An assessment of deliverance ministry and its relevance to Evangelism in THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH Sapele Area
This study was on an assessment of deliverance ministry and its relevance to evangelism in the Apostolic church in Sapele area. The total population for the study is 200 members of selected Apostolic churches in Sapele. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made pastors, elders, deacons and members were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies.
1.1Background of the study
The phenomenon of deliverance has become very common and central to the religious activities of most churches in Nigeria. Deliverance from a charismatic point of view as ‘the deployment of divine power and authority in the name or blood of Jesus perceived in pneumatological terms as the intervention of the Holy Spirit to provide release for demon-possessed, demon-oppressed, broken, disturbed and troubled persons in order that victims may be restored to proper functioning order, that is, to health and wholeness and being thus freed from demonic influence and curses, they may enjoy God’s fullness of life understood to be available in Christ. ‘From this Charismatic Pentecostal perspective, healing and deliverance, is considered to be an avenue as well as the practice which employs certain Christian religious activities with the purpose of responding to the human existential needs. This Christianity promises Christian alternatives to the search for security that drives people into the courts of other religious functionaries’. For these scholars, the apostolic churches are experiencing this rapid growth because most of them are able to fashion out programmes that respond to the contextual needs of both members and non-members.
One common practice in apostolic churches, which is fast spreading across Nigeria, is healing and deliverance. The extensive practice of healing and deliverance by Apostolic churches is asserted to be one of the major contributing factors to church growth among these kinds of churches. Most of these Apostolic Churches have been noted for exploring healing and deliverance as an evangelistic tool for the establishment and growth of their church denominations. These activities include revival meetings, all-night prayer meetings, corporate prayer, Bible study, evangelism and mission, healing the sick, and casting out of demons. Most congregations of the Apostolic churches have a specific day set aside for the practice of healing and deliverance. A visit to most congregations and programmes of the apostolic Church reveals the extent to which the practice has become part and parcel of the church’s life. National, presbytery, zonal, district and local conventions hardly end without ‘healing and deliverance’ services. Evangelistic crusades, week- long revivals, fasting and prayer and end-of-year presbytery prayer festivals among others are characterized by ‘healing and deliverance’. At the local levels, those congregations which consistently combine the practice with other ministry gifts seem to be growing faster, at least, numerically. Examples of such congregations include the Sapele.
Statement of the problem
Deliverance has become very popular in Apostolic churches in recent times, with large numbers of people attending these activities. Upon observation, one gets the impression that those churches that practice healing and deliverance seems to be growing faster than those that do not practice the phenomenon, thereby suggesting that there might be a link between the practice of healing and deliverance and evangelism. Congregations within the Apostolic church are not exceptions because this researcher has observed that those congregations within the Apostolic church which combine the practice with other ministry gifts or whose minsters encourage and promote the practice, seems to be growing faster, at least numerically. However, there seems to be the paucity or lack of evidence-based research carried out in Nigeria to draw the link between this practice and church evangelism. It is against this background that this study seeks to explore the deliverance ministry and its relevance to evangelism in the Apostolic church in Sapele Area.
Objective of the study
The objectives of the study are;
- To ascertain the relationship between deliverance ministry and church evangelism in Apostolic church
- To examine the belief and practice of deliverance in apostolic church
- To determine the most effective forms of evangelism as a result of deliverance ministry
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: there is no relationship between deliverance ministry and church evangelism in Apostolic church
H1: there is relationship between deliverance ministry and church evangelism in Apostolic church
H02: there is no the belief and practice of deliverance in apostolic church.
H2: there is the belief and practice of deliverance in apostolic church.
Significance of the study
The study will be very significant to students and other churches. The study will give a clear insight on the an assessment of deliverance ministry and its relevance to Evangelism in the Apostolic church in Sapele Area. The study will also serve as a reference to other researcher that will embark on the related topic
Scope and limitation of the study
The scope of the study covers an assessment of deliverance ministry and its relevance to Evangelism in THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH in Sapele Area. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
- a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
- b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
FINANCE: This is one of the factors that contributed to the sample size used because of inadequate cash to support the sample size
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Deliverance: In Christianity, deliverance ministry refers to groups that perform practices and rituals to cleanse people of demons and evil spirits. This is done in order to address problems manifesting in their life as a result of demonic presences, which have authority to oppress the person.
Evangelism: In Christianity, evangelism is the commitment to or act of publicly preaching the gospel with the intention to share the message and teachings of Jesus Christ