1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
A global study and analysis on Pentecostal churches is an on-going assignment as a result of its impact on the religious, political and socio-economic life of the people. A survey on the out range of Pentecostal churches in Nigeria as shown that they are increasing daily in the nooks and crannies of the country. The emergence of Pentecostal churches is daily challenging the prevailing of Mainline and Aladura Churches in national development. It has therefore become a basic concern for scholars of Church History, History and Sociology in Nigerian Universities to devote much time to study such churches. Essien 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". The term Pentecostalism is linked to the doctrine of subsequent and initial evidence, which, originated in the United States of America at the turn of the 20th century. It also refers to the experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Pentecostalism is seen as one of the fastest growing movements within Christianity in Nigeria and the world at large. In order to know the impact of Protestantism in Nigeria, we have a tendency to examine in short the non-secular arena in Nigeria before the explosion of the modern Pentecostal spirituality. We've got to reason and establish the character of Protestantism, its influence and impact on Christianity within the country. The world Protestantism is interlinking with numerous styles of “independent” churches in Nigeria. It's thus tough to spot Pentecostal churches from numerous African Initiated Churches (AIC) in Nigeria. For the sake of instructive the advanced scenario, we have to do a typological study of Pentecostal development in Federal Republic of Nigeria. This throws more light on the different forms of Christianity in the country. Our concentration on the worldwide Pentecostalism is highlighted by a nutshell presentation of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. At this juncture, we tend to try a synthesis of the impact and influence of Pentecostalism in Nigeria, as a contribution towards a revived Christianity today. The fact that Pentecostal movement has touched every side of the Nigerian society and church life is not an overstatement. The “Spirit” movement within the Nigerian church and society in general is unprecedented. It is almost impossible for anyone to say that there is a Nigerian who has not heard the word of God. This is so, because of the Pentecostal spirit in the country. The mainline denominations like the Methodist, Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic Church, etc. are still in existence, but the fact remains that many of these churches have been transformed to the Pentecostal style of worship. This is how strong the Pentecostal impact is in Nigeria. It is this kind of spirit that has led to the spreading of churches all over the country and beyond, hence church growth—an off shoot of Pentecostalism.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The history of the Christian Church has been replete with some reform movements and renewals which have continued to impact on the Church at one time or the other. In this contemporary age, Pentecostalism has come in as a reform movement impacting on the established Churches and the country which has brought about this research. Recognizably, Pentecostalism has penetrated the mainline churches. Obviously, Pentecostals are proliferating almost on a daily basis and are winning many converts. The growth of Pentecostal churches, which seems uncontrollable, is substantiated in the heavy presence of its churches in every nook and cranny of the Nigerian society. Yenegoa is not left out in this. In fact, Pentecostal activities in Yenegoa appear very inspiring. People patronize Pentecostal churches in great numbers in Yenegoa with diverse needs and everybody is involved. One cannot help but wonders what the attraction to these churches could be. While the seeming non-lively moods of service in the mainline churches may, in part, account for the success of growth of these churches, the study is concerned with the nature of this incessant and untiring growth and expansion. It is the speedy growth and expansion pattern of Pentecostal churches in Yenegoa and elsewhere that constitutes that seem constitutes a major problem. This problem will be thoroughly studied and investigated in order to highlight the impact of Pentecostal churches in Yenegoa. Thus, it is on this account that the researcher desires to study the impact of Pentecostal churches in Yenegoa.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the impact of Pentecostal churches. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the nature of Pentecostal churches in Nigeria.
2. To examine the influence of Pentecostal churches on the development of Nigeria.
3. To examine the impact of Pentecostal churches on the Pentecostal consciousness of the Nigerian society.
4. To examine the role of Pentecostal churches in National development in Nigeria.
5. To examine the relationship between Pentecostal churches and the moral of people in the society.
6. To suggest ways in which church institutions can help in developing Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. How is the nature of Pentecostal churches in Nigeria?
2. To what extent has Pentecostal churches influenced the development of Nigeria?
3. What are the impacts of Pentecostal churches on the Pentecostal consciousness of the Nigerian society?
4. What are the roles of Pentecostal churches towards National development in Nigeria?
5. What is the relationship between Pentecostal churches and the moral of people in the society?
6. What are the ways in which church institutions can help in developing Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H01: There is no impact of Pentecostal churches on the Pentecostal consciousness of the Nigerian society.
H02: There is no significant relationship between Pentecostal churches and the moral of people in the society.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The research work is both imperative and significant in the following ways:
(i) A work on the growth of Pentecostal churches has not been properly documented in Yenegoa. Therefore it will serve as a reference point for the Pentecostal churches in Yenegoa and the society.
(ii) The impact these Pentecostal churches have on the lives of Yenegoa people in particular and other peoples in Bayelsa State in general are enormous and cannot be wished away. The study is significant because of the claims that Pentecostals share the same experience of the disciples on the day of Pentecost.
(iii) An appropriate understanding and appreciation of Pentecostalism as a branch of Christianity in Yenegoa is of utmost importance and this understanding and appreciation provide a window into the activities of these Pentecostal churches.
(iv) 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.
1.7SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on impact of Pentecostal churches in Yenegoa L.G.A, Bayelsa State.
1.8 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.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Pentecostalism: The term Pentecostalism when used to describe a Church or a group of Churches according to Livingstone, (1977) refers to: “A religious movement whose members or adherents share a common belief in the possibility of receiving the same experience and gifts as did the first Christians on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 1 – 4). They emphasise the corporate element in worship often marked by great spontaneity and lay special stress on speaking in tongues, prophesy, healing and exorcism.”
Church: The Church has had a dynamic image. In Latin, the early Fathers of the Church referred to it as the Ecclesia ‘the called out ones’. From this perspective it is understood why the Church is spoken of as ‘the elect’, ‘the saints ‘and that is why Jesus asked Peter to ‘build my Church’ (Mt 16:18). In the early Church, they were referred to as ‘the people of God’ or ‘the Church of God’. St Paul speaks of the Church as the fullness of Christ and of fellowship (Ephesians 3:19). He also speaks of the Church as a mystery and sacrament of salvation (Eph 3:4). The Church therefore is understood here as the whole body of Christian believers or any division of this body in professing the same creed and acknowledging the same ecclesiastical authority. For the purpose of this study, the Church whose contribution to national development is examined is the Redeemed Christian Church of God.