The ministry strategy of the church of pentecost in ACCRA with specific focus on children : a exploratory study

Mans, Philippus Rudolph (2015-03)

Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Children represent more than half of the total African population and therefore form a significant and strategic part of the church in Africa. Visits to churches and children’s ministries in Africa raised questions on the being of the church and children’s inclusion into church life. My personal exposures to the Church of Pentecost (COP) lead to this reflection on the children’s ministry of the Church. I was in particular interested to learn what ministry strategies and related theological underpinnings support their children’s ministry. It appears from literature that children does not enjoy the same attention from systematic theologians when central theological themes such as the human condition, nature of faith, language about God, the church and the nature of religion, is discussed. The apparent absence of clearly defined theological positions on children by the COP and limited African theological discussions and academic works on children matters, contributed further to conclude the following problem statement: The church needs children’s ministry strategies that includes children as integral part of church life. In support of such strategies, the Church needs theological underpinnings for a Christian theological approach to children and the role and responsibilities of families and faith communities. My choice for an African church relates to my exposures to and relationships with churches in Africa. The COP is viewed as a significant church in Ghana, provided an ideal opportunity to explore an African church within the framework of the broader Christian landscape in Ghana. The research question is: What was the ministry strategy focusing on children of the Church of Pentecost between 1970 and 2010? Chapter 1 deals with the motivation, objectives, research question and strategies of enquiry. Chapter 2 describes the genesis history of the COP as to explore possible strategic children’s ministry elements. Chapter 3 focuses on theological underpinnings for a church as a particular ministry environment where children could be integrated into church life. The study worked with a key meta theoretical assumption that God is dynamically working in the church and society. Theological themes and characteristics raised in the study of the Old Testament people of God suggested a possibility that the New Testament church might be a continuation of the Old Testament people of God’s way of living. This theological exploration of the church contributed to inform the proposed ministry practices in chapter 6. Chapter 4 dealt with the design and operationalisation of the empirical research strategies to explore church members’ perceptions of church, based on their childhood experiences. The empirical data were analysed and interpreted in chapter 5 to serve the study in the conclusions in the last chapter. Chapter 6 concluded with the finding that the COP did have a number of non-intentional elements interpreted as possible ministry strategies for the children’s ministry as well as an intentional strategy. The findings concluded that the COP seriously needs theological underpinnings for an intergenerational approach to children’s ministry. The last part proposes children’s ministry processes that could assist the COP to become an intergenerational church.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Kinders verteenwoordig meer as die helfte van die bevolking in Afrika en is daarom ‘n beduidende en strategiese deel van die kerk. Blootstelling aan die kerk en kinderbedienings in Afrika het vrae oor die verstaan van kerkwees en kinders se insluiting in die bediening van die kerk na vore gebring. Antwoorde is in die strategiese benadering tot kerkbediening asook die kerk se teologiese begronding van kerkwees gesoek. Die Church of Pentecost (COP) se strategiese posisie in Ghana het bygedra om om hierdie studie op die bedieningstrategiee van die COP te rig. Vanuit ‘n teologiese perspektief lyk dit asof kinders min of geen rol speel in die manier hoe sistematiese teoloe oor sentrale teologiese temas soos die toestand van die mens, die wese van geloof, taal oor God, die kerk en die wese van religie, dink nie. Daar is ook geen noemenswaardige werke wat handel oor teologiese gesprekke en ondersoeke rondom kind-georienteerde onderwerpe vanuit Afrika nie. Die bogenoemde persepsies het bygedra om die volgende probleemstelling te ontwikkel: Die kerk het ‘n behoefte aan kinderbedieningstrategiee wat kinders in gemeentewees kan insluit. Hierdie bedieningstrategieë benodig ‘n teologiese onderbou om ‘n Christelik teologiese benadering tot kinders asook die rol en verantwoordelikhede van families en gemeenskappe daar te kan stel. My keuse vir ‘n fokus op ‘n Afrika kerk kom uit my verbintenis as ‘n Afrikaan aan Afrika sowel as die verhoudings en insig wat opgedoen is met die Afrika kerk. Die COP in Ghana word beskou word as een van die toonaangewende kerke in Ghana. Dit het my ‘n ideale geleentheid gebied om ‘n gevallestudie binne die groter Christelike landskap in Ghana aan te pak. Die navorsingsvraag van die studie is: Wat was die kinderbedieningstrategie van die “Church of Pentecost” tussen die tydperk 1970 en 2010? Hoofstuk 1 spel die motiverings, doelwitte en navorsingstrategiee uit. Die vraag of daar strategiese elemente in die geskiedenis van die COP se bediening van kinders ontdek kan word, word in hoofstuk 2 bespreek. Die wordingsgeskiedenis van die COP is binne die groter Christelike landskap in Ghana beskryf. Die teologiese onderbou vir die verstaan van die kerk as ‘n bepaalde ruimte wat kinders kan insluit word in hoofstuk 3 beredeneer vanuit die Ou Testament en die ‘nuwe Testament. Die studie het hier sterk gesteun op temas en karaktertrekke van die geloofsgemeenskappe in Bybelse tye wat kan help om te verstaan watter aspekte gesien kan word as ‘n voortsetting van die gemeenskapslewe van die volk van God in die Ou Testament. Die studie verreken hier ‘n sleutel metateorietiese vertrekpunt naamlik dat God dinamies werksaam is in die kerk en gemeenskappe. Hoofstuk 3 kon teologiese vertrekpunte ontwikkel wat later in hoofstuk 6 ‘n voorgestelde bedieningspraktyk geinformeer het. Hoofstuk 4 sit die empiriese navorsingstrategie uiteen en operasionaliseer dit om die vraag oor lidmate se persepsies van kindwees in die COP te beantwoord. In hoofstuk 5 word die analise en interpretasie van die empiriese data bespreek. Die bevindinge word in hoofstuk 6 bespreek. Dit blyk dat die COP met sowel niebeplande kinderbedieningstrategiee as ‘n intensiele kinderbedieningstrategie gewerk het. Die COP kort egter duidelike teologiese onderbou vir hul kinderbediening asook bedieningspraktyke wat kinders intergenerasioneel kan insluit in kerkwees. Hieruit maak die studie aanbevelings vir ‘n proses benadering tot kinderbediening wat daartoe kan bydra dat die COP wel geleenthede kan skep vir ‘n meer intergenerasionele benadering tot kerkwees.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96960
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