Twifo Bimpong-Egya District Holds ‘Super Duper Prayer Festival 2024’ web

Twifo Bimpong-Egya District Holds ‘Super Duper Prayer Festival 2024’

The Twifo Bimpong-Egya District in Twifo Praso Area of The Church of Pentecost has held a massive fasting and prayer conference dubbed, ‘Super Duper Prayerfest 2024.”

The programme which took place from 16-21 April 2024 at Twifo Bimpong-Egya Central church auditorium on the theme, “Unleashed with Great Mantle of Anointing” (2 Kings 2:1-15), was under the leadership of the District Minister, Pastor Abraham Gyabaah.

To the glory of God, a total of 24 souls were won for Christ, 58 receiving the Holy Spirit baptism, and 23 testifying of receiving their healings.

Some of the main speakers were the wife of the district minister, Mrs Evelyn Gyabaah, Elder Philip Annan and Elder Samuel Edusei. Deaconesses Barbara Abban and Elizabeth Lorlonyo with many other singers, rocked the prayerfest with powerful song ministrations.  

Addressing the congregation to climax the programme on Sunday, April 21, 2024, the Twifo Praso Area Head, Apostle Lawrence Otu-Nyarko, based his sermon on the topic, ‘Unleashed to Excel in the Grace of Giving’ (2 Cor. 8:1-8).

Apostle Otu-Nyarko mentioned three pillars that help in the expansion of the gospel: the preaching pillar, the praying pillar, and the paying pillar. According to him, members of the church can help transform their world by preaching the good news, praying for the expansion of God’s kingdom, and giving bountifully to support the work of God.

‘As a child of God, you should, first of all, give your body to Him as a living sacrifice, and after that, you should learn to pay your tithes faithfully and give generously to support the work of  God,’ he stressed.

Present at the programme included Mrs Doris Otu-Nyarko (wife of the Area Head), Elder (Hon.) David T. D. Vondee (Member of Parliament for Twifo Atti Morkwa), and Elder (Togbe) Ringo Gottah (Chief of Bimpong-Egya), among others.

Report by Joseph Smiles Adu.

The Local Church As A Family



The theme for 2023, “Repositioning the Local Church for Maximum Impact in the Nations” (Col. 2:6-7 & 1 Thess. 2:19-20) requires a discussion of the local church or assembly. As God’s agent in the world, the local church is the “vessel” through which God works to transform every sphere of society until the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of our God (Rev. 11:15, Dan. 7:27). Since the church must succeed in this assignment, it is essential that the ministry of the church is continuously evaluated so that the local church can be repositioned for the most possible impact in the world. In this paper, I will present an understanding of the local church as a family. I will answer the question of how the local church can understand itself as a family and what practical steps it must take to make maximum impact in the world. In the process, I will present a biblical view of the church as a family created by God for the purpose of attracting the world to God and transforming it by His values. I will also explain that the nature and function of the family can be understood better if it is considered as a social system. Finally, I will suggest practical steps members of the local church can take to demonstrate that they understand themselves as members of the family of God called to make maximum impact in the world. 


In this paper, the local church refers to a group of believers or disciples of Jesus Christ who are related through consistent gathering and membership in a Christian denomination that serve as their spiritual family for nurturing, guidance, support and ministry or service (Eph.4:12-16). In the Church of Pentecost, this is what we call a local Assembly.  

  1. Biblical View of the Local Church as a Family 

Mainly, in the New Testament, believers understood the church as a family. They demonstrated this understanding by continuously meeting together in the Temple courts and at homes where they received teachings from the Apostles, prayed and broke bread together with glad and sincere hearts (Ac. 2:46). Consequently, they made maximum impact on the world of their day. For instance, the early church was described as having turned the world upside down (Ac. 17:6). In every town and city, they stood against the worldly values of their day, declared the truth about salvation through Jesus Christ, and lived lives that earned them the name Christian, in Antioch (Ac. 11:26). This shows that as a family, the NT church made maximum impact on their world. The question is, in our times, is it still necessary for the local churches to understand itself as family? If it is, how can the local church do this?  

  1. The Divine Origin and Nature of the Local Church 

The divine origin and nature of the church requires that in all ages, the local church must understand itself as a family and it can do so through the knowledge that God called the church for a divine mission or assignment in the world. Both the Old Testament and New Testament words interpreted as church; qahal and ekklesia, respectively, mean an assembly or gathering of people. In the OT, God chose to create a nation or a people for himself out of the numerous people groups in the world (Exo. 19:5-6). He chose one person, Abraham, who was obedient to Him and out of Abraham created a family and later, the nation Israel (Gen. 18:18, 22:18). God told them “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession” (Exo. 19:5). 

In the New Testament, the church is understood as the people God has called out to be his children. Since the time God came on earth and dwelt among humans as Jesus Christ the Son and died on the cross to save the world (Jn. 4:42; 1Jn. 4:14), the process of becoming members of God’s family broadened and the criteria changed. God enables all people from all races to believe in His Son Jesus Christ as the saviour of the world (Rom. 3:23-26). Whoever so believes is given the power to become a child of God – a member of God’s family (Jn. 1:12; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13-14). “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:26-29). Thus, race, gender, ethnicity (tribe) age or social backgrounds do not isolate anyone because all believers are one family in Christ. God is the Father, and all believers are His children.1 This means God chose the Church (Jn. 15:16) and send it into the world to possess it (Jn. 17: 18; 20:21). 

While universal in nature, the Church has local presence. Though scattered around the world, local churches share a common, communal, heavenly destination.2 . On behest of Jesus Christ, God sends the Holy Spirit to come and live in the members of the local church forever (Jn. 14:25-26, 16:4-14; Acts 2:1-41). The creation of the church and its sustenance is all through the Holy Spirit who gives life and gifts to enable local churches to make maximum impact in the world (Eph. 4:11-16; 1Cor. 12: 4-11; Rom. 12: 6-8). Therefore, local Assemblies as we call them in The Church of Pentecost must continue to understand themselves as a family.  


Systems thinking (theory) is one of the effective ways of explaining the nature and function of the family. The family can be conceptualised as a system or a dynamic unit consisting of a group of interdependent and co-ordinated members who influence each other directly and indirectly through their communication and behaviour or interactions.3 The family systems approach emphasises the idea that families are continuous entities, with rules, beliefs, and values that shape members’ behaviour over time. Such rules give power, induce guilt, and control behaviour. A family is considered as a system because it is made up of interrelated members, who show coherent behaviours. Children membership in the family is either by birth or adoption. Similarly, membership in the local church is through both new birth (Jn.3:3-6) and adoption (Eph. 1:5, Gal. 4:4-5). 

Generally, a nuclear family consists of a married couple as parents and their dependent children while the extended family includes aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews, and grandparents. Undoubtedly, marriage is the bedrock of the family. The scriptures explain that the mystical marriage or union between Jesus and the church is indissoluble (Eph. 5:25-27). The church is married to Jesus and the members of the church are the children of the family. Research has widely documented the negative impact of marital discord and conflict upon the quality of parenting and upon child behaviour and development.4 For instance, a negative marital relationship can make parents who did not have secure attachment with their parents more prone to poor parent-child relationships. On the other hand, a positive marital relationship acts as a buffer that helps to break negative intergenerational cycles in family dysfunction.5 The spiritual exercises that nurture the members and the relationship between the church and Jesus Christ must be carefully evaluated continuously. Repentance from sin and confession of faith in the Jesus Christ must be genuine with signs of true regret following.   

Normally, family members have regular interactions, and they are interdependent on one another. Each member influences other members and is in turn, influenced by others. These relationships are very important for the proper functioning of the family and for the social skills and emotional intelligence its members need to function in the wider society. Those who consider the family as a system widely believed that there is a strong relationship between a person’s behaviour and the behaviour of other members of their family.6  

Having said that the family is a social system, it is important to state that the local church is not simply a social system as such. It is a socio-Spiritual system because of its divine nature. Being socio-Spiritual means that though it is a group of people networked through committed relationships, its origin, existence, and sustenance is determined by the members’ constant dependence on God and their interdependence on each other (Rom. 12:4-5). 

The family is very important because it contributes to and determines the social cohesion and health of society. Researchers have acknowledged that the family is one setting where human development occurs constantly.7 Members of the family share resources and responsibilities such as living together, pooling economic resources, and caring for the young ones among them, helping them to grow into responsible members of the wider society. The early church practised sharing of resources in ways that supplied everyone’s need (Ac. 2:44-45). Consequently, the local church grew and multiplied.  

Therefore, it is essential for every born again Christian to belong to a Bible believing and faith practicing local church where they can be supported and shaped into the stature of Jesus Christ. Moreover, the local Assembly is the most powerful family in the world because it is created by God, guided by the word (Son) and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The accumulative power and Spiritual gifts of the members of the local Assembly makes it a great force to reckon with. 

3.1. The Spiritual and Social Functions of the Local church 

The spiritual and social purposes of the local church also help us to experience it as a family. Normally, every human being is born into a family or most often, has parents who support the child to develop spiritually, socially, and emotionally. In the same way, when one is born again, they must join and belong to a local church where they are taught and supported to grow into spiritual maturity. Contemporary attitudes of people who see local churches as religious supermarkets where they go to choose and pick their products without necessarily belonging is unbiblical. For instance, some believers would only go to a local church on Sunday or only attend prayer meetings for their personal benefit without participating in the full life of the family. It is said that children do not choose their parents or siblings. But they are expected to accept parents and siblings as they are and obey, respect, and love them. Belonging to a family is a whole package and members must accept this fully.  

Family members support each other and do not expose each other to public shame or ridicule. When members of the family have issues, they settle it among themselves without people of other families hearing or knowing about it. 

Just as the family system function to support and shape its members into becoming responsible people in their society, so also, does the local church has a divine mission to the world which it must support its members to fulfil. The mission the church has is that through it the entire world will be blessed. “Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: all nations will be blessed through you (Gal. 3:8). Referring to Christians generally, Luke stated in Acts, “And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed” (Ac. 3:25). Moreover, Jesus Christ said “peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (Jn. 20:21). The divine nature of the church shows that God is in his trinity saving the world and the local church is his vessel for doing so.  

3.2. The CoP Local Assembly as Family  

In the CoP, the local Assembly focuses mainly on the spiritual activities that help a new convert to grow from birth to maturity. People join the local church through evangelistic activities of members. New converts are taken through water baptism and the baptism in the Holy Spirit baptism. They are encouraged to participate in the Lord’s Supper, Home Cell membership, Bible study for their nurture into maturity. Every member is taught to participate in the monthly Lord’s Supper. Those who fail to participate in the Lord’s Supper for three consecutive months are approached and helped to return to full fellowship. Members who cannot attend meetings in person are visited and given the communion. Members taught and encouraged to pay their tithes and various offerings at a local Assembly.  

Adult members marry in a local Assembly and their children are dedicated to the Lord at an Assembly. When children are thirteen years of age, they are given the opportunity to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour and become adult members when they are eighteen years old. The local Assembly has been the epicentre where members are discipled to follow Jesus Christ. In the CoP, female members are called sisters and male members are called brothers. The Officers (Elders., Deacons and Deaconesses) of the Assembly serve as guardians and older siblings for new and younger members in the Assembly. All the key performance indicators of ministry (which can be grouped under discipleship and worship) take place at the local Assembly. 

However, the focus of Vision 2023 has been to intentionally and directly connect the worship and discipleship that happens at the confines of the local Assembly to all spheres of life where members are engaged throughout the week. In this way, activities at the local church are not an end in themselves. They become means for preparing members to serve in and possess – the marketplace and institutions of local and national governments etc. It is when members of the local Assembly are metaphorically experienced as salt and light that they make impact in the world.    


The maximum impact of local churches is the goal for the theme for 2023. To make maximum impact here means to have most influence through consistent use of biblical values and principles in all conducts and deeds. Thus, the local church must always ask, how do the activities; the services, practices impact the world around us? Or how does it prepare members of the family to have most influence in the world? Since the church exists to influence the world, everything it does must be evaluated from this objective. So, what steps should the local church take to ensure that they make maximum impact in the world? 

