1.1 Background to the Study
Church is the translation of the Greek term ekklesia, and is used in the New Testament to identify the community of believers in Jesus Christ. It literally means assembly, congregation, or meeting. A similar term was used in the Old Testament referring to experiences such as “the day of the assembly,” “the Lord’s congregation,” or “meeting before the Lord.” The early Christian church had no buildings, at least not in the sense of what we would consider church buildings today. First century Christians were often persecuted and, as a result, often met in secret usually in homes.
As the influence of Christianity spread, eventually buildings dedicated to worship were established and became what we know today as churches. Worship is God-centered and Christ-centered. It is not about entertaining Christians with flashy displays or presentations, but about expressing our love by worshiping our Creator. Edification is also a role of the church. It involves edifying believers, but also nurturing, building up or helping believers to mature in Christ. To this end, churches are tasked with a variety of ministries such as Bible study, continuing education in related areas, praying for one another, acts of genuine hospitality and more. Evangelism is also a key role of the church. This means reaching out to a lost world with the Good News about Jesus. Beyond evangelism in the sense of reaching out with the gospel, the church also express compassion and mercy tangibly by helping others. In following Christ’s example to love others, the church, too, must seek to make a real difference in the world while not neglecting to share the message of Christ.
In Nigeria, bribery and corruption are hydra-headed twins that have eaten deep into the fabrics of the society. Starting from the colonial era of Nigeria, bribery and corruption have made steady and seemingly unstoppable progress up to the present. Whether during the colonial era, or when Nigeria gained her independence in 1960 or for the long years of military rule, bribery and corruption have become a recurring decimal (Achunike, 2006). Chuta (2004) traced the problem of corruption from the pre-colonial to the colonial and self-government era. He further traced corruption to the First Republic (1960-1966) down to the different stages of military era, even to the second and third republics. In all these cases, Chuta stood on the assertion that majority of Nigerian’s have been corrupt. Ugwu (2002) traced corruption to colonial period when he posited that:
It has been argued that the major roots of corruption were sown during the colonial period when a lot of structures were created for the purpose of administration. The pro-colonial society knew little or nothing about corruption but soon after Nigeria’s independence in 1960 and shortly afterwards in 1963 after Nigeria had become a republic, there grew in galloping proportions corruption in every sphere of human life.