THE INFLUENCE OF PENTECOSTAL CHURCHES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATION. LIVING FAITH CHURCH (WINNERS CHAPEL) AS A CASE STUDY
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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
A global study and research on Pentecostal churches is an on-going assignment because of its impact on the religious, political and socio-economic life of the people. A survey of the available number of Pentecostal churches in Nigeria as shown that they are emerging daily in the nooks and crannies of the country.
The emergence of Pentecostal churches is daily challenging the existing Mainline and Aladura Churches in national development. It has therefore become a fundamental concern for scholars of Church History, History and Sociology in Nigerian Universities to devote much time to study such churches. Essien (1998) opines that “this situation calls for continuous research of their forms, the socio-religious and economic conditions that necessitate their emergence and their relevance to the social life of their adherents and to the society at large”. This has necessitated the need for this study on the influence of Pentecostal churches on the development of education in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, some of the established Pentecostal Churches are Church of God’s Mission, founded by the late Arch-Bishop Benson A.Idahosa in Benin City, Edo state, Household of God’s Church, being led by Rev. Chris Okotie in Oregun, Lagos, the Redeemed Christian Church of God founded by the late Pastor Josiah Akindayomi and presently under the leadership of Pastor Enock Adejare Adeboye with International headquarters at Mowe, Ogun state. The Deeper Life Christian Church founded by Pastor Williams Folorunso Kumuyi and based in Lagos.Rev.Gabriel Oduyemi’s Bethel Ministry at Wonder City, Lekki Peninsular, Lagos, Pastor Patrick Anwuzia’s Zoe Ministries, and Pastor Tunde Bakare’s Latter Rain Assembly in Lagos, Rev.Tunde Joda’s Christ Chapel International, Lagos and Bishop Wale Oke’s Sword of the Spirit Church based in Ibadan. Others are the Victory Life Church International established by Pastor Mike Bamidele at Ilesa, Osun state, New Testament Church based in Ilorin and established by Pastor M.R.Popoola, Mountain of Fire and Miracles, founded by Pastor Daniel Kolawole Olukoya with its headquarters in Lagos, the Synagogue of All Nations, established by Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua in Lagos, Rhema Chapel, Ilorin established by Rev.George Adegboye, the Word Assembly being led by Rev Isaac Omolehin and of course the Living Faith Church (a.k.a Winners Chapel) founded by Bishop David Olaniyi Oyedepo. Many Nigerian scholars have researched on Pentecostal churches in the country. For instance, Deji Ayegboyin, Matthews Ojo, Michael Ogunewu, Richard Burgess, Hannah Ishola, and of course Rotimi Omotoye.
Generally, Pentecostal churches are “Christians seeking deeper experience of God beyond regular church attendance. They rely on the new birth and the power of the Holy spirit” (Ojo, 2004). In other words the churches are seen emphasizing the importance of the Holy spirit in daily worship. This research is focused on the Living Faith Church a.k.a Winner Chapel and its contributions to education development in Nigeria.
Pastor David Oyedepo in Ilorin started Living Faith Church with about 48 members in 1980 and within nine months of its existence, membership rose to about 128. He eventually established the Living Faith Outreach Centre in May, 1981.Pastor Oyedepo then relocated to Kaduna. It was from Kaduna that he went to Lagos in September 1989 before he moved to Ota, Ogun state which is now regarded as Cananland and International headquarters of the church. The church has over three hundred branches in Nigeria alone (Opoola, 2010). The church building at Ota is assumed to be the biggest auditorium in Nigeria seating fifty thousand and four hundred congregation as at September 2000. Living Faith Church has however contributed to education development in Nigeria in several ways (Omotoye, 2006).