4.1. Know and Understand their Purpose 

For any local church to make maximum impact in the world, it must know and understand its calling. Every local church must know that God has called them into the ministry of reuniting their communities to God (2 Cor. 5:18-21). This is how all nations will be blessed through the local church. For this to happen, members of the local church must understand themselves as a family and live as such to provide the necessary support for each other to influence the way things are done in the world. Just as families support each other in every way possible for the growth and flourishing of its members, so also must local churches live as a family.   

4.2. The Interdependence of Members in the Local Church 

As mentioned above, in a functional family, members depend on each other. Local churches must firstly depend on God by remaining in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ said “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5). It means the local church cannot function according to God’s purpose or intentions without being constantly connected to God in Christ by active faith. Everything the local church does, whether prayer meetings, social events, outreaches etc., must help the members to remain in Christ and with each other. Also, members should be able to depend on each other as a family that supports, encourages, and guides one another in every way possible. “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Rom. 12:4-5). Belonging means interdependence for mutual benefit so that each one will fulfil their part of the divine assignment. Self-centredness and individualism are not Godly behaviours and should not be allowed in the family or local Assembly. Possessing the nations will be a hollow slogan if the church members work in isolation of all others. Unity and a collective sense of purpose is a hallmark of a good family. 

4.3. The Supporting Role of the Family   

The experience of family living is the single greatest influence on an individual’s life. As shown above, people’s basic needs for love, security, belongingness, and intimacy are satisfied in the family context. In families where there is closeness, trust and support, there is good behaviour towards members within the family and with people outside of the family. Apostle Paul taught that an individual believer or Christian is part of a larger group of a family network (1 Cor. 12) and must support others. Apostle Peter also referred to NT believers as living stones placed on each other as blocks for building God’s temple (1 Pt. 2:4-10). Just as a new-born child becomes a member of a family, so also, when a person is born again, they become part of the family of God and must henceforth be held together in a supporting and enabling environment through the bond of peace in the Holy Spirit. This can be done through follow-ups, small groups (squads) and intentional mentoring.  

Sadly, sometimes, instead of members acknowledging one another’s gifting and celebrating and supporting them, they compete in the local church just as it is in the world. People compete for allegiances, loyalty, recognition, entitlement etc. These behaviours are features of a dysfunctional family. If we want to possess the nations, through transforming relationships and behaviours of other people in all the spheres of life, then it is crucial that we improve the way we relate in the local church. For instance, how open are our local churches when it comes to dealing with the failures of members? How transparent are we when it comes to leadership failures? How loving and understanding are we when we deal with each other’s shortcomings? Every good family is supportive of its members to grow and flourish.   

4.4. Leaders Must Be Consistent in Biblical Values and Principles  

To make a maximum impact in the world the life of members of the local church must be consistent with the values they espouse. As mentioned above, members of a family are influenced by the behaviours of other members, especially parents. The OT shows how the sins of parents become generational patterns in their lineage. For example, when Abraham lied twice that Sarah was not his wife, (Gen. 12: 10-20, Gen. 20), his children and grandchildren also lied in similar ways. This shows that parental relationship fosters repetitive behaviour patterns in the family. The lies run through Abraham’s lineage for four generations.  

As a system, the patterns of behaviour of members in the family affect other people in the family. In the local church, no one should be allowed to say, “it is my life and do what I want with it”. Jesus Christ teaches that the kingdom is like yeast that has the capacity to affect the whole dough (Matt. 13:33). Moreover, Apostle Paul stated that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough (Gal. 5:9). Although Christians are called to be free, we should not use our freedom as licenses to indulge the flesh. Instead, we should serve one another humbly in love (Gal. 5:13-14). Therefore, parents and older members of the family must be good examples for the younger ones to follow. 


It has been explained above that God chose the church for a purpose – a mission in the world. In his wisdom, God commands the church to worship Him (Ex. 20:1-3, Ex. 34:14; Deut. 6:4-6).) It is by worshipping God that the nations of the world will be blessed through the local church. The local church’s maximum impact in the world depends on its knowledge and understanding of worship. How should the local Assembly understand worship and what steps should be taken to make maximum impact? 

5.1. Understanding Worship as Service  

The local church must understand that worship is about service. It is not meant to be simply a Sunday morning or mid-week activity. Service is everything we do in our lives throughout the week, wherever we are. Service or worship requires a total lifestyle of faithfulness to God.8 This is what Jesus Christ referred to as worshipping in Spirit and truth (Jn. 4:24) when he taught that the Jews the Samaritans’ debate about the right place to worship God was a total misunderstanding of worship and was unnecessary.9 Worship is meant to keep sinful humanity in constant relationship with a faithful and holy God for Him to use them to bless other nations and peoples.10  More importantly, worship is about serving God with our lives through acts enabled by the Holy Spirit. So, for the church to make maximum impact in the world, local Assemblies must support its members to serve God by serving the needs of people in our societies.  


The most effective way of influencing the world through the values and principles Jesus taught is by being a blessing in the world to mitigate the effects of the curses Jesus Christ abolished on the cross. Usually, the local church sees its evangelistic activities as a way of uniting people to God. However, I propose that for the local church to make a maximum impact in the world, it needs to be a blessing through service in all kinds of ways.   

This implies that the world without Christ is under the curse of Adam. Until people believe in Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world, they are still under the divine curse (Rom. 5:12-15). The world is separated from God because of the curse of the fall. Curses invoke a supernatural power that inflicts harm or punishment on people. Hence, the fall of Adam and Eve brought pain, harm, and punishment on the world. The first outcome was about shame. They saw that they were naked (Gen. 3:7). The second issue is fear. When they heard the appearing of God in the garden, they went into hiding because they were afraid (Gen. 3:9-10). These are painful emotions that remain in the world today. They are experienced by many people in different ways. 

Many people are anxious and afraid in our world today. The third curse was a break in relationship – a broken heart. Their relationship with God was broken and their relationship with each other and with God’s creation were also broken (Gen. 3). The curses also introduced physical pain through childbirth and hard work in tilling the land (Gen. 3: 17-19). In various ways, all the difficult issues this world continues to deal with, originate in the fall. For instance, what we call today as basic human needs; food, water, shelter, (security) and love became human needs only after the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Prior to that God provided all they needed.  

Therefore, apart from going into the community to propagate the gospel in evangelistic outreaches, the local church must send its members deliberately into the world to mitigate the effects of the curse. This can be done through identifying the opportunities presented in the world by the fall. The needs brought about by the fall of humanity from the image of God, continue to provide several opportunities for service. 

6.1. Dealing with Curses through Service  

Thankfully, the power of curses has been abolished by Jesus Christ on the cross (Col. 2:13-15). However, their ramifications remain in the world. Through his death Jesus Christ has restored Christians to our original image in God and given us power to intentionally address the consequences of the curses of fallen humanity.  

Every good service rendered in this world addresses a need by taking away shame, pain, hatred and bringing love, care, and comfort, in one way or the other. people who work as cleaners, teachers, nurses, pharmacists, doctors, hawkers, salespeople, labourers, engineers, mechanic, scientists, seamstress, tailors, police, lawyers, accountants etc, are all dealing with one need or the other. The local church’s maximum impact in the world depends on how members of the church family are supported, encouraged, and guided to serve in these roles to provide the most effective and efficient service.  

It is in meeting these needs through the love of God and the leadership of the Holy Spirit that the local church can make maximum impact on the world. Therefore, local churches must teach their members to identify their area of calling or vocation and work diligently to avert the pain, misery, lawlessness, racism, broken heart, disease, poverty, hatred etc in the world. Although Jesus Christ died to atone for the sins of the world, we need to understand that these troubles are still battles we must fight and win by lessening the pain and suffering and increasing love and care in the world.   

The issues of shame for being naked and the need for clothing led to the whole clothing/fashion industry we have today. Designers, seamstresses, tailors, weavers, pressers, and many others respond to this need by their services. That is why I find it ironic that some modern fashion designers prefer designs that almost show nakedness instead of covering it. Again, fear requires the need for security and protection. This curse also presents huge opportunity that led to the building construction industry, law enforcement agencies such as security guards, police, and the military.  

We need to be able to travel from one place to the other to either explore new places and new things or to visit loved ones or change our location. Construction of roads, bridges, airports, building of and repairing cars, ships, planes, boats etc became necessary and has provided opportunity for many professions and careers.    

Broken relationship and hatred remain a major issue for the world. How do we live together and prevent people killing each other as Cain did to Abel (Gen. 4)? Finding solutions to this curse brought about the whole field of the judiciary – law and order. Thus, lawyers, judges, and magistrates interpret and apply the laws while police and other security agencies enforce the laws. To prove that the death of Jesus has overcome the power of hared introduced in the Garden of Eden, members of the local church must be helped to fight hatred, bigotry, discrimination, racism, and tribalism.  

Throughout history communities have found ways to mitigate pain. Today, we have hospitals where professionals such as nurses, doctors, clerks, pharmacists, etc. try to solve the problem of pain and disease. It is through their services (work) that they can show they love one another. It is through service that we can be a blessing to overcome the pain in this world. Also, through service (work) we can show that we fear and love God. 

6.2. How Can Members of the Local Church Make Maximum Impact Through Their Service? 

  • By seeing service as defeat over curse 
  • By seeing service as demonstration of obedience to God 
  • By seeing service as demonstration of faithfulness 
  • By sacrificing to serve others 

Sacrifice is an act of giving up something valuable for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy of the sacrifice. For instance, giving up your comfort to suffer for a good cause or for the sake of another person. Jesus sacrificed himself to save us from sin (Phil. 2: 6-8). Paul sacrificed his comfort and status to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Whatever was gain to Paul he considered loss for the sake of Christ (Phil. 3:7).  

Many others such as missionaries, freedom fighters, politicians, academics, inventors, and entrepreneurs make big sacrifices to make impact in this world.  

  • Such people have great passion for change in their profession, church, their community, and their country 
  • They do not follow the crowd and are not human pleasers  
  • They always care and make effort to ease other people’s pain and suffering 

We should exercise our gifts as much as possible even if our society devalues those gifts. God’s appraisal of us at the end of our lives is to be most cherished than what the world thinks about us.11 Therefore, 

  1. Members of the local church must demonstrate unwavering loyalty to Jesus Christ by being steadfast in the hope that their works will surely be rewarded. Since family members do not quit their membership even when they are unhappy with things in the family, so also, Jesus Christ expects members of local churches to be loyal, no matter what. They should remain members of the family. 
  1. Like a parent waiting patiently and praying to support a misbehaving child hoping the period of misbehaviour will pass, local church leaders must lovingly correct and discipline weaker members of the family when their lifestyle go against the teaching and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  
  1. As family members, local church members should not focus on instant gratification and reward for their service in the Lord. They should patiently endure, knowing that when they rest from their labour on earth, their deeds will follow them into eternity.  
  1. Local churches must seek and support the weak and needy amongst them. 

“Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank” (Prov. 22:29). Serving before kings means being recognised for our service and honoured to serve. 


In this paper, I have discussed the need for the local church to understand itself as a family. I have shown that an effective way of understanding the local as a family is to consider it as a system networked for support, nurturing and protection. I have clearly shown that the church is God’s initiative for his own purpose in the world and I have also shown that the most effective steps to making maximum impact in the world is through service. Service has been explained as the way of being a blessing by lessening the effects of the curses, that is, shame, pain and suffering in the world.  


Alexander T. Desmond and Brian S. Rosner, (eds) New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Leicester: IVP, 2000. 

Cohn D. A. et al. “Working Models of Childhood Attachment and Couple Relationships”. Journal of Family Issues, 13 (4), (1992): 432-449.  

Desmond and Rosner (eds). New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Leicester: IVP, 2000. 

