The impact of bi-vocational ministry on church health: a comparative study of the Church of the Nazarene, Kenya Central District and the Anglican Church of Kenya, Nairobi Diocese
Onyango, Charles Oduor
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Church health is widely confused with church growth. Whereas church growth is the numerical increase of attendance in churches with elements of spiritual growth, church health is the wholeness, that relates to interpersonal relationships, and not only focusing on growth but on the greater mission of God. The aim of this research was to examine the impact of bi-vocational ministry on church health involving a comparative study of the Church of the Nazarene (CotN), Kenya Central District (KCD), and that of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), Nairobi Diocese. The study objectives were: first, to contrast and compare the bi-vocational and full-time pastor’s work schedule’s impact on church health; second, to determine how the bi-vocational pastor’s church economy impacts church health; third, to assess how the bi-vocational pastor’s leadership expectations impact church health; and finally, to establish interventions that can help the bi-vocational pastors to deal with church health challenges and at the same time maximize on the positive impacts. The research comprised both primary and secondary data collection techniques through field surveys that incorporated both quantitative and qualitative study methods. The research purposefully sampled churches within the CotN where bi-vocational pastors minister and compared them with parishes in the ACK that have full-time priests. Lead pastors from both the churches were interviewed one-on-one, by the use of an interview guide, on the impact of the nature of their ministries on church health of their local churches. Also questionnaires were distributed to the other pastors (associates and attached). The researcher assumed a uniform distribution of respondents within the target population which was 500 with a sample size of 217 and therefore, used a non-probability sampling frame. The Cronbach alpha (α) reliability test and validity of the study instruments were authenticated through a pilot test that was scrutinized by the research supervisors. Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS), version 26 was employed in the exercise of analyzing and presenting the final quantitative data. This involved the use of statistical presentations such as tables, pie charts, graphs, frequencies and percentage calculations and inferential statistic. The qualitative was thematically analyzed and presented in narratives. The study made recommendations on strategies that can be used to improve church health in the local churches. The study established in relation to the pastors’ working time that their time-frames fully engaged in the ministry work enhances ministry service. The study established that pastors’ effectiveness depends on the church’s economic stability. The assessment carried out revealed that the expectations of pastors are the same for both full-time and bi-vocational ministries. The study concluded that pastors whether in full-time or bi-vocational ministry need to develop viable strategies for improving church health. Therefore, the study recommends the following: pastors need to intrinsically search their hearts on whether God, the owner of the church has called them to His ministry and hence meet the needs of His flock; pastors and church leaders need to to develop creative ways of supporting both the pastor as well as the members without regular income; bi-vocational pastors should not consider themselves lesser in ministry than full-time, both are called by God; church leadership should look for ministry partners to work with; and finally, the researcher recommends that in future a similar study be carried out in the indigenous churches, like the AIPCA – Tri-Bar Cross, the Legio Maria or the Africa Divine Church to find out how their churches realize church health.
Africa Nazarene University
Church of the Nazarene, Kenya Central District
The Anglican Church of Kenya, Nairobi Diocese
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