• Background to the Study

Evangelistic crusades have long been a significant aspect of Christian ministry, particularly within the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. In Nigeria, these large-scale religious gatherings have played a crucial role in church growth. According to Gaiya (2002), the history of evangelistic crusades in Nigeria dates back to the early 20th century, with notable figures such as Apostle Joseph Babalola of the Christ Apostolic Church leading the charge. These crusades often feature dynamic preaching, healing services, and vibrant worship, which attract large crowds and result in significant conversions and church membership growth.

The effectiveness of evangelistic crusades in fostering church growth can be attributed to several factors. One key element is the charismatic leadership of the evangelists. As Ukah (2008) notes, the personal appeal and persuasive communication skills of evangelists like Reinhard Bonnke and Benson Idahosa have been instrumental in drawing large audiences. These leaders often employ a combination of emotional appeal, theological depth, and miraculous demonstrations, which resonate deeply with the Nigerian populace. The result is not only an increase in church attendance but also a deepening of faith among existing members.

Another factor contributing to the success of evangelistic crusades is the socio-economic context of Nigeria. Many Nigerians face significant challenges, including poverty, unemployment, and health issues. Crusades often address these concerns directly, offering not just spiritual solutions but also practical assistance. For instance, Adeboye (2010) highlights how the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) incorporates social services such as free medical care and vocational training into their crusade programs. This holistic approach not only meets immediate needs but also fosters long-term loyalty and growth within the church community.

The role of media in amplifying the impact of evangelistic crusades cannot be overlooked. With the advent of television, radio, and more recently, social media, the reach of these events has expanded exponentially. According to Hackett (1998), televised crusades and live-streamed events have allowed churches to reach a broader audience, including those who may not physically attend the events. This media presence not only enhances visibility but also legitimizes the church’s message, leading to increased conversions and membership.

However, the impact of evangelistic crusades on church growth is not without its criticisms. Some scholars argue that the focus on numerical growth can sometimes overshadow the need for genuine discipleship and spiritual maturity. As Kalu (2008) points out, the emphasis on miracles and prosperity can lead to a superficial faith that is more concerned with material benefits than spiritual depth. This critique suggests that while crusades are effective in attracting new members, they must be complemented by robust discipleship programs to ensure sustainable growth.

Evangelistic crusades have had a profound impact on church growth in Nigeria. The combination of charismatic leadership, socio-economic relevance, and media amplification has made these events highly effective in attracting and retaining church members. However, for long-term growth and spiritual maturity, it is essential that these crusades are balanced with comprehensive discipleship efforts. Future research could explore the long-term effects of crusades on individual faith journeys and the overall health of the church community.

  • Statement of the Problem

The phenomenon of evangelistic crusades has been a significant aspect of Christian religious practice, particularly within the Nigerian context. These large-scale religious gatherings, often characterized by fervent preaching, music, and communal worship, aim to convert non-believers and reinvigorate the faith of existing church members. Despite their popularity and the substantial resources invested in organizing these events, there is a growing concern about their actual impact on church growth. Specifically, questions arise regarding whether these crusades lead to sustained increases in church membership and spiritual development or if their effects are merely transient.

One of the primary issues is the measurement of church growth following evangelistic crusades. While anecdotal evidence and immediate post-crusade reports often highlight a surge in church attendance and membership, there is a lack of comprehensive, long-term studies that track these metrics over extended periods. This gap in research makes it difficult to ascertain whether the initial enthusiasm translates into lasting commitment and integration into the church community. Without robust data, church leaders and organizers are left to rely on short-term indicators, which may not provide an accurate picture of the crusades’ effectiveness.

Furthermore, the socio-cultural dynamics of Nigeria present unique challenges and opportunities for evangelistic crusades. Nigeria’s diverse religious landscape, marked by a significant Muslim population and various indigenous beliefs, means that the impact of these crusades can vary widely across different regions and communities. Additionally, the socio-economic conditions, including poverty and unemployment, may influence individuals’ participation in and response to these events. Understanding how these factors interact with the goals of evangelistic crusades is crucial for assessing their true impact on church growth.

Another critical aspect to consider is the quality of follow-up and discipleship programs post-crusade. Effective follow-up is essential to ensure that new converts are integrated into the church community and receive the necessary support for their spiritual growth. However, many churches struggle with limited resources and manpower, which can hinder their ability to provide consistent and meaningful follow-up. This raises questions about the sustainability of the growth achieved through evangelistic crusades and whether churches are equipped to nurture the spiritual development of new members.