Doriani, D. M. Work that Makes a Difference. Philipsburg: P&R Publishing 2021. 

Fincham, F.D. “Child Development and Marital Relations” Child Development, 69. 1998. 

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Leicester: IVP, 2000. 

Lamb M. E. (Ed.). The role of the father in child development. New York: Wiley & Sons, 2004.  

Minuchin, Patricia. “Cross-Cultural Perspectives: Implications for Attachment Theory and Family Therapy”. Family Process 41 (3), 2002.  

Shively T. J. Smith. Strangers to Family Diaspora and 1 Peter’s Invention of God’s Household. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2016. 

Smith S. (Ed.). The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Family Studies Vol. 2. New York: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, 2016. 

Walsh, Bridget A. Lydia DeFlorio, Melissa M. Burnham, and Dana A. Weiser, Introduction to Human Development and Family Studies. London: Routledge, 2017.  

William Barclay, The Gospel of John. Edinburgh: St Andrew Press, 1975. 

Repositioning The Local Church For Evangelism


Key Scriptural Verses: 

Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 61:10; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 11:25-26; 

Mark 2:1-5, Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15 


At the inception of The Church of Pentecost, the Lord entered into a covenant with the Church, which was received through prophecies at Akroso in 1931, confirmed in 1940 at Easter Convention in Winneba and repeated at a general convention in Koforidua in 1948. Portion of the covenant reads,  

It is not because of how few or many you are in membership that I have chosen to covenant with you. I have done this out of my eternal purpose and goodwill for my church”. “That the Church will grow big into a Pentecostal Church where the gifts of the Holy Spirit will operate bountifully upon men and women…. “That the Church will spread across the world, a great international church which will send missionaries to Africa and the rest of the world”. “That the Church will make disciples for the Soon-coming Christ” (Onyinah & Ntumy, 2019).  

This evangelism covenant can be likened to God’s word to Israel in Isaiah 59:21 (KJV), 

“As for me this is my covenant with them saith the Lord: My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed saith the Lord from henceforth and forever”.  

This covenant illustrated in the above scripture is generational – “your seed and your seed’s seed forever”. Bringing this to our context as a Church clearly suggests that the covenant God has with us must be passed on to the future generations of CoP members. 

It is worth noting that the covenant to make the Church a great International Pentecostal Church has been fulfilled, evidence of which is explicit in the Church now operating in 139 nations in the world. However, the Church cannot rest on her oars. Rather we should move on to possess all nations of the world and affect every sphere of society till the second advent of Christ. To achieve this goal, evangelism is key and should be aggressive at the local church, hence, the need to reposition the local church for evangelism. This script aims at discussing reasons for preaching the gospel, challenges within the local Church for preaching the gospel and to recommend practical ways for repositioning the local church members to do aggressive evangelism as a daily way of life. 


Evangelism is the act of spreading the message of salvation in Jesus Christ alone (solus Christus) which is the Gospel. As summarized by J. Mack Stiles in plain language, “evangelism is teaching (heralding, proclaiming, preaching) the gospel (the message from God that leads us to salvation) with the aim (hope, desire, goal) to persuade (convince, convert)”. 

 Evangelism simply means “Evangelizare” (Latin). That is “to spread or preach the Gospel of Christ or “Euangelizesthai” (Greek) “to bring good news”. There is only one good news in the world today, which is, salvation through Jesus Christ (Jh. 3:16, 1 Jh. 5:12). “We must proclaim this good news every day without fail, 24 hours non-stop. 

“Proclaim his salvation day by day” (Ps. 96:2-5). 

Repositioning in evangelism simply means moving from where we are in the local church’s evangelism to where God wants us to be – where all of us are witnesses (Acts 5:32), for God has committed unto us the Word (or ministry) of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:19-20). 

The fact that evangelism needs to be repositioned in the local Church’s agenda is an undisputable fact when we take cognizance of fact that our Church has not doubled in membership over some decades whilst the early church doubled in membership some few years after it started. This is what the LORD wants to do, a new thing through the Holy Spirit in the end time harvest. 

Salvation and evangelism can simply be summed up as Jesus calling us out of the world and sending us out to the world – “come” (Mt. 11:28) and “go” (Mt. 28:19) 

  1. Simple Presentation of the Gospel 

John 3:16 – “God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son to give us eternal life if we believe in Him.” 

1 John 5:12 – “God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son Jesus Christ. He who has the Son has life. He who has not the son of God has no life.” 

The Roman Road 

Romans 3:23 – “All have sinned and falling short of God’s glory.” 

Romans 5:8 – “God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” 

Romans 6:23 – “The wages of sin is death but the free gift of God to us is eternal life through Christ Jesus.” 

Romans 10:13 – “When we call upon Jesus we will be saved”. 

Romans 10:9-10 – “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved”. 


  1. The general covenant of God with believers (Is. 59:21) and specific covenant with the Church of Pentecost, contains evangelism, discipling and possessing the nations. We must fulfill our part of this divine contract. 
  1. Jesus was a soul winner, and we must follow in His steps – 1 Timothy 1:15; Luke 19:10; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38. 
  1. The harvest is great, the labourers are few – Matthew 9:37-38; Isaiah 6:8; John 4:35. 
  1. We must obey the Great Commission. His last Command must be our first priority – Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:18-19; Luke 5:32. 
  1. Everyone must hear the gospel before Jesus’ Second coming – Matthew 24:14; Romans 10:14. Our main task in the end time like John the Baptist, is to prepare ourselves and prepare the way for His second coming by preaching the gospel to all creation. 
  1. The blood of the unconverted will be demanded from us – Ezekiel 3:17-18; Ezekiel 33:6-8. 
  1. Our testimony must be shared 1 John 1:3; Psalms 103:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:17. 
  1. He has given us the power to be witnesses. Power which is not used is useless – Acts 1:8. 
  1. The value of a soul. Gaining the whole world is less than the value of one soul. (Mk. 8:36-38). Countless angels in Heaven rejoice over one sinner who gets converted – Luke 15:10, Daniel 7:10. 
  1. The lost and the horrors of hell – Luke 19:10; Luke 13:5; Luke 16:19-31 the rich man and Lazarus Luke 16:19-31; hell was prepared for the devil and his angels. Nobody should go to hell. It was not prepared for us – Matthew 25:41. 
  1. False prophets and false teachings Matthew 24:11. 
  1. Rewards and crowns for the soul winner both in this life and in the life to come – Daniel 12:3; John 4:36; 1 Corinthians 15:58. 
  1. People are dying and going to hell daily. 500 people die every day in Ghana. In the USA, 7,452 deaths are recorded daily, 34 people die every 12 seconds. In the world, 6,316 deaths are recorded every hour. 44,000 people die every day without hearing the gospel. Over 34,000 Muslims die every day without the chance of receiving Christ. Every 40 seconds someone commits suicide in the world (World Health Organisation). 
  1. The power of God is demonstrated during evangelism – Romans 1:16; Mark 16:17; Psalms 96:3. 
  1. Jesus is the only way to Heaven. He alone can take us to Heaven because He came from Heaven – John 14:6. Over 4,200 religions and more than 500 cults in the world yet only Christianity has a redeemer – Acts 4:12. 
  1. Compassion for the lost just as Jesus had for the fainting and scattered sheep without a shepherd – Matthew 9:36. 
  1. Because that is the main reason why Jesus came on earth – Luke 19:10, John 10:10. 
  1. That is the armour for our feet, the Gospel of Peace which makes our feet beautiful. Ephesians 6:15; Romans 10:15. 
  1. Because the Gospel must be published in all nations Mark 13:10. 
  1. God adds to the church through evangelism. The Church grows through evangelism – Acts 2:47. 
  1. In 2021, the Christian population in Ghana increased by 0.1% while other religions increased by 3.7%. Worldwide only one third of the world population are Christians and conversion to other religions is on the increase. 


  1. Financial: lack of adequate funding for evangelism. 
  1. Waning passion due to preoccupation with other things other than evangelism. 
  1. Low commitment of ministers and officers. The concept of ‘every member is a witness’ used to be very strong and so fueled the passion for evangelism.  
  1. Relaxation of teaching and preaching on eschatology/the second coming of Christ has affected the urgency of evangelism. The zeal to snatch souls from hell has gone down (jud. 23) 
  1. Lack of effective follow up systems.  
  1.  Inability to effectively employ modern technology to reach out to people as the whole world is moving into cyber space.  
  1. The postmodernity lifestyle and the cares of this world.  
  1. Misplacement of priority of our calling as Christians. 
  1. Inability of the local church to retain the converts won by the few who are into evangelism leads to discouragement and loss of zeal to win souls. 
  1. Apostasy and wrong theology. For example, there is no hell or heaven. Secular humanism teachings. 
  1. Occultism, cults and false prophets which create spiritual opposition to the preaching of the gospel. 
  1. Other religions. The wrong concept that we are all serving one God so there is no need for conversion to Jesus Christ and the Christian faith. 
  1. Difficulty in preaching to the unreached people groups. There are about 19 unreached people groups in Ghana alone according to the Ghana evangelism committee. 


With profound appreciation to God and the COP leadership under our current Chairman and previous leaders, the necessary structures, and ministries for effective evangelism in the church have been established. These structures and Ministries include the Women’s Ministry, Evangelism Ministry, PEMEM, Youth Ministry, Children’s Ministry, Home and Urban Missions, Ministry to Person’s with Disability, Schools Outreach Ministry, Chaplaincy, Chieftaincy Ministry, Counselling Ministry and Workers Guilds. 

For effective and productive /fruitful utilization of these organs in evangelism the following should be considered: 

  1. District Pastors, presiding elders, and local ministry leaders must play major leadership roles in facilitating and leading evangelism at the local church. They are the team leaders. Regular training, motivation and evaluation must be employed, to keep them on their toes. Presiding elders who are not interested in evangelism could be reviewed. Active involvement of presbytery members in all evangelistic activities should be encouraged. “Unemployed presbyters” in terms of local church evangelism and ministry should be discouraged. 
  1. Proper Coordination of the evangelistic activities should be carried out by appointing one evangelism coordinator from each executive committee to coordinate each Ministry’s Evangelistic programmes and report to the Executive Committees. 
  1. Appointment of a full-time Minister under the office of the Evangelism Directorate as an administrator to coordinate, monitor and evaluate the evangelism activities of the various ministries. 
  1. Teamwork as illustrated in Mark 2:1-5 by the four friends who brought their unsaved colleague to Jesus to receive “forgiveness of sins”, which represents salvation and healing, should be encouraged among the different ministries as demonstrated during the Gospel Sundays. 
  1. Re-Prioritizing for the Great Commission 

Some men’s passion is for gold. Some men’s passion is for fame. My passion is for souls” (William Booth, Founder, Salvation Army) 

The Great Commission is a Great Command issued by the Lord to the local church. It involves three main activities: soul winning, discipleship and church planting. The critical activity that should underpin evangelism and discipleship is retention of new converts

ShapeIllustration 1:        Evangelism/                               Planting a 

ShapeWitnessing                                Local Church 


ShapeIllustration 2: 

ShapeSouls winning 

                                                                                                                                                                                         Planting home 

                                                                                              churches to retain 

                                                                                              and disciple the  

                                                                                                new converts 

Retaining Converts 

to establish them 

By the above illustrations, the local church should prioritize evangelism to reach out to all peoples which should result in growth in numbers and lead to planting of churches. 

  1. Reviving Zeal for Evangelism 

We must talk to God about people before we talk to people about God” D.L. Moody 

The local church should take evangelism seriously. We therefore need to go on our knees before the Lord of the harvest for souls and for workers (Lk. 10:2). This should be by intensive prayer and fasting to break every barrier and opposition (Acts 4:24-31; 24:49) 

  1. Digitization and Use of Modern Technology 

Leadership of the Church is highly commended for the digital terrestrial television installed for Pent TV, and the Youth Ministry for their use of apps and social media initiatives. Children Ministry is adopting the Theovision concept where the message of the gospel is translated into the local dialects. The local church can explore ways to reach out to the high population of people on the cyberspace, especially, the Worship Centres and PIWCs. 