Western education was introduced to Nigeria by the Christian missionaries in the 19th century. It was a strategy adopted by the early missionaries to get converts into Christianity. The Living Faith Church went into the establishment of schools early, unlike some other Churches that ventured into education. The Living Faith Church has to its credit a conglomerate of Nursery, Primary, Secondary and Universities. The nursery and primary schools are under the name Kingdom Heritage while the Secondary section is named Faith Academy. These schools are found in all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. The first University of the Church was named Covenant University and was established in Ota in 2002.The second University was named Landmark and was established in Omu-Aran, the native town of Pastor David Oyedepo in 2010. The Universities as also complemented the efforts of Federal and State Governments in providing admission to many applicants who are seeking admission to the Universities in Nigeria. We also believe that that the missionary orientation of the schools would minimize cultism and moral decadence in the Nigerian Universities. Apart from providing jobs for teaming Nigerian populace, scholarships are usually provided by Pastor Oyedepo for indigent students, most especially in the Covenant and Landmark universities. He was once quoted saying that “All school age children, not in school, due to inability of parents, will be fully taken care of by the church”.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The Pentecostal Churches was introduced at a time when Nigerians were experiencing economic depression, poverty, un-employment, corruption and sicknesses. The education sector is in the poorest state. These are socio-economic problems being witnessed in Nigeria because of bad leadership in the country. The Living Faith Church has been able to provide schools that offer quality education services from Nursery to tertiary level nationwide. The cost of education in Nigeria is very high. Odumuyiwa (2006) observed in his study that the tuition fees being paid in the Christian Universities are too exorbitant and beyond the reach of the common man in the society. He opines “A situation in which churches establish private universities, charge exorbitant fees should be replaced with technical colleges that can be maintained within the resources of the church. However, this study is examining the influence of Pentecostal churches on the development of Education.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To examine the influence of Pentecostal churches on the development of Education
2. To examine the educational activities of Pentecostal churches in Nigeria.
3. To identify the factors that can contribute to rapid development in education in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the influence of Pentecostal churches on the development of Education?
2. What are the educational activities of Pentecostal churches in Nigeria?
3. What are the factors that can contribute to rapid development in education in Nigeria?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1. The outcome of this study will educate the general public on the influence of Pentecostal churches on education development in Nigeria.
2. It will be a useful guide for the management and the authorities of Living Faith Church Worldwide and their academic institutions on how to improve on their services in a bid to contribute to educational development in the nation.
3. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on the influence of Pentecostal churches on the development of education in Nigeria will cover all the educational activities and contributions of Living Faith Church A.K.A Winners Chapel.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
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).
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.
E. Ade Odumuyiwa, “Christianity, Governance and Development: A Case Study of Nigeria in the 21st Century” in R.A. Raji (eds) et al Religion, Governance and Development in the 21st century, A publication of the National Association for the study of Religions, Ilorin Decency, 2006 p. 211
Rotimi Omotoye, “Christianity and Educational Development, A Case Study of Christian Missionary Universities in Nigeria in the 21st Century, R.A. Raji (eds) et al in Religion, Governance and Development in the 21st Century. A Publication of the Nigerian Association for the Study of Religions, Ilorin, 2006. p.141
S.O. Abogunrin, “Jesus’ Pronouncement on Wealth in the Context of Health and Wealth Gospel in Nigeria” in S.O. Abogunrin (eds) et al, Biblical Studies and Corruption in Africa, Ibadan: Aloge Nig. Enterprises, p. 239.
E.O. Opoola, “The Living Faith Church and Sustainable Development in Nigeria”. A Ph.D 1st Seminar Paper Presented at the Department of Religions, University of Ilorin,Ilorin,on 1th August, 2010 p.5
A. Essien, “Dynamics of New Religious Movements in Nigeria” in the Journal of Religious Studies, vol. no1 1998, Department of Religious Studies University of Uyo pp. 93-94.
Matthews A. Ojo, Inaugural Lecture Series 227 titled “Of Saints and Sinners: Pentecostalism and the Paradox of Social Transformation in Modern Nigeria, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife p.4.