This study examines the Impact of Pastoral Education on Church Growth using the Assemblies of God Church Rivers District as case study. Four research question were formulated in order to successfully conduct the study. Oral interviews and questionnaires were used to gather relevant information from respondents from the study area. A total of one hundred questionnaires were distributed to lecturers and students at the Church bible college; of these eighty five questionnaires were returned. After data collection analysis was done, where the collected information was interpreted to meet the objectives of the project. The study revealed that Assemblies of God Pastors illustrated situations where they applied Pastoral Education but there was still a conflict in connecting Pastoral Education and practical pastoral work when posted to serve. The study conclude that Pastoral Education is one of the major tool for character transformation, practical discipline, training of pastors for information and dissemination of spiritual information to the Assemblies of God Church and our society. It was recommended that the recruitment of the Lecturers in Assemblies of God theological College should be done in such a way that those that are sent there will not see the place as a punitive ground. While pastors were advised not to forget the training the obtained during their years in bible college.

                                            CHAPTER ONE



Pastoral education has long been considered a cornerstone for effective church leadership and growth. According to Barna Group (2017), churches led by pastors with formal theological education tend to exhibit higher levels of congregational engagement and spiritual development. This is attributed to the comprehensive training that such pastors receive, which equips them with the necessary skills to address complex theological questions, provide effective pastoral care, and implement strategic church growth initiatives.

One significant study by Olson (2008) highlights the correlation between pastoral education and church growth metrics such as membership numbers, financial giving, and community outreach. Olson’s research indicates that pastors with advanced degrees in theology or ministry are more likely to employ evidence-based strategies for church growth, including small group ministries, contemporary worship services, and community service programs. These strategies not only attract new members but also retain existing ones by fostering a sense of belonging and purpose.


Pastoral Education is vital for the future of pastoral ministries all around the World. Pastoral Education has the potential to be the seedbed for the renewal of churches, pastoral ministries, mission, commitment to Christian unity and the changing world. Although there is an age-long unresolved conflict between Pastoral Education and actual pastoral responsibilities in Nigeria. The question of why most of the graduates from theological institutions not teaching and living these truths taught at the seminary? This question still bothers most researchers as there is a clear difference between what pastors professes and practices; which led to finding out why what is taught in the Seminary does not accurately depict the realities in the churches today? Theology training is not simply the usual academic pursuits, it involve the entire human person, not just the intellect (R.H. Mounce, 1991).

There is widespread consensus that every pastor in the ministry should understand Christian faith and tradition in their fullness and should have access to basic education, faith nurture, and empowerment for mission. The book of Acts chapter two could be traced back in time to the last chapters of the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke (Matt. 28:16-20; Mk. 16: 14-20; Luke. 24: 44-53), in those records lies the Great Commission that Jesus gave before his ascension. Inherent in these biblical accounts is the specific instruction to the believers of being sent to “make disciples and teach”. It is instructive to note that Jesus sent those he had trained and prepared (Mk. 3:13-19; Luke. 6:12-16) and here lies the unassailable fact: for there to be a fulfilment of the mission of the church,, the church must be at all times involved in the training, discipling, and teaching of all believers. This is the essence of Pastoral Education and Christian education in particular.

There is little doubt that one of most urgent issues facing the church in these critical times of doubt and confusion is the need for godly leaders. The church, indeed the whole world, desperately needs men and women who know God intimately, who look like Jesus Christ in their daily lives and who know how to help others to become mature disciples of Jesus (Dave Buckert writing in CCBT Newsletter, 2001).

Over the past century the church has relied heavily on formal Pastoral Education for developing pastoral leadership. Although theological schools have adopted new strategies for reaching more students, such as Pastoral Education by Extension, satellite campuses, correspondence and later on-line classes, this mode of education cannot meet the increasing demand for pastors, teachers and missionaries. Local churches around the world need more trained leaders than these institutions will ever be able to produce” (John. French and B. Raven, 2009).

But beyond the need for more trained leaders, equally important is the question, “What kind of Pastoral Education will give a solid and foundational basis for future Christian leaders to work in the contemporary world?  What kind of Pastoral Education will impact society as a whole and address the individuals who are growing increasingly distant from God and His kingdom?  To answer this question thoroughly, we need to realize that “for at least the last millennium of Christian history, if ever there were examples of the confusion of cultural values overwhelming truly Christian values it is in the area of training for ministry” (Smite, Robert C. 1999).