  1. Financing Evangelism at the Local Church 

The Local Church should be able to generate funds to support their evangelistic activities by 

  1. Encouraging and motivating members to give towards evangelism. 
  1. Forming evangelism financiers’ groups for those who want to give towards evangelism. 
  1. Utilising the offerings generated on Gospel Sundays (apart from tithes) to finance evangelism and discipleship programmes by the local churches. 
  1. The well-resourced assemblies should be encouraged to support the internal mission Areas, HUM and MPWD outreaches. 
  1. Apologetics 

Contemporary topics should be addressed by setting up a National Committee on apologetics and contemporary issues to publish small booklets on relevant issues to be used for evangelism at the local assemblies, youth and tertiary institutions outreaches. 

  1. Youth Centres and School Outreaches 

57% of the estimated 32,372,889 people in Ghana are under 25 years (0-14 years represents 37.44%, 15-24 years represent 18.64%) (2021 Population Census). 

  1. School outreaches programmes in the basic and Senior High Schools should be revitalized in all local assemblies.  
  1. PENSA Ghana and PENSA International evangelistic activities should be assessed and revamped and supported in all the tertiary institutions with the large PIWC adopting some of these institutions to support and encourage them. 
  1. The Concept of Multipurpose Youth centres with sports, games, recreational and counselling amenities should be piloted in the large PIWC’s to redirect the youth from “betting centres” and “spots” and “Pubs” to encounter Christ. 
  1. Gospel Sundays and One-Member-One-Discipled-Soul  

To the glory of God, these two initiatives have yielded thousands of souls. They should be continued and improved upon at the local assemblies to yield more fruitful results. Members of the local Church should invite unbelievers to Church during the week for Gospel Sundays. Where practicable, special invitation flyers should be designed to help members to prayerfully invite people to church. 

  1. Specialised Ministries  

All the specialized ministries should be revitalized in all local Assemblies. 

  1. Children’s Ministry Evangelism 

The proposals by the Children’s Ministry for evangelism among children should be implemented. 

  1.  Mindset Change – Over the past years, most churches (local churches) have not given the requisite attention to children or the children’s ministry (CM) The Children should be involved in Evangelistic activities and recognised as future leaders. 
  1. Re-branding of the Local Church – Create an environment which is children friendly so as to attract and win more children to Christ and the church.  
  1. The Child is a Soul to be won – Many at times, we do not consider children as key and important to be won for Christ and thus do not even make them a feature in our evangelistic activities. When they come forward during an altar-call they should be received and accounted for. 
  1. Adopt a school initiative (One Church One School) –It encourages the local church to adopt a school. By this, they visit, have devotions with them and sometimes work towards providing for the needs of the school. Through this process they win some of the children to Christ and they are able to have access to the school to share the word of God. 
  1. Own the Community Children’s Club (CCC) – The CCC is an initiative focused on winning children within our communities to the Lord. It uses various approaches such as games (colts’ football) extra classes, cooking etc.) to bring the children together and through these avenues introduce the gospel to them.  
  1. Touch a life program (“I care for you” initiative) Children visiting orphanages and Care Centres and institutions to share the Gospel.  
  1. Digitization – Use of Cartoons, Digital Bibles and Videos appropriate for children. 
  1. Chaplaincy 

The Local Church must reposition itself as an important agent in mobilising members to do this ministry in their areas of jurisdiction through:  

  1. Awareness creation on the nature and importance of the chaplaincy ministry. 
  1. Recruitment of members who have a passion to do chaplaincy ministry. 
  1. Training members on how to do chaplaincy ministry. 
  1. Assessing of institutions and spheres where members can do the ministry. 
  1. Placement of equipped members as Lay Chaplains in institutions. 
  1. Youth Ministry 

From the Youth ministry Directorate, the following recommendations were made: 

  1. Revitalizing evangelism coordinating teams at all levels:  
  1. Encouraging the operationalization of follow-up teams.  
  1. Training and equipping officers and other leaders: Dedicating aspects of the yearly Lay Leadership School or officers retreat to the core values of the Church, especially evangelism will be helpful.  
  1. Exemplary leadership: Encouraging leadership involvement in the evangelistic activities of the local church.   
  1. Good use of small groups and Home Cells for evangelism 
  1. Training and equipping the membership: 
  1. Accountability to the congregation: Making presiding elders/leaders present progress reports to the congregations on soulwinning, follow-up, and discipleship will ginger some members to do more.  
  1. Use of Modern Gadgets and ICT 
  1. Encouraging and resourcing the use of media for evangelism, follow-up, and discipleship. 
  1. Adopting an intergenerational approach in evangelism:  
  1. Prayerful preparation: Prayer must remain an uncompromisable sustained component of evangelism.  
  1. Encouraging inter-Ministries activities in evangelism, follow-up, and discipleship at the local assembly level. 
  1. Posting of willing and trained national service persons who are potential leaders to deprived areas should be fully utilized to enhance church growth and evangelism. 
  1. Collaboration with parachurch groups for example Theovision for Audio Bibles and formation of Bible clubs and the Great Commission for evangelistic materials should be deepened.    
  1. Film evangelism must be utilized regularly and effectively by the local church for evangelism among children, youth and adults. The media unit of the Church and drama groups in the youth ministry and PENSA should develop relevant cartoons, films and documentaries for this type of evangelism. 
  1. The effective use of the youth during holidays, especially the gospel heralds of the Evangelism Ministry, to evangelise and plant churches should be adopted at the local church level to train the next generation to take over the Great Commission. 

5.12 Developing a Culture of Evangelism 

The biggest obstacle to evangelism is Christians who don’t share the Gospel” Albert Mohler 

 ” If you had the cure for cancer, wouldn’t you share it? you have the cure to death, get out there and share it” Rick Warren 

In 2021 membership of the Church was quoted as 10% of Ghana’s population. If every member win one soul a year, the membership of the Church will hit 50% of Ghana’s population in three years. This can be achieved when the local church develops a culture of evangelism through knowledge, change of attitude and practice. A “culture of evangelism,” simply means living a “gospel-centred life”.   

A “culture of evangelism” in the local church should manifest in the following ten daily ways of life. A culture: 

  1. motivated by love for Jesus and His Gospel (2 Cor. 5:14–15).  
  1. of Confidence in the Gospel and its power (Rom. 1:16). 
  1. that understands the times and utilizes appropriate methods to preach the Gospel 
  1. that makes us appreciate, respect, and encourage those we preach to (1 Cor 9:22b). 
  1. which unites us as partners for evangelism (Php. 1:3–5). 
  1. in which people who are sharing their faith are celebrated and acknowledged (Php. 2:19-22). 
  1. that knows how to affirm and celebrate and value new converts (Col. 1:3–4, 7).  
  1. that is ready to suffer for the Gospel and for Christ. 
  1. that models evangelism based on intensive prayer, dependance upon the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and giving. 
  1. in which people train current and future generations to evangelise. 

The following outline summarizes the key and broad strategies to adopt for evangelistic activities. 

  1. The Three Tasks in Evangelism 

The evangelism task can be simply and basically divided into three:  

  1. firstly, a simple gospel message in everybody’s language that is easy to understand and preach and disciple.  
  1. secondly motivating and mobilizing the church today to evangelise  
  1. thirdly training the future generation to carry on with evangelism.   
  1. Seven Ps Plus M&E 
  1. PRAY: Most important human factor in evangelism is prayer (1 Tim. 2:1, 2 Cor. 10:4-5). 
  1. PLAN: Failure to plan means planning to fail. 
  1. PREPARE: Training programmes and teachings are essential  
  1. PAY: Financing evangelism is a very important aspect of the strategy. Do your best to raise enough money and budget for your evangelistic programmes. 
  1. POWER: gifts and unction of the Holy Spirit confirms the word and makes the outreach successful (Acts 1:8). 
  1. PARTICIPATE: The Evangelism team must be carefully and prayerfully assigned for various roles according to gifts, talents and abilities and availability. Every member as a witness principle must also be pursued. 
  1. PRESERVE the harvest: Effective and efficient, committed well-trained team should be set up for follow-up, discipleship and new convert care and classes. 
  1. MONITORING AND EVALUATION: It is essential to evaluate how effective your local evangelistic activities are faring quarterly, half-yearly and annually to improve upon them. 
  1. Methods of Evangelism available  
  1. Proclamation (crusades, rallies, campaigns, ministries joint rally) 
  1. Apologetics: response to current issues and intellectual debates in defense of the Gospel 
  1. Relational or interpersonal evangelism 
  1. Lifestyle evangelism 
  1. Service and social intervention evangelism 
  1. Power Evangelism: Miracles, healings, Signs and Wonders and Spectacular Events 
  1. Media evangelism: printed and electronic 
  1. Child evangelism/community children’s clubs 
  1. Specialised and targeted ministries e.g., HUM, MPWDs, SOM, Chaplaincy, Workers’ Guilds, etc. 
  1. Street and Placard Evangelism 
  1. Festival and Events Evangelism 
  1. One member one discipled soul 
  1. Films, cartoons and documentaries 
  1. Musical concerts and drama evangelism  
  1. Schools’ evangelism 
  1. Medical outreaches and hospital evangelism to communities, the sick, relatives and staff  
  1. Gospel Sundays and other invitational evangelism like Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Meetings. 
  1. Sports Evangelism 


In this post-modern era, it is becoming quite complicated to retain new converts.  Without effective measures to keep and retain new converts, there cannot be efficient discipleship. Without discipleship there cannot be church planting. Without church planting, the evangelistic cycle of the Great Commission is not complete.  One creative way to the local church to reposition herself for the Great Commission is the Home Church Concept. 

  1. What is a Home Church? 

A home or house church is a small gathering of new converts who meet primarily in homes to share fellowship together and normally have unpaid lay leaders.  They may meet in coffee shops, restaurants, or on university campuses, under trees, in houses or any other convenient places. The home church is decentralized in structure just like the home cell concept of The Church of Pentecost. The difference between the Home Cell and the Home Church is that the Home Church gathers together new converts like a shepherd provides a pen for the sheep. The intention is to keep the new converts together, to retain them, for aggressive follow up and intentional discipleship to establish them in the faith, to develop them into a nursery assembly and eventually turn them into a fully-fledged local Church. Retention of new converts and the need for a robust discipleship to produce Christ-like believers remains the leading reason for the Home Church Concept.  

  1. Early Apostles’ Approach  

In terms of operations, governance and growth, the church is organised at three main levels in the New Testament:  

  1. a gathering of believers in someone’s home, for example, Gaius, Lydia, Aquila & Prisciilla (Acts 16:40;1Cor 16:19). 
  1. a gathering of believers in a town or city (Acts 16:12;) 
  1. a gathering of believers within a province, regional or area (1 Cor 16:19) 

The early Apostles relied heavily on home meetings (Home Churches) to keep the local churches strong and effective. A study of the New Testament shows that on the Day of Pentecost three thousand converts were won for the Church. On another outreach, five thousand souls were added to the Church. Though they met regularly in the temple courts, the twelve Apostles maintained home meetings (Home Churches) to take care and to disciple the new believers.  

