1.1 Background of the Study
Leadership plays a significant role in the growth and development of the church, the life of its followers, and the community as a whole. If the church fails to develop leaders, growth within the church becomes hindered, and its mission becomes aborted.
Leadership is indeed a dynamic reciprocal process of personal influence by which a manager or a leader shapes the attitudes and activities of others towards the achievement or attainment of organizational objectives1. Even before the modern concepts of leadership came into being, Apostle Paul lists of qualifications for church leaders to ensure sustainable growth and survival2. These have remained the model for ages. For any church leader to steer the ship of the church successfully, these qualities must be imbibed. But contemporary experience in Nigeria has shown a marked departure from this Pauline list of qualifications for church leaders which has really affected growth and survival of churches. The level of understanding expected from both the leaders and the followers is missing in most cases. This often results in crises within “the body of Christ”.
There are some common features in various definitions of leadership. It will be presumptuous for anyone to attempt a definition that will satisfy the populace especially regarding church leadership. Leadership is nothing if not linked to collective purpose; and the effectiveness of leaders must be judged not by press clippings but by actual social change, measured by intent and by satisfaction of human needs and expectations which on the long term will be visible on the church growth and development.
Oluwasegun defines leadership as the ability to gain consensus and commitment to common objectives beyond organizational requirements which are attained with experience or contribution and satisfaction on the part of the working group3. Leadership could also be defined as the relationship in which one person or the leader influences others to work together willingly on related tasks to attain that which the leader desires. It is a means of direction. Leadership is the ability of management to induce the subordinates to work towards a group’s goals with confidence and keenness. It implies that the leader accepts responsibility for the achievement of the group objectives and it is, therefore, essential for the trust and cooperation from both sides to be evidence all the time4. Leadership is an art of getting things done. It can be learnt, improved,
developed and perfected. It is the key process of influence and the process always includes a number of key components such as leader and followers, they interact in situations and means of influence which emerge from the leader and from the followers, based on their value system and goals which the leader and the followers seek to achieve5.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
According to Dairo, many Churches in Nigeria are characterized with false teaching, preconceived ideas and human-formed regulations which have too often undermined the Holy Spirit’s specification and has militated greatly against church growth and development6. Many leaders fails to undergo training, in essence, they are not teachable and one of the attributes of a leader is ability to learn, there is a general English quotes that states “if you are too big to serve, you are too small to lead.” Leadership in the church lack serious training, infact many buy their way in becoming a leader, and many churches finds it easy to make a rich man a leader in the church so that they can always meet the needs of the church, this makes them sometimes unteachable, uncontrollable and not spiritual. According to Apostle Paul, church leaders must be kind of man that can carry the followers along, he must be kind, spiritual, he must himself be a follower and he must be teachable. All church leaders may not possess these qualities in the same measure but a leader must have these quality attributes to a degree that is noticeable in his life to ensure sustainable growth. If a man is known to be harsh instead of being gentle, intemperate instead of being temperate, disgraceful instead of being respectable, he is not qualified of the work of a church leader. The work of church leadership is a noble task. Such an office needs the right kind of people to serve. Accumulation of material wealth, by capitalizing on the “gross ignorance” of the people about the teaching of the Bible on wealth by church leaders as also limited growth and development of many churches because of the increased awareness of these dubious strategies. However, the researcher will be examining the role of church leaders in enhancing the growth and development of the church