From the very beginning Christianity was a learning and teaching religion, as the sources of Christian faith were not just inner emotional feelings of the individual but a complex tradition transmitted in narratives, in hymns, in liturgy and later in creeds common to a majority of Christians at different places which could be memorized and had to be re-appropriated anew in each generation. Therefore, investment in Pastoral Education is investment of hope in the future and mission of our world. The transmission of Christian theology, the education for God’s peace and justice, and the formation for church and pastoral ministries therefore should be priorities in all churches; however, in many places Pastoral Education is far from secure or even in crisis at the present time.

Therefore, for us to faithfully preserve what has been handed over to us, and successful ensure its relevance it is the researcher’s assertion in this study that the current dominant model of Pastoral Education for church leadership development or pastoral training is incompatible with the stark realities of the Twenty-First Century and would not develop the type of leaders needed by the church to accomplish its mission in this Twenty-First Century world. Consequently, it is imperative for all stakeholders in the leadership development process of the church to consider other viable models of delivering quality Pastoral Education to the people of God, especially that of Church-Based Theological education. This is a task we cannot afford to shirk. Which led to the study on the Pastoral Education on pastors ministerial performance.

Furthermore, pastoral education often includes training in leadership and organizational management, which are critical for church growth. According to a study by Dudley and Roozen (2001), pastors who have received formal education in these areas are better equipped to manage church resources, lead staff, and navigate the complexities of church governance. This, in turn, creates a more stable and effective church environment that is conducive to growth.

The role of pastoral education in fostering innovation within the church is also noteworthy. A study by Carroll (2006) found that pastors with higher education levels are more likely to introduce innovative practices and programs that meet the evolving needs of their congregations. This includes the adoption of technology in worship services, the development of online ministries, and the implementation of contemporary worship styles. These innovations can attract younger demographics and those who might not otherwise attend traditional church services.

However, it is important to note that pastoral education alone is not a panacea for church growth. As noted by Hoge and Wenger (2005), other factors such as the pastor’s personal charisma, the church’s location, and the socio-economic status of the congregation also play significant roles. Nonetheless, pastoral education provides a strong foundation upon which these other factors can build.

The literature suggests that pastoral education has a positive impact on church growth by equipping pastors with the necessary skills and knowledge to lead effectively. While it is not the sole determinant of growth, it is a critical component that can enhance a pastor’s ability to implement successful church growth strategies. Future research could further explore the specific elements of pastoral education that are most effective in promoting church growth, as well as how these elements can be integrated into pastoral training programs.

1.2 Problem Statement

The role of pastoral education in fostering church growth has been a subject of considerable debate and analysis within ecclesiastical circles. Despite the general consensus that well-educated pastors are better equipped to lead their congregations, there remains a significant gap in understanding the direct correlation between pastoral education and measurable church growth. This problem is compounded by the diverse educational backgrounds of pastors, ranging from formal theological seminary training to informal mentorship and self-study. The lack of standardized metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of pastoral education further complicates efforts to draw definitive conclusions.

One of the primary issues is the variability in educational programs available to pastors. Theological seminaries, Bible colleges, and online courses offer a wide range of curricula, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. This diversity makes it challenging to assess the overall impact of pastoral education on church growth. For instance, some programs emphasize theological knowledge, while others focus on practical ministry skills. The disparity in educational content raises questions about which aspects of pastoral education are most beneficial for church growth.

Moreover, the context in which pastors operate can significantly influence the effectiveness of their education. Churches vary widely in size, denomination, cultural background, and community needs. A pastor who excels in a small, rural congregation may face different challenges when leading a large, urban church. Therefore, it is essential to consider how contextual factors interact with pastoral education to affect church growth. This complexity necessitates a more nuanced approach to studying the problem, taking into account the specific circumstances of each church and its leadership.

Another critical aspect is the ongoing professional development of pastors. Initial theological education is just the beginning of a pastor’s learning journey. Continuous education through workshops, conferences, and advanced degrees can play a crucial role in equipping pastors to meet the evolving needs of their congregations. However, the impact of such ongoing education on church growth remains underexplored. Understanding how continuous professional development contributes to a pastor’s effectiveness could provide valuable insights into optimizing pastoral education for church growth.


Additionally, the personal attributes and leadership styles of pastors can significantly influence church growth. While education provides the necessary knowledge and skills, personal qualities such as empathy, vision, and resilience are equally important. The interplay between a pastor’s education and their inherent leadership abilities is a complex dynamic that warrants further investigation. Identifying the key personal attributes that complement pastoral education could help in developing more effective training programs.