Some examples in the New Testament are:  

  1. Acts 2:46 “… They broke bread in their homes and ate together in their homes with glad and sincere hearts”.  
  1. Acts 5:42 “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching….”  
  1. Acts 10:24,48 Apostle Peter established a Home Church in Cornelius’ house at Caesarea.  
  1. Acts 12:12 “… he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.”  
  1. Pauline Approach 

Apostle Paul magnified the Great Commission in gentile communities and provinces through converting many souls, discipling them and planting churches in every community. One distinct method Apostle Paul relied upon was the Home Church. Apostle Paul regularly gathered new converts into private homes for fellowship. For instance,  

  1. Acts 20:20 “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house…” 
  1. Lydia’s house in Philippi may have been Europe’s first church (Acts 16:14-15, 40). 
  1. In Corinth, some believers evidently met in the homes of Gaius (Rom. 16:23), of Stephanus (I Cor. 16: 5, 15), and of Chloe (I Cor. 1:11).  
  1. Paul tells us his habit was to teach “publicly and from house to house” (Acts 20:20). 
  1. Philemon 1:2 “And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house…” 
  1. Romans 16:5 “Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia unto Christ.” 
  1. Contemporary American Practice 

George Barna estimates that, at least, one million Americans have shifted to small groups, worshiping primarily in homes or businesses. According to Barna, by 2025, 70% percent of Christians will be worshiping in homes, which he termed “alternative faith communities.” The recent COVID-19 pandemic made this prediction more fulfilling in our generation. Mega churches in Europe, America and around the world could not meet in cathedrals but rather utilized technology to reach out to families at their homes. In Ghana, leadership of the Church of Pentecost encouraged “family and friends’ meetings in homes” which effectively kept the local churches running effectively till the end of the pandemic.  

  1. Strategic Approach 
  1. Mobilisation of squads for aggressive evangelism. For example, one Area of the church (in Ghana) mobilized 1,000 strong Army Squad and equipped them as a prayer and evangelistic force. They were released to win souls and to open 347 Home Churches across the Area. 
  1. Train and equip them to win souls and to ‘house’ them in homes close to them and give them leaders.  
  1. During the training sessions, each local church should identify a location for the evangelistic outreach and to open a Home Church.  
  1. Criteria for selecting a Home Church location should be a place or location quite distant from an existing local church or a village, cottage or hamlet where there is no Church of Pentecost assembly.  
  1.  Each ministry can be encouraged to identify a location or a settlement for an outreach and to open a Home Church. In this case, the size of the community does not matter. As long as human beings live there, an outreach can be held there to win souls.  
  1. Once a soul is won, a matured Christian should be sent to hold regular church meetings with the new convert(s) while evangelistic activities continue to win more souls at that location.  
  1. In a short time, more souls will be won, and the Home Church can be upgraded to a nursery assembly and eventually a local church.  
  1. By this strategy, every village, cottage or hamlet will have the presence of the Church of Pentecost. Big towns with new developing sites quite far from the chapel can also start meetings with the new converts and with time another local church is birthed from scratch.  
  1. This concept is meant to stop loss of new converts and to make the Great Commission more effective leading to church growth numerically and spiritually.  


Taking some inspiration from the CoP Cyprus’ approach to evangelism as recently shared by our dear Chairman, Apostle Eric Nyamekye, during a live broadcast to all PIWCs in Ghana, we can practicalise the local Church’s evangelism drive by answering the following questions: 

  1. Who are we trying to evangelize? 
  1. Where do we find them? 
  1. How do we bring them in? 
  1. How do we keep them? 
  1. How do we grow them? 
  1. How do we unleash them or send them? 
  1. Networking and team working: can we learn from others or team up with them (my own addition)? 

It is time to open up to the Holy Spirit to do new things in the Church beginning from the local church. The local church should develop a culture of evangelism with the understanding that she is the chosen and best method for evangelism. Daily life of holiness, demonstration of love and sharing the gospel is required for the Lord to add more souls to the local church (Acts 2:46-47). 


  1. All Bible references were taken from the New International Version unless otherwise stated. 
  1. Barna, George, Millennials of America
  1. Berko, Samuel, Apostle Samuel Berko, Biblically Proven Strategies to Multiply your Church, Under Publication. 
  1. Heward-Mills, Dag, Tell Them. London: Parchment House Publishers, 2011. 
  1. Opoku Onyinah & Ntumy, Michael (Editors) God’s Faithfulness to the Church of Pentecost. Accra: Pentecost Press Limited, 2019. 
  1. Osborne, T. L., Soul Winning. Tulsa: Harrison House Publishers, 2000. 
  1. Stiles, Mack J., EVANGELISM – How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus. Wheaton: Crossway Publishers, 2014. 
  1. Ghana Evangelism Committee Unreached People Groups in Ghana 2020 
  1. Population and Housing Census of Ghana 2021. 
  1. The Church of Pentecost Evangelism Ministry: Study and Training Manual For Holistic Evangelism. The Church of Pentecost 2019. 
The Local Church Upholding the Value Of Godliness


“But godliness with contentment is great gain” 1 Timothy‬ 6:6‬ (ASV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 


We cannot give to the world what we don’t have. We are called to set our light to shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our father which is in heaven (Mt. 5:16‬). ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬The church must pursue godliness, as we keep in view the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the judgment that awaits us. We are building for the Lord a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Eph. 5:27)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬Every member of the church must uphold this value of godliness as we patiently and diligently wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour Jesus Christ. So, the Bible says, “looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit.‬ 2:13‬, ASV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 


2.1 What is the Church? 

Mcguire (2022) posits that when Jesus used the term church, it was not new. It was a phrase that would have been often used in the community. According to ancient understanding, it was first known as an assembly before being called the church. Particularly, this gathering resembled a legislative or political assembly. Jesus in mentioning the “Church” in Matthew 16:16-18 was essentially saying that the reign and control of the Kingdom of God would come through His church. It is far more than just a fellowship or a Wednesday or Sunday night get-together. 

2.2 What is a Local Church?  

In my understanding, the local church is the body of believers in a given locality, empowered to influence their environment, as light to dispel darkness, through the preaching of the gospel, the exemplary demonstration of godly character, acts of good works and life of purity.  Notably, the church is the epicentre of godliness and righteousness.  

According to Leeman (2014), in his article, “what is the local church”, he identifies the local church as a congregation of Christians that regularly meets in the name of Jesus Christ to affirm and oversee one another’s adherence to the gospel and the ordinances of the gospel. He identifies the local church with the following characteristics:  

  • group of Christians 
  • regular gathering 
  • a congregation-wide exercise of affirmation and oversight 
  • the purpose of officially representing Christ and His rule on earth – they gather in His name 
  • the use of preaching and ordinances for these purposes 
  1. What is Godliness? 

In pagan literature, godliness implies the manifestation of cautiousness, fear and appropriate respect towards the gods in offering sacrifices and other cultural activities. The gods were honoured by giving respect to elders, opinion leaders and chiefs who were believed to be protected by them.  In Biblical understanding however, the term communicates different meanings. According to Bridges (2018), godliness is devotion to God that results in a life pleasing to Him. It can be viewed as the quality of being devoutly religious; piety or the quality or practice of conforming to the laws and wishes of God; devoutness and moral uprightness. 

Bridges (2018) asserts that, there is no higher compliment that can be paid to a Christian than to call him a godly person. He might be a conscientious parent, a zealous church worker, a dynamic spokesman for Christ, or a talented Christian leader, but none of these things matters if, at the same time, he is not a godly person. All teachings should instigate godliness and incite obedience to the exigencies of the word of God.  

2.3.1 Some examples of godly people 


Jesus is our model of excellence in manifesting godliness (submission to God). He is the source of godliness and the essence of godliness. “Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear” (Heb.‬ 5:7‬, ASV)‬. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 


A devout man who venerated God and treated Him with reverential obedience and had a good report in his community. Acts 22:12 reads, “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well reported of by all the Jews that dwelt there. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 


Cornelius was a gentile and a centurion but was also a devout man who truly feared God with all his household and gave alms to the people and prayed to God always. He exemplifies how we can together with our household live a life of godliness. Acts 10:1-2. 


Paul was a man whose sense of righteousness or godliness was towards the Jewish law but on meeting Jesus, his pride for life and service was on God through the knowledge of Christ and the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. He serves as an example for those who seek to live godly lives in our corrupt world. Gal. 2:17-20 (ASV) reads, 

“But if, while we sought to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also were found sinners, is Christ a minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build up again those things which I destroyed, I prove myself a transgressor. For I through the law died unto the law, that I might live unto God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.”  

2.3.2 Scriptural references of godliness 

  1. Godliness is a way of life that honors God Coming from an authentic knowledge of God and his grace manifested in Jesus Christ. 

1 Timothy 3:16 (ASV) – And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, received up in glory. 

1 Timothy 4:7-8 (ASV) – But refuse profane and old wives’ fables. And exercise thyself unto godliness: for bodily exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.  

Titus‬ 1‬:1 (ASV)‬ – Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness. ‬‬ ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 

  1. Believers must understand that godliness come with persecutions, sufferings but the Lord God shall rescue us from them.  

2 Timothy‬ 3‬:10‬-12 (ASV) – But thou didst follow my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience, persecutions, sufferings; what things befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: and out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. ‬ .‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 

c. It is a requirement of Grace  

Titus‬ 2‬:11‬-12 (ASV) – ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 

d. It is Christian principles which is a power given by Christ.  

2 Peter 1:3 (ASV) – Seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue.  

2 Timothy 3:5 (ASV) – Holding a form of godliness but having denied the power thereof: from these also turn away.  


 Four main sources of godly living include: 

  1. The knowledge of God  

Essentially, knowing God has effects on one’s spirituality and morality. Knowing God is imperative for godliness. It is our principal subject of glory to Him (2Pet. 1:2-4, Jer. 9:23-24, Php. 3:8-11). 

  1. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬Transformed life / newness of life‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 

In Christ we are a new creation, the old things or way of life has given way to the new one in Christ, and we have become partakers of divine nature. The newness of life uncompromisingly is a requirement of all authentic born-again Christians (2 Cor. 5:17, Gal. 6:14-15, Rom. 6:2-4, Php. 3:3-8).  


  1. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬The Love of our Heavenly Father ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 

The salvation we have obtained in Christ, the baptism and presence of the Holy Spirit and our continual dependence on the inspired word of God, automatically ignites, and sustains our deep love for God. He first loved us, and we respond to His sacrifice and love by our godliness. This is necessary in keeping us on the track of godliness (1 Jh. 4:19). 

  1. The Power of the Cross 

The message of the power of the cross is the central theme of the Bible. Paul emphasised on the power of the cross and its effects on the sinner way above any other treasure he could have gloried in. 

Possible sources in which Paul could boast or glory included his education, religious belonging, his Roman citizenship and his linguistic capacity. But only on the cross and the power therein did he make his boast. Paul did that for these following reasons: 

  1. Colossians 2:14-15‬ ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 
  • By the cross we have the forgiveness of sin., 
  • We have liberation from racial prejudice, 
  • From adulterous life and perversion. 
  • The cross is hope, restored  
  • Is suppression of the powers of demons, principalities and even death. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 
  1. Colossians‬ 1:20‬ ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 
  • The cross gives a newness of life.  
  • Is our motivation for service. 
  • Is our procurement of peace.  
  1. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬Revelation‬ 5:4-10‬ ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 
  • ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬The cross is our guarantee for eternal life. 


The presence of these positive lifestyles or the absence of the negative ones listed below is an indication that we are living godly lives. It is expected that we mature in godliness as we seek to become more and more like Christ. 

  1. Good temper (controlled anger) (Jam. 1:19-20; Gen. 49:5-7) 
  1. Continuous reliance on the word of God and the daily appetite to read and obey (Ps. 119:105; Ps. 119:129-130) 
  1. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬The teaching of pure doctrine – when we love sound doctrine and pass it on to others, it’s an indication that we are being godly. Godliness is not only about what we do but also what we teach (2 Tim. 2:15-16). ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 
  1. Acts of good works that impacts the community and is well spoken of (Mt. 5:14-16).  
  1. Life full of joy and peace – Godly people eschew quarrels, divisions, hatred, and all forms of ungodliness. 

‬‬‬‬‬‬‬The local assembly is the seat of Christ, the salt and light of the locality within which the assembly is located. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬As salt is a preservative against corruption, light is to expose corruption. Our good works must show the world the way of godliness as against their ungodliness. This should be our rule throughout life journey. “For ye were once darkness but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord; and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them”‬‬‬‬‬‬ (Eph.‬ 5:8-11‬, ASV)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 

The members of the local assembly must live above reproach and become examples for others to emulate. When people are looking for good examples to follow, they must learn it from the individual members living in the community. Each member should be so much disciplined and holy that we shall be good models without filth or blemish.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ We are to live circumspectly because of our observers for we are so much looked at (Php. 2:15, Jam. 3:13-14). 


