The church which Jesus Christ established before his death grew rapidly after his resurrection and ascension into heaven.in the great commission, Jesus charged the apostles and all christens to evangelize the whole world. Read Mathew 28; 16-20 and Mark’s gospel, and meditate on the mandate. The Great Commission shows that the mission of the church is to evangelize or spread Christianity to all parts of the world.
In the beginning, there was only one church called the Catholic Church. The word “Catholic” means “Universal.” Later, as a result of a great movement called the Reformation, the church was divided into two, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Protestant Churches. The Catholic and Protestant churches are known as the Orthodox or mainline churches. The Orthodox churches sent missionaries who established churches in all parts of the world including Nigeria in Africa.
Apart from the indigenous churches, there are the Pentecostal churches in Nigeria. They do not wear white garments. They emphasized being born-again. To become a member, one has to respond to an altar call. Here, one is made to confess his or her sins and accept Jesus Christ as his or her lord and savior. One promises to be faithful to Jesus to the very end of his or her life. One learns how to speak in tongues.
The Orthodox and Pentecostal churches have become so popular that they are now spread all over Nigeria and West Africa. Their branches are scattered all over West Africa and, to some extent, Europe and America. The number of indigenous/orthodox and Pentecostal churches is growing every day and many more people are joining them. Many Nigerians who were not Christians before, have now become Christians through their activities. Some Nigerians, who formerly belonged to the Orthodox churches, have left their denominations and joined the Pentecostals. And some Nigerians, who were formerly Muslims, have rejected Islam and joined the Pentecostals. Various factors are responsible for the rapid growth of the indigenous and Pentecostal churches: These include the organization of crusaders/revivals, night vigils, prayer meetings, house fellowship, healing miracles, and adopting an African form of worship. The list of Orthodox and Pentecostal churches has factors responsible for the growth of the indigenous and Pentecostal churches.
Crusaders and Revivals
One of the marks of the growth of the Pentecostal churches is the organization of crusaders/revivals. Church members travel to many towns and villages in the nation to spread the gospel messages. In the mornings and afternoons, the church members go around towns and villages to invite all the people to attend the Crusader. When the time comes, the people sing songs of praise and the church members preach the gospel message. Healing miracles occur during crusaders and revivals. Those who are healed or delivered from evil forces come forward to give their testimonies. Some of those present become Christians when they witness such miracles. Altar calls are made during the Crusaders and revivals so that people can become born-again. This is done by asking those who have not given their lives to Jesus to come forward to the raised platform or dais. Those who respond are asked to confess their sins; ask for forgiveness and accept Jesus as their personal Lord and savior. They become born-again and promise to be faithful to Jesus for the rest of their lives.
The Pentecostal churches organize night services for their members from time to time. The vigil is for the members to come together and pray, to find solutions to their problems. They sing songs of praise and praise all night. Some receive healing miracles and deliverance from witchcraft and other demonic forces.
At prayer meetings, members come together to pray: for the forgiveness of sins, spiritual strength to overcome the temptation to sin, spiritual power from God to do His will on earth as it is done in heaven, unity, peace, progress, and prosperity for the nation, deliverance from evil forces and prosperity for all the members.
At house fellowships, members focus on the scriptures. They read portions of the Bible. The leader then leads them to explain the word of God and how it can help members to be better Christian citizens.
Healing miracles occur during crusaders and revivals, vigils, and church services. The healing miracles are performed in the name of Jesus. When non-Christians hear about these miracles, they convert to Christianity, with the hope of receiving their miracles. Many Muslims and traditionalists have become Christians because of the healing power in the name of Jesus they are convinced that Jesus is the answer to their spiritual and material problems and not their former religions. Thus, the healing miracles have helped the Pentecostal churches convert many more people, including Muslims and traditionalists (both semi-literates and the uneducated) living in the towns and villages to Christianity than ever before.
Adopting African form of worship
The Pentecostal churches have changed the form of worship which the Orthodox churches introduced in Nigeria. The Orthodox churches worship God by playing the organ and singing Western hymns. The service is introduced in English and sometimes translated into the vernacular. The tunes of the hymns are foreign. This way of worship did not appeal to the Pentecostals. Therefore, they have adopted the African form of worship which is more lively, joyous, and exciting. It consists of drumming, handclapping, singing, and dancing. They comprise their songs of praise; and gospel songs, which they sing at worship.
Religion Guidance and Counselling
God wants you to help with the adaptation of Christianity in Nigeria. Some of the Orthodox churches are adapting Christianity to suit the African way of life and to meet African needs, such as the Pentecostal churches have done. African Christians now worship in the African language, instead of English, French, Spanish, or any other foreign language. They drum, handclap, and dance to songs of praise and gospel songs composed in the vernacular. Some pray for their sick members. God wants all of you to help the church with this process of smooth transformation and growth so that the unity of the church in Nigeria and the rest of the world can be upheld.
Religion and moral lessons
- The Pentecostal churches succeeded in converting many Nigerians to Christianity because they adapted Christianity to suit the African way of life. When you grow up you must learn to adapt your knowledge to suit the social, religious, economic, and political needs of your people.
- Pentecostal churches believe in the efficacy of prayer and the intervention of the Holy Spirit to solve the problems of their members. You must learn to use the potency of prayer as one of the means of solving your problems, the problems of others, and the nation.
- Both the Orthodox churches, the Pentecostal churches, and the new religious movements are working steadfastly to satisfy the religious and moral needs of Christians. As you grow up, you must learn to work closely with the various Christian denominations to explore avenues of cooperation with one another to satisfy the religious and moral needs of all Christians.
This article has discussed that in the great commission, Jesus commanded the apostles and all Christians to evangelize the whole world as the apostle carried the gospel message to Judea and the Roman Empire, and established churches in Europe; European mission churches carried the gospel message to the five continents and European mission churches brought the gospel message to Nigeria. The Reformation divided the universal church into Roman Catholic and protestant churches. Some Nigerians formed new religious movements: the indigenous churches e. g. churches of the Lord (Aladura) and the Pentecostal churches, e. g. the Redeemed Christian Church of God, and the Deeper Life Church to meet the needs of Africans. The factors responsible for the rapid growth of the Pentecostal churches include crusaders/revivals, vigils, prayer meetings, house fellowship, healing miracles, and African form of worship. God wants all of us to work closely with the various Christian denominations to explore avenues of cooperation with one another to satisfy the religious and moral needs of all Christians.