason, the research shall focus on all churches from different denominations in Nigeria. There were some constraints tending to interrupt the flow of this study such as;

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).
Members Reluctance: In most cases the members of the selected churches often feels reluctance over providing required information required by the researcher. This result in finding information where the structured questionnaires could not point out.

Researcher’s Commitment: The researcher, being of full time student spent most of her time on other academic activities such as test, class work, assignment, examination etc which takes average focus from this study.
Inadequate Materials: Scarcity of material is also a major hindrance. The researcher finds it difficult to lay hands on several required material which could contribute immensely to the success of this research work.


1.7 Definition of Terms

Church Ministers:

In Christianity, a minister is a person authorized by a church, or other religious organization, to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals; or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community.

Negative:

In a religious context, sin is an act of transgression against divine law.

Attitudes:

In psychology, attitude is a psychological construct, a mental and emotional entity that inheres in, or characterizes a person. They are complex and an acquired state through experiences.

Church Growth:

Is a movement within evangelical Christianity which focuses on developing methods to grow churches based on business marketing strategies.

Youth:

Youth is the time of life when one is young, but often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity).

Life Style:

Lifestyles define us; they are the way we live our lives, what we do, with whom, where, how and what we use to do it.

Acculturation:

“is the encounter between one culture and another or encounter between two cultures… it is of course, it is an encounter between two sets of symbols and conceptions, two different interpretations of experience, two social identities.”

Cult:

“is any religious group which differs significantly in some one or more respects as to belief or practice from those religious groups which are regarded as the normative expressions of religion in our total culture.”

Culture:

Culture “refer to the common ideas, feelings, and values that guide community and personal behavior that organize and regulate what the group thinks, feels and does about God, the world, and humanity.”

Culture Shifts:

“occur not only because of outside influence, but also because of the invention of new ideas and products, which make old things and old ways obsolete.”

Diffusion:

Is derived from the word diffuse. Diffuse means “spread over a wide area”.

Disrespect:

Lack of respect for somebody or something.” It is also discourtesy or rudeness.


1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter. Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.


Chapter Five


Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is pertinent to note that this research was aimed at cross examining the lifestyles of Pastors children in promoting the gospel of Christ and church growth in Nigeria, thus the topic “negative attitudes of children of church ministers and its effects on preaching the gospel”.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges associated with negatives attitudes of minister’s children in Nigeria.


5.2 Summary

The study on negative attitudes of church minister’s children and its effects on preaching the gospel was carried out in all churches in Nigeria. After must research was conducted the data obtained from the questionnaires revealed that ; Clergy children are perhaps the most deeply affected of all the church’s offspring by the values and structures of the church. Most of them are reared in homes owned by the church and set aside for their and their parents’ use. They are more likely to be involved in the church’s activities that other church raised children. Another issue was that of high expectations. As Lee observed (1999) “ministers’ children are often expected to be better behaved and more spiritually mature than other children in the congregation their age”. Stevenson, in his study Children of the Parsonage (1982) discovered that pastors and their wives were deeply concerned with the effects of parsonage life and the existence of more stringent behavioural standards often applied to parsonage children. Reflecting on the tendency of some minsters’ children to reject the norms of piety and conformity expected of them, Anderson (1998) suggests that if the children of clergy had experienced more family time, less extra expectations and clearer boundaries between church and home, they would be more religiously committed and less rebellious.


5.3 Conclusion

Children are wonderful gifts from God and especially to a pastor’s family, they are invaluable assets. A number of them have been useful in promoting the ministry of the parents as they serve in difference capacities in the church and some of them eventually grow up to become pastor’s themselves, or become pastor’s spouse. However it has been noted in this paper that some have sadly become a source of disgrace to their parent’s ministry. While the good ones have brought glory to their parents, the bad ones have brought shame and backwardness to the ministry of their parents.


5.4 Recommendation

Having examined the different roles that the ministers, the church, the society, and the minister’s children themselves play, it is the suggestions of this study that;

  1. More efforts be put into studying the complex nature of pastors children and the kind of world they live in and are exposed to.
  2. It is also suggested that pastors be more enlightened on practical ways of raising their children based on their peculiarity instead of just accusing them of not doing enough to train their children.
  3. Minister’s children Training ought to be one of those core issues to be handled in the Religious Education curriculum of Seminaries and Bible Schools.
  4. Finally, if positive attitudes will be expected from minister’s children, there is the need to do more work on the field of children ethics. It is doubtful if such field or discipline exists in Ethics.

Negative Attitudes Of Children Of Church Ministers And Its Effects On Preaching The Gospel: Case Studies Of All Churches


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Negative Attitudes Of Children Of Church Ministers And Its Effects On Preaching The Gospel: Case Studies Of All Churches


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