People must through our good works appreciate Christianity and glorify not us but our Father which is in heaven. Seeing our good works, they will see the power of God’s grace in us. 


  1. a means to glorify God (2 Cor. 1:12).  
  1. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬Rescues from trials (2 Pet. 2:9, Dan. 11:32)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 
  1. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬The godly people will firmly resist the enemy.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 
  1. Godliness hold promises for this present life the life to come (2 Pet. 3:10-13). ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 
  1. Ungodliness provokes God’s wrath (Rom. 1:18) 
  1. The ungodly stifles the truth, arouse the worship of things created in place of the creator and leads to relations and attitude contrary to righteousness (Rom. 1:18) 


In this presentation, I have sought to remind us that godliness is a value that should be upheld by the local Church. The local church is a light and as light in this dark world, it’s imperative that we let the light of our good deeds shine for men to see and glorify God. Again, I have mentioned that to be godly is to show honour to God and this come from an authentic knowledge of God. The church must also realise that in living a godly life, it is not without suffering and persecution. It comes as part of the package of godliness. In this age where the doctrine of suffering is being removed from certain circles, we must endeavour to reinforce this teaching and the endurance thereof. The power of the life in Christ is a derivative of godliness in the believer. Therefore, the believer is naturally motivated to live a life of godliness aided by the Holy Spirit. 

There are tools which from which godliness is sourced from. These include the knowledge of God. Also, a transformed life must not be only at heart but must be translated in lifestyle-that is a life of godliness. The love of our heavenly father and the sacrifice of His beloved son on the cross should be a motivation for our subsequent love and sacrifice as we pursue godliness. The message of the power of the cross should be evidently sown in the hearts of the local church from which the effects of this power become the light of this life in Christ Jesus 

I again emphasised a few metrics by which the local Church can measure itself to see whether it is maturing in godliness.  Are the members of the local church growing in the fruit of the spirit, are they full of joy peace, do they continually rely on God’s word and seek Him daily, etc.? All these and more are yardsticks by which we can measure godliness. Additionally, the local church should be a place where we teach the truth of the word of God. Godliness does not lie in the spectrum of the lifestyle alone but also in the teaching of the right doctrine. This again must be reinforced at the local church. The local church must be a conduit for truth. 



Bridges, J. (2018). The discipline of grace. NavPress. 

Mcguire, T. (n.d). Universal Church vs Local Church: Differences & Similarities 

Leeman, J. (2014, August 22). What Is a Local Church? 9marks.  

Stoking the Fire of the Holy Spirit, Living in the Fear Of God in the Local Church



Jesus told the disciples to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit before doing ministry. From the Day of Pentecost, when they had been baptized by the power of the Holy Spirit, they were equipped to go into the world. Signs and wonders followed their ministration, and they were continually filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. One major characteristic of the early church that made a major impact in their communities, nations and wherever they went was the fear of God in the church. Unbelievers who hear them were gripped with the fear of God and got converted. If the church of today would experience the power and manifestation of the Holy Spirit in larger proportions, then the church must learn to fear God. 

The fear of God brings boldness to serve. Oswald Chambers has said that “The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else” There is boldness to preach the word of God because the fear of God keeps one from sin. For “he who does not fear God has need to fear everything else” (Anon). The fear of God should therefore be the preoccupation of every Christian. “If Jesus in his humanity delighted in the fear of God, surely we need to give serious thought to cultivating this attitude in our lives” (Jerry Bridges). This presentation will look at what the fear of God is and offer suggestions as to how to stoke the fire of the Holy Spirit in the church. 


2.1 What is the Fear of God? 

The fear of God means having a deep respect, reverence and awe for God’s power and authority. It is to honor God with your life in such a way that you would not do anything in word or deed to displease him. The following are some of the description of the fear of God in the Bible. 

  1. Obedience to God’s Word 

In Genesis chapter 22:1-12, God told Abraham to go and sacrifice his only son as a burnt offering to him. Abraham obeyed without any reservation and the following morning he set off to go and do exactly as the Lord has told him. Whiles in the act of his sacrifice, God intervened and said “Now I know that you fear God.” At this instance, God equated Abraham’s total obedience to his fear for God. When Christians or the church of God totally obey God at His every instruction and word, it gives an indication of the fear of God in the church. 

  1. Unconditional Sacrifice 

When the local church is willing to sacrifice unconditionally their substance, self, time, energy, resources to building the church of God, it can be said that, the church is living in the fear of God. In Genesis 22:12, when God commended Abraham for his fear for him, he gave the reason that “because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” The church must, therefore, understand that God desires our whole self as a living sacrifice to him as admonished by Paul in Romans 12:1 
1” Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship (Rom. 12:1, NIV).” 

  1. Compassion for Others 

The fear of God can also cause people to deal kindly and compassionately with others. When people fear God, they tend to treat others with godly kindness. In Genesis 42:1-18, when Joseph had the opportunity to revenge his brothers selling him into Egypt, he rather said “Do this and you will live, for I fear God.” He did not pay evil with evil because he feared God. 

  1. Refraining from Evil 

Those who fear God refrain from evil and stop sinning. Referring to Job 1:1, “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil,” it is noted that Job shunned evil because he feared God. He was therefore blameless and upright. He was a man of integrity. When members are full of the fear of God, society can be impacted positively. 

Those who fear God do not condone to sin even if it will cost their life. In Exodus 1:17, the midwives who were commanded by the king of Egypt to kill the Hebrew boys refrained from doing so because they “feared God.” God was pleased with them and blessed them with children of their own. The fear of God, therefore, means keeping away from evil and sin not when it is convenient and easy to do so but when it is dangerous and there is the threat of death. But take courage and stand your ground as Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”  

  1. Keeping the Commands of God 

The fear of God demands keeping all of God’s decrees and commands. 

These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2  so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life (Deut. 6:1-2, NIV). 

  1. Walking in the Ways of God 

12  And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13  and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? (Deut. 10:12-13). 

  1. Loving God 

12  And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13  and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?  

  1. Serving God with Heart and Soul 

20  Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21  He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes (Deut. 10:20-21). 

14 “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD (Josh. 24:14).  

  1. Fearing God or Being Afraid of God 

The fear of God actually involves having deep reverence or respect for God, exercising careful obedience to His word, having a feeling of awe, that is, respect combined with fear or wonder and being sincerely afraid of God.  

Moses became very much afraid of God anytime the children of Israel sinned. Even though Moses could speak face to face with God and was a friend of God, he had seen how God had dealt with them when they became disobedient and worshipped other gods as he indicated below. 

18 Then once again I fell prostrate before the LORD for forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water, because of all the sin you had committed, doing what was evil in the LORD’s sight and so provoking him to anger. 19 I feared the anger and wrath of the LORD, for he was angry enough with you to destroy you. But again the LORD listened to me.  
20 And the LORD was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him, but at that time I prayed for Aaron too. 21 Also I took that sinful thing of yours, the calf you had made, and burned it in the fire. Then I crushed it and ground it to powder as fine as dust and threw the dust into a stream that flowed down the mountain (Deut 9:18-21). 

From the above, Moses had to fast for forty days and nights pleading before God because he feared the Lord might destroy the children of Israel for their sins. This understanding of the fear of God creates the awareness that there are consequences for sin and, therefore, the believer must live a holy life before the God of love who is also the God of justice.  

  1. The Fear of God in the New Testament Church 

In the New Testament, God is more revealed as the loving and forgiving Father, who gives to men the spirit of sonship, thereby becoming his children. We are not to fear since we have become co-heirs with Christ and can call God Abba Father (Rom. 8:15-17; 2 Tim. 1:7; 1 John 4:18). We are also to come before him with boldness to the throne of grace with confidence and assurance that God will receive us (Heb. 4:16; Heb. 10:19-23). 

This position often times overshadows the total nature of God and reduces genuine fear of God among Christians today. Some have incorrectly overstretched the doctrine of grace and thought that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament and therefore deals differently with people under different dispensations. We will be more accurate when we talk about the God of the Bible who is the same yesterday, today and forever. 

Let us examine an incidence in the New Testament Church. 

3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him (Acts 5:3-6, NIV). 

This was a fundraising program in the Early Church. Jesus had died, resurrected, ascended and interceding for the church and yet this happened to a member of the church. Peter made Ananias aware that he had lied to the Holy Spirit. God struck him dead, and later his wife Sapphira, and that restored great fear of God in the local church. So, as family of believers we are to fear God in the church and at the workplace (1 Pet. 2:17-18). The following is how Hebrews put it when grace is abused.  

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.  
28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb 10:26-31) 

The church is entreated to fear God. 

6  Then I saw another angel flying in mid-air, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth–to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7  He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Rev. 14:6-7) 


Among the many factors needed to be employed to keep the fire of the Holy Spirit burning in the local church is the fear of God. The absence of the fear of God in the church breeds sin and all forms of impurities, and such grieve the Holy Spirit and eventually quench the Spirit’s fire in the church (Eph 4:30). Members would therefore have to be taught to carry the fear of God into all their pursuits of life, eschewing all forms of evil. 

  1. The Fear of God and Baptism of the Holy Spirit 
  1. The Household of Cornelius 

Acts chapter 10 narrates the story of a centurion at Caesarea called Cornelius. He is described as a devout man and God-fearing who gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly (Acts 10:2). He is also commended for instilling the fear of God among his entire household. His worship to God was recognized by God and was rewarded with the gift of the Holy Spirit at the time the Jews were skeptical in bringing the fire of the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles. It is important to note that those who fear the Lord are always remembered by the Lord and nothing can obstruct their blessings from the Lord. 

  1. Cornelius’ Vision 

Cornelius received a special visitation from an angel sent by God and commended him for his good works. He acted on the instruction given by the angel of God. This act of obedience commensurate with the fear he has for the Lord. Even though Cornelius, at this time, had not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, his fear of God and love of God caused him to see visions as prophesied by Joel that young men will see visions when the Spirt is poured on all people (Joel 2:28). 

  1. Peter’s Vision 

Cornelius prayer also caused Peter to receive a corresponding vision as he was praying. Peter initially was not willing to obey what God was telling him until God made him to understand that he should not discredit what he has sanctified (Acts 10:9-15). 

  1. Peter and Some Jews Visit Cornelius at Caesarea 

Before the arrival of Peter and friends, Cornelius had gathered his household together with his relatives and close friends. Cornelius was ready for God and did not want to experience him alone. Peter was still not sure why he had entered the home of a Gentile and told the gathering that it was 2727unlawful to be in their midst but God had instructed him to be there (Acts 10:23-29). When there is the fear of God among members, the unexpected happens. 

  1. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles 

While Peter was presenting the gospel message to the congregation, the Holy Spirit poured out on them, and they spoke in tongues and praised God. Peter had earlier remarked that “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” (Acts 10:34-35). This is a clear indication that the fear of God can stoke the fire of the Holy Spirit. The local church should, therefore, be concerned that members live in the fear of God to allow the fire of the Holy Spirit to be exhibited in the church. 

  1. The Fear of God and Signs and Wonders 

Signs and wonders were marks of the early church. In Acts 2:43, Luke records that “Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.” Being filled with awe meant that there was a godly fear, that is, the fear of God with the consciousness that sin brings displeasure and judgment of God amongst members in the local church. Furthermore, there was a holy sense of God’s presence and the consciousness that God was working amongst the church. 

This virtue in the church caused the apostles to perform many signs and wonders. The crippled walked, the blind saw and the dead was raised. The fear of God in the church may bring about the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the church. According to 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, there are gifts that must be manifested in the church. 

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.  

Where there is fear in the church the gifts of revelation, of power and of faith are constantly in operation. 

  1. Stoking the Fire of the Holy Spirit in the Local Church 

Just as God instructed Aaron and his sons to ensure that the fire on the altar keeps burning, without going out (Lev 6:8-12), so should be the fire of the Holy Spirit in the local church. The following regulations were to be followed by Aaron and his sons. 

  1. Keep the burnt offering on the altar hearth always 
  1. The priests to wear linen clothes and linen undergarments 
  1. Remove ashes from the altar 
  1. Throw out the ashes outside the camp 
  1. Add firewood every morning 
  1. Keep the fire burning day and night 

In providing the New Testament perspective of these regulations, the following may be considered in stoking and keeping the fire of the fire of the Holy Spirit in the church at all times. 

  1. Christ has been eternally offered to the church (Heb 7:27; 1 Pet. 3:18). The gospel message must be preached always. Christ who died and was raised to atone for our sins must be preached always. Salvation message in the church is key for members to understand their salvation. This is the beginning point in dealing with sin in the church. 
  1. The linen clothes symbolize the clothing of righteousness, the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21; Rev. 19:8). Ministers of God must keep themselves holy and pure, wearing the righteousness of Christ in order to lead other members in righteousness and holiness in the church. 
  1. All forms of sins (ashes) must be removed from the church. Sin must be dealt with. Church discipline must be encouraged for ashes have the ability to quench the fire as sin has the ability to quench the manifestation of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 5:6-8; 1 Thess. 5:19). 
  1. Ashes outside the camp may refer to Jesus Christ who bore the penalty of sin outside the camp. Through him, sin has been removed and taken away (Heb. 13:13). Sin must therefore not be entertained but members must be taught to lead holy lives. 
  1. The daily activities of the New Testament church were: devotion to teaching and preaching, strong fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer (Acts 2:42). These were the activities that preceded the fear of God that stoked the fire of the Holy Spirit. The local church must therefore daily practice these activities to always keep the fire of the Holy Spirit burning. 
  1. Keeping the fire burning always means subjecting all activities of the church to the work of the Holy Spirit. 

A careful examination of the activities of the early church reveal the following.  

  • Evangelism was done through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4) 
  • Working of miracles were manifested through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 3:1-10).  
  • The church defended the faith by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8-13) 
  • Church finance was subjected to the direction of the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4) 
  • Church administration was under the direction of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:1-7) 
  • Decision-making was led by the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28-29) 


The Holy Spirit continues to manifest himself in various ways in the local church. We continually see sinners being saved and added to the church. We see signs and wonders being manifested in the church. But it is time to create maximum impact by stoking the fire of the Holy Spirit in bigger proportion through the fear of God. People were gripped with fear when they saw the miracles of Jesus. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today” (Luke 5:26). Similarly, fear came over the church when they saw the solemn demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit displayed by the apostles concerning Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:5, 11). 

The fear spread to the unbelieving community through what was seen, and it brought honour to God. Many people got converted and the word of God grew in power. People, therefore, come to fear God when the word of God is preached in power with signs and wonders following. 

17  When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18  Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. 19  A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20  In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power (Acts 19:17-20). 

The local church is also admonished to act in the fear of God when dealing with the wider society. “Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery” (2 Chron. 19:7). Men who fear God are needed to lead society. But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens” (Ex. 18:21).  

The Psalmist continues that “In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him” (Psalm 89:7). Furthermore, everything that is done in this life must be done with the fear of God as the guiding principle. “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13). 


The church of God is admonished to live in the fear of God. When the teaching of the fear of God is downplayed in the church, there is the tendency for sin to thrive. Also, the understanding and the teaching about the grace of God sometimes overshadowed reasons for the church to live in the fear of God. When the fear of God is in operation in the church, the fire of the Holy Spirit is always rekindled and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit becomes more prominent.  

To the believer, the fear of God brings wisdom and understanding (Prov. 1:7; 9:10). The fear of God saves us from trouble. It is a fountain of life that turns one from the snares of death (Prov. 14:27) and keeps one from immorality (Prov. 6:24). It keeps the believer closer to God (Psalm 25:14; 1 John 1:7) and brings untold blessings (Psalm 31:19; 33:18). The believer who fears God seeks to honor and please him at all times. The fear of God in the church is able to translate into our communities when they see the power of God at work in the church. The fire of God must be kept burning always. 


R. T. Kendall, Understanding Theology: The Means of Developing a Healthy Church in the 21st Century, Ross-shire: Christian Focus Publications, 2000. 

Sacrificial Giving And Tithing



Repositioning the local church for maximum impact has implications for every aspect of the church’s life and ministry, not least the aspect of sacrificial giving and tithing. The significant role money plays in resourcing and developing the church cannot be overemphasized. The institutional structure of the Church of Pentecost (CoP), the quality of both our ministerial and non-ministerial human resources, landed properties, and other assets constitute a monumental tribute to the generosity of our teeming church members over the years. And this year, as we seek to reposition the church for greater impact, the need to encourage sacrificial giving and dedicated tithing becomes critical. If the generosity and selfless giving of our forebears have brought the church to its current status, we can only reposition the church by emulating or exceeding their sacrificial giving, and generosity towards God’s work. Hence the focus of this presentation is to examine sacrificial giving in general, with much attention on tithes from biblical and CoP perspectives. 

2.0 Sacrificial Giving 

Giving in essence dates back to the time of creation and began with God Himself. In other words, giving, kindness, and generosity are divine attributes that God graciously shares with humankind. God’s giving is manifest in His willingness to give the whole treasure of His creation to mankind.  God gave life to man by breathing into his nostrils, the garden of Eden, every plant yielding seed as food in the garden and finally gave him a wife: 

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground — everything that has the breath of life in it — I give every green plant for food.” And it was so (Genesis 1:29-30). 

The books of Proverbs and James also indicate that God gives wisdom and does so generously (Proverbs 2:6; James 1:5). The Bible, therefore, suggests that giving is part of God’s nature, and Jesus echoed this reality when He said “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16) NIV.  Apostle Paul also observed: 

Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” (Acts 14:17).  

God’s kindness and generosity are manifest in His provision, care and protection for humanity. Even when Adam and Eve rebelled by eating the forbidden fruit, God gave them animal skin to cover their nakedness, and promised a Saviour to save humanity from sin. Paul underscores this when he stated:        

“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).  

Since God made us in His own image, we ought to bear His divine nature by doing what He does. The first recorded offering in the Bible was by Cain and Abel. They each gave what they had. The Bible does not suggest that they were taught or coerced, even though that of Cain was not accepted. Thus, it can be said that generosity as a divine and moral quality is shared by humanity.   

2.1 Principle Guiding Christian Giving  

One manifestation of the image of God in human beings is the capacity for kindness and generosity. The ability and willingness of human beings to give to help others and institutions is a significant aspect of the human narrative that has to be celebrated. Giving is undergirded by the two principles of gratitude and stewardship. Gratitude issues out of the sense of appreciation we have for some thing or someone. Human beings give to God, not because He needs it, but to register our thankfulness for all that He has done for us. What we give to God is a token out of what He has given to us. Those who are stingy are often compared to a child whose mother gave him bread, and when the same mother asked for a piece, the child was unwilling to give her part of the loaf. This makes giving a moral obligation, indicating that those who are stingy with their resources are ungrateful and selfish.  

The second principle guiding Christian giving is the concept of stewardship. If we acknowledge our dependence on God for the gift of life and all that sustain life, then we must always be conscious of our responsibility and accountability to the giver. Invariably, we are accountable to God for the application of the talents, resources, and opportunities He has blessed us with. The percentage of our resources we offer to God and to charitable causes is something we will account and will be rewarded for. 

2.2 The Bible and Sacrificial Giving  

Sacrificial giving in support of God’s work was instituted by Moses, to help maintain the Levites and the temple as a religious establishment. In the New Testament, the church and its functionaries are also sustained by the generosity of believers.  

Giving in the Old Testament was in two broad categories namely: giving to God and giving to man. The first giving category included various offerings: vows, wave, free will, sin, grain, guilt and all sacrifices which went along with rules and regulations (Leviticus 22: 17-31). Others were dedication of first-born offspring, first fruits (Numbers 18:8-20) and tithe (Numbers 18:21-31). As long as they lived, they were to give these offerings to ensure unbroken fellowship or relationship with the Lord.  

The second category of giving is to other human beings, which involved support to the poor (alms-giving); taking no interest on lending; and making no profit out of them (Leviticus 25:35-46). By this, God implicitly indicated that He recognises the ministry of human beings. Giving was, therefore, to be a godly lifestyle everywhere and every time by every Israelite. On the whole, biblical giving (to God and man) can be grouped into four: The Offerings, the First Fruits, Alms-giving, and Tithes.  

  1. The offerings 

 Offerings are more of free will. Here, the believer determines how much offerings they want to give. The Bible, however, indicates that the more one gives, the more they receive (Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6). We can think of it as the more seeds one sows, the more fruits one can harvest.  

  1. The First Fruits  

The first fruits concept emanated from the Passover night when God killed all the firstborns of the Egyptians and consecrated to Himself all the first-borns of Israel (that is whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both man and beast Exodus 13:1-2). God made a distinction between first fruits that were redeemable—that is, convertible into silver (first-borns of man and unclean animals) and first fruits of other animals like the cow that were not redeemable. With the introduction of the Priesthood, God gave the first fruits to Aaron and his sons as a perpetual due. According to the Bible, Jericho was the first city attacked by the Israelites after they crossed the Jordan River and entered Canaan. The concept of first fruits was applied to cover the first booty obtained from the conquest of Jericho.  These items were devoted the treasury of the Lord (Joshua 6:19).    

The first fruits offering found its fulfilment in Jesus. “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Today, the first fruit represents every new blessing that a child of God receives. This includes the full amount of one’s first salary from a new job, or an increase in salary. Giving of first fruits is a concrete way of honouring God (Proverbs 3:9) and shows how grateful one is for the blessings received from God.  

  1. Alms-giving  

Unlike those two types of giving above which should be given to God, alms were given to fellow humans. God encouraged alms-giving in recognition of the poor among His people. It is depicted in the Bible as helping the poor in diverse ways and incorporated into detailed instructions in the celebration of the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:35-55). Alms-giving was even linked to God’s chosen fast: 

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to lose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (Isaiah 58:6-7). 

Also, Proverbs 3:27-28 states that: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbour, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it” ― when you have it with you”.  

Jesus acknowledges that we will always have the poor in the society (Matthew 26: 11) and gave instructions on alms-giving (Matthew 5:42; Luke 18:22).  The Early Church put in place a beautiful system by which there was no needy person among them implying that the poor was not neglected (Acts 4:32-37).   

God recognises that all of us can help the needy and expects us to do so with the purest of intentions ― a selfless act based on compassion and sympathy. God instituted these alms-giving measures because every human being bears His image, and since poverty is part of the results of the fall of man, almsgiving is one of the physical measures God uses through mankind to alleviate suffering. In fact, there are some consequences for not helping the poor: “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered” (Proverbs 21:13); and he who hides his eyes will get many a curse (Proverbs 28: 27b).  However, those who consider the poor will have bestowed upon them blessings such as deliverance, protection, restoration of health, and protection from enemies (Proverbs 28:27a; Psalm 41:1-3).  

In summary, sacrificial giving honours God. Anytime we give something out of our resources to support God’s work or help other people, we are honouring God who deserves our all. It is also a recognition of Him as our provider on whom we absolutely depend for our livelihood. 


Tithing has become a controversial subject among Christians of today, and the more reflections we have on it, the better we would appreciate its import in the context of Christian worship. The main argument is that tithing belongs to the Old Testament and is not for New Testament Christianity. Proponents of this position would always argue:  

  1. If tithing was that important, why didn’t Jesus or the apostles of the early Church teach about it?” 
  1. Tithe can be paid anywhere and should not necessarily be restricted to the local church. Those who hold such view are not comfortable with the concept of ‘storehouse’ as mentioned in the book of Malachi. 
  1. God’s blessings are not necessarily predicated on tithing. Giving offerings in church is enough. The Church should not insist on tithing. Holders of such view believe that they are self-made people, hence, tithing makes no difference to them.  
  1. The tither can distribute the tithe among some targeted needy groups such as the orphans, widows, the physically challenged etc., and that is equivalent to tithing. This stems from the notion that the Church is receiving too much, but is not giving back to the society.       