Finally, there is a need for empirical research to establish a clear link between pastoral education and church growth. Most existing studies rely on anecdotal evidence or case studies, which, while valuable, do not provide a comprehensive understanding of the issue. Rigorous, data-driven research could help in identifying best practices and developing standardized guidelines for pastoral education. Such research would not only benefit individual pastors and their congregations but also contribute to the broader field of ecclesiastical studies.


  • Research Questions

To aid the completion of the study, the researcher intend to proffer solution to the following research question

  1. Is there any significant relationship between Pastoral Education and pastor’s performance in Assemblies of God Church?
  2. Are there challenges faced by students and lecturers in the course of Pastoral Education and the effect of these challenges on pastors’ ministerial performance?
  3. Do Assemblies of God pastors apply what they learn in theology school when faced with challenges in the ministry?
  4. Does pastors’ ministerial performance has any impact on the growth of the church?
    • Aims/Objectives of the Study

The primary aim of this study is to examine the Pastoral Education on pastors ministerial performance. The sub objectives are to:

  1. Examine the significant relationship between Pastoral Education and pastor’s performance in Assemblies of God Church, Rivers District.
  1. Ascertain the social, economic, religious and academic backgrounds of Assemblies of God pastors, their motivation for joining ministry and how these factors affect their Theological education.
  2. Critically evaluate the challenges faced by students and lecturers in the course of Pastoral Education and the effect of these challenges on pastors’ ministerial performance.
  3. Outline the biblical basis for Pastoral Education for pastors in both the Old and New Testament


At the completion of this study, all stakeholders will be engaged in a discussion that will help fine-tune and preserve the rich Pastoral Education for pastors’ ministerial performance in a way and manner that is in agreement with biblical pattern and effective in getting the message of our Lord and saviour to the Twenty-First Century world; it will also serve to re-vitalize the potency of our testimonies as leaders and members of the church.

By stakeholders, the researcher means the Theological Seminaries and all other theological faculties of bible schools and colleges; pastors of both mega and non-mega churches; the leaders who have the call of God on their life and are desirous of getting trained and equipped for the heavenly task committed into their hands and all other people who feel it is in their best interest to know more about the task of Pastoral Education on pastors’ ministerial performance.

The study will also be beneficial to researchers who intend to embark on study in similar topic as the study will serve as a guide to their study. Finally the study will be beneficial to academia’s students and the general public.


Pastoral Education is tied to service and the formation of all Christians, therefore this discussion on or examination of Pastoral Education was done within this context. This study confined itself to examining the role Pastoral Education has in pastors’ ministerial performance. This study confined itself to examining the Pastoral Education on pastors ministerial performance. This was is within the framework of the Assemblies of God Church and with specific reference to Pentecostal Theological Seminary Eleme, which is located in Eleme, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. There were some constraint that tends to hinder the flow of this study, such limitations include:

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).

Members Reluctance: In most cases the members of Assemblies of God Church Seminary often feels reluctance over providing required information required by the researcher. This result in finding information where the structured questionnaires could not point out.

Researcher’s Commitment: The researcher, being of full time student spent most of her time on other academic activities such as test, class work, assignment, examination etc which takes average focus from this study.

Inadequate Materials: Scarcity of material is also a major hindrance. The researcher finds it difficult to lay hands on several required material which could contribute immensely to the success of this research work.


An historical research approach to the problem was adopted, and extensive literature review was done on the concept of Pastoral Education especially for leadership development from the period of the early church to our present day. The historical emergence of seminary based Pastoral Education and church based Pastoral Education was also sufficiently explored and the need for each was researched fully. The study of Assemblies of God Church Rivers District in the context of historical trends, institutional and technological innovation realities in church leadership formation was also carried out.

1.7 Definition of Terms

Impact: this is the effect or influence that an event, situation etc has on someone or something. The action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another.

Theology: Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries.

Training: Training is teaching, or developing in oneself or others, any skills and knowledge or fitness that relate to specific useful competencies. Training has specific goals of improving one’s capability, capacity, productivity and performance.

Pastors’ ministerial performance: The term pastors’ ministerial performance relates to shepherds and their role caring for sheep. The term was adopted for metaphorical usage historically first by Christians, although many religions and non-religious traditions contain an emphasis on care and social responsibility.

Theological education: Pastoral Education is the training of men and women to know and serve God. It has the potential to be the seedbed for the renewal of churches, their ministries, mission, commitment to Christian unity and the changing world.