Moreover, the focus on large-scale evangelistic events may overshadow other vital aspects of church growth, such as community engagement, social justice initiatives, and small group ministries. While crusades can draw large crowds and generate excitement, they may not address the deeper, more systemic issues that contribute to long-term church growth and health. Balancing the immediate impact of evangelistic crusades with ongoing, holistic ministry efforts is a challenge that many churches face.

Furthermore, while evangelistic crusades have the potential to significantly impact church growth in Nigeria, there are several critical issues that need to be addressed to fully understand and maximize their effectiveness. These include the need for long-term impact studies, consideration of socio-cultural dynamics, effective follow-up and discipleship programs, and a balanced approach to church growth that includes both large-scale events and ongoing community engagement. Addressing these challenges will require a concerted effort from church leaders, researchers, and the broader Christian community.

  • Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of the study is to examine the impact of Evangelistic Crusade on Church Growth. The specific objectives are:

  1. To analyze the attendance trends before, during, and after an Evangelistic Crusade.
  2. To survey church members and attendees to gather feedback on their experiences during the Evangelistic Crusade.
  3. To compare the financial contributions to the church before and after the Evangelistic Crusade to measure its impact on financial growth.
  4. To find out perspectives of church leaders and volunteers on the effectiveness of the Evangelistic Crusade in promoting church growth.
  • Research Questions

The research questions are buttressed below:

  1. How do attendance trends change before, during, and after an Evangelistic Crusade?
  2. What feedback do church members and attendees provide about their experiences during the Evangelistic Crusade?
  3. How do financial contributions to the church compare before and after the Evangelistic Crusade, and what is the impact on financial growth?
  4. What perspectives do church leaders and volunteers have on the effectiveness of the Evangelistic Crusade in promoting church growth?
  • Research Hypothesis

The hypothetical statement of the study is buttressed below:

Ho: Evangelistic Crusade has no significant impact on Church Growth

H1: Evangelistic Crusade has significant impact on Church Growth

  • Significance of the Study

The significance of studying the impact of Evangelistic Crusade on Church Growth lies in understanding the immediate and long-term effects of such events on the growth and engagement of church members. By analyzing attendance trends before, during, and after the Crusade, researchers can determine the immediate impact on church growth and identify any patterns or changes in attendance levels.

Additionally, surveying church members and attendees to gather feedback on their experiences during the Evangelistic Crusade can provide valuable insights into how these events affect their engagement with the church. This feedback can help church leaders tailor future events to better meet the needs and expectations of their congregation, ultimately leading to increased participation and involvement.

Comparing financial contributions to the church before and after the Evangelistic Crusade is crucial in measuring its impact on financial growth. Understanding how these events influence the generosity of church members can help leaders make informed decisions about resource allocation and financial planning for future initiatives.

Conducting interviews with church leaders and volunteers involved in organizing the Evangelistic Crusade is essential for gaining a deeper understanding of their perspectives on its effectiveness in promoting church growth. Their insights can provide valuable context and firsthand experiences that can inform future strategies and approaches for engaging the community and fostering growth within the church.

Overall, this study is significant because it sheds light on the multifaceted impact of Evangelistic Crusades on church growth. By examining attendance trends, gathering feedback from attendees, analyzing financial contributions, and interviewing key stakeholders, researchers can gain a comprehensive understanding of how these events shape the growth and engagement of church members, ultimately informing future decision-making and strategic planning within the church community.

1.7  Scope of the Study

The study examines the impact of Evangelistic Crusade on Church Growth. The study is limited Redeemed Christian Church, Lagos.

 Operational Definition of Terms

Impact: Impact refers to the strong effect or influence that something has on a situation or person. In various contexts, it can mean different things. For example, in a social context, it might refer to the effect of a community program on local residents. In a business context, it could refer to the influence of a marketing campaign on sales figures.

Evangelistic Crusade: An Evangelistic Crusade is a large-scale religious event, typically organized by Christian groups, aimed at spreading the message of Christianity and converting individuals to the faith. These events often feature sermons, worship music, and testimonies, and are usually led by a prominent evangelist. Historically, figures like Billy Graham have been well-known for conducting such crusades, which can attract thousands of attendees.

Church Growth: Church Growth refers to the increase in the number of members or attendees of a church. This can be measured in various ways, such as the number of new converts, the increase in regular attendance, or the expansion of church activities and programs. Church growth can be influenced by various factors, including effective evangelism, community outreach, engaging worship services, and strong leadership.