These dissenting views are due largely to misunderstanding or inadequate biblical teachings. Many a time, prejudice plays a major role in the anti-tithing crusade. There is therefore the need to respond with sound Biblical teachings, and more importantly, establish the timeless validity and relevance of tithing as a tool in the implementation of God’s plan of salvation.   

3.1 The Mystery of Tithes/Tithing 

A tithe, in Hebrew, is known as maaser or madser, but in Greek, it is known as dekate, which means “the tenth”. Some biblical scholars believe that tithing was a practice in the ancient Near East as there were sacral offerings or payments of a tenth part of goods or property to the deity. The practice is known from Mesopotamia, Syria-Palestine, Greece, and as far to the west as the Phoenician city of Carthage.  

The first ever mention of tithing in the Bible is in Genesis 14: 17-20. Abraham conquered four Canaanite kings led by Chedorlaomer who had invaded Sodom and Gomorrah and three other cities and delivering the prisoners of war including his nephew Lot with his family. On returning from the conquest, Abraham met two people ― the king of Sodom, who offered reward to Abraham (but was turned down), and Melchizedek, who gave Abraham wine and bread and also blessed him. Abraham in turn gave Melchizedek one tenth of everything. Based on the Law of First Mention, tithing in the above passage is significant. Some important lessons could be derived from the Melchizedek and Abraham encounter.  

Melchizedek is a mysterious person mentioned in only three passages in the Bible (Genesis 14: 17-20; Psalm 110:4; and Hebrews 7:1-15). He was king of two domains: king of righteousness and king of Salem (peace). He had no parental links and no genealogy; he had no beginning of days nor end of life, and he was the Priest of the Most High. He is likened to the Son of God.  

Abraham on the other hand, was called by Yaweh Himself:  

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (italics mine). 

He is described as the friend of God (2Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8); the father of our faith, who laid the basis and principles for our salvation (Romans 4:11). His intercessory prayer for Sodom and Gomorrah recorded in Genesis 18:22-33, has provided a legitimate basis for interceding for all nations ever since. The near sacrifice of his son Isaac is seen as a foreshadow of Christ’s death and has become a template for righteous offerings. Mount Moriah, the location of sacrifice later became the site of the threshing floor of Ornan, the Jebusite, where God had appeared to king David, and instructed him to raise an altar in order to limit a plague of death of the people of Israel. Subsequently, it was the site of the first temple built by Solomon (1 Chronicles 21:18-30; 2Chronicles 3:1).    

The background of these two personalities provokes certain critical questions which must be answered: Where did Melchizedek come from and where did he go after meeting Abraham? Why did he accept the tithe and in what capacity? By what authority did he bless Abraham? Also, what prompted Abraham to give Melchizedek the tithes of all that he had gained from the war? Should we agree that tithing was an ancient practice where it was given to kings or deity and Abraham knew about it, why didn’t he give tithe to the king of Sodom whom he first met?  

From the accounts in Genesis 14 one may conclude that Melchizedek was a type of Christ and a representative of the Priesthood was about to institute on earth. In the same measure, Abraham represents all the chosen people of God. This is confirmed in Galatians 3:8, and 29. We might conclude that Abraham might have acted out of an inspired conviction (led by the Spirit). Today, the Church operates under divine convictions and revelations as the Holy Spirit leads. That holding, it can also be said that the first ever tithe transaction occurred between the representative of Priesthood and a representative of the Chosen People of God, and this is the mystery.  

3.2 Institution and Practice of Tithing in the Old Testament 

Tithing was formally established in the religion of Israel by God over 430 years after Abraham had done the first act.  After Abraham, the biblical records show that Jacob was the next to vow a full tenth to God (Genesis 28:20-22). The concept of tithe therefore pre-dated the Law. God HeGgGTG delivered the people of Israel from Egypt and constituted them into a nation. He introduced his laws to guide them and included tithing in the laws.  

In His desire to dwell among His people, God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle for Him (Exodus 25:1-9). Tabernacle building was followed by the establishment of priesthood pioneered by Aaron and his sons (Exodus 28:1-5). The Levites were later included and from there, tithing was introduced to sustain the priesthood and Levitical institutions. Tithe was later listed among the devoted offerings which God would never compromise on (Leviticus 27: 24-33), and it became a statutory act of worship. Thus, God provided the conditions under which tithing was to be practised:  

  1. A chosen people – Israel and later all believers in Christ who are descendants of Abraham are to give tithes.  
  1. The Tabernacle (a place where God had established His presence) should be a place to send tithes. The tabernacle translated into Temple built by Solomon when Israel finally settled and had their rest in the promised land. 
  1. Priests and Levites (Tabernacle/Temple workers) which translates into the Church’s Ministers and members of staff were the main beneficiaries of the tithes.  

Storehouses were later introduced and eventually established (Deuteronomy 12:1-7; 10-11; 17-18) where tithes should be sent. God wanted the people of Israel to avoid sacrificing in the high places of the Canaanite nations where idolatry had been practised by the Canaanites. They were to seek the place that the LORD their God will choose out of all the tribes to put His name and make His habitation there. There they were to bring their offerings, sacrifices and tithes. In fact, God had indicated earlier that “in every place where I cause my name to be to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you” (Exodus 20:24).   

The storehouse principle was followed by the early Church in Acts 4: 32-37 which resulted in the abundance of supply among the members. The storehouse in our time is the local assembly where members receive their spiritual nourishment. The “storehouse principle” is greatly detested by those who believe that tithers have every right to know where the tithe goes and how it is spent, and that they could take personal responsibility to visit orphans, widows and other needy groups in order to show some kindness. Today tithe gathered into the “storehouse”, is used for everything that promotes the gospel and grows the Church. God allows us to use part of our ninety percent of income for alms-giving, and that also carries its own blessings. There is the need to cooperate with God to bring his Kingdom within the reach of all men by bringing all the tithes to the ‘storehouse’. Fortunately, CoP has a system that fulfils the mandate of tithing.    

God further expanded the use of tithes which the Bible presents in three main forms under the Law. Some Bible scholars, for example, Onyinah (2015) classified these types of tithes as follows:  

Regular Tithes:  Practising an agricultural economy, regular tithes were expressed by the Jews as 10% of crops (income) given each year to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30). This was mandatory and obligatory.  Regular tithes were used to provide regular income for Levites and Priests serving at the temple in Jerusalem (Numbers 18:21-26; Leviticus 18:25-28).  

Feasting/Festival Tithe: (Deuteronomy 12:17-19; 14:28-2). This tithe was used to provide means for having three special feasts in Jerusalem each year, and not to be sent to the temple. The people of Israel were required to set aside 10% of their crops every year for celebrating the festivals in Jerusalem thrice in the year. They were to send food, however, if they lived too far away, they could sell the foodstuff and bring the money to Jerusalem. The feasting tithe was actually a second separate tithe given every year by the Jews, requiring each farmer to give an additional 10% tithe every farming season. This would actually make the annual “tithe” per year 20% of one’s yearly income, apart from the free will offering they were to give as thanksgiving or praise. According to Onyinah (2015), the festivals were God’s way of reminding the people of Israel of some particular aspects of His redemptive work among them. The Israelites were thus to express their gratitude to the Lord for their divine election, His divine provision and sustenance and His love towards them for the year.  

Charity Tithes: (Deuteronomy 14:28-29). This is taken once every three years. Thus, after taking the regular tithes, the Lord mandated a third tithe to be taken every three years:   

Deuteronomy 14:28-29 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. “And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do”. NKJV.   

According to Tuland (1958), we could give thought to these aspects of Israel’s economy and the benefits of looking at our own tithing and systematic benevolence from this angle.  

The three types of tithing are significant and must be situated in proper perspective for clarity. The Levitical tithe was to be observed for the sustenance of the Levites and the Priests, failure of which could jeopardise religious the institution. The CoP does not ban members from showing kindness to the needy, however, it is wrong and out of place to deny support for the Priesthood institution by giving the “priestly” tithes to the poor. In other jurisdictions where tithe is not observed as being discussed here it has had dire consequences ― stifling the growth and expansion of the church institution.   

3.3 Tithing in Post-Joshua Era 

After the death of Joshua and his generation, the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served Baals (Judges 2:10-12). The subsequent years saw instability of the nation of Israel. The resulting chaotic society did not allow sound and systematic worship of Jehovah God in the land and tithing was greatly interrupted. Priests and Levites were no more engaged as prescribed by God during the Mosaic era.  

However, certain kings, leaders and prophets who sought to turn the heart of the people back to the LORD sought to restore priesthood and re-introduced tithing. An example is Hezekiah and Nehemiah (2 Chronicles 31: 11-12; Nehemiah 12:44).  Prophet Malachi called the people to repentance with respect to the priesthood, which had become corrupted; worship, which had become routine; divorce, which was widespread; social justice, which was being ignored, and tithing, which was neglected. He forcefully pointed out that by neglecting tithing the people of Israel were robbing God and that could result in a curse (Malachi 3:8-12), but obeying would come with unlimited blessings.   

3.4 Tithing: Jesus and the Apostles  

One source of confusion peddled by anti-tithing preachers is the claim of non-emphasis of tithing in the words of Jesus and His Apostles. It is important therefore to examine Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:17-18; 21-33. Jesus might have made such categorical statement because He was the Word (John 1:1-3), and a member of the Trinity. It implies that He was there when the laws were given to Moses, hence could not have abolished the Law. He fulfilled the law through three modules: The first module was to expand the understanding of the Law; for the second module, Jesus fulfilled the Law by demonstrating practically how the Law should be viewed and applied using grace in the face of truth; and the third module by which Jesus consolidated all aspects of the Law that only He could settle with the Father by cancelling all the curses and writings against humanity.  

In the first module Jesus demonstrated that grace actually increases the conditions and demands of the law.  For example, in the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5:21-33) He expanded the definition of murder and adultery amongst others, and there is a repeated phrase ― “You have heard that it was said… but I say to you”. Similarly, He expanded the meaning of tithing by adding compassion, justice and faithfulness (Luke 11:42 & Matthew 23:23), so in the New Testament, tithing is not prohibited, rather, having been saved by grace we could even give beyond the 10%.  

The Apostles of the early church were simple Jewish men who followed Jesus’ teachings and examples. In fact, their teachings in their epistles were largely based on the teachings of their Master.  By, implication, that they believed and practiced tithing. However, the exigencies of the times dictated their message.    


A number of believers in the Church of Pentecost (CoP) and elsewhere can testify of God’s blessings when they were faithful in tithing. I can cite Apostle Dr Joseph I. Buertey, the current Resident minister of the Pentecost International Worship Centre, Asokwa in Kumasi, who out of faith did an extra-ordinary thing by giving tithe out of his student loans. God blessed him with uncountable contracts (most of which he did not apply for), even before entering the ministry. As a result, he could pay hostel fees for two of his colleagues whiles at the university. One of the beneficiaries is a Pastor of the Church, the other, an elder who is an engineer, and all of them are currently in Tamale Area. The author of the book, “Mover of Men and Mountain” R. G. Tourneau, started with giving ten percent to God, and then moved on to twenty percent, and eventually ninety percent of the company’s profit. Consequently, God blessed him with breakthrough inventions. Interestingly, some individuals of other faiths practise the Christian tithing (even give more than the tenth) because they experience its blessings thereof. We can conclude that if God blesses for tithing in these days, it’s enough proof that God still approves of the practice.  


In the Old Testament God anticipated that the foreigners/Gentiles will come to the people of Israel and her God. What this meant was that people who heard about the God of Israel would come to them. Example is the mixed multitude (Exodus 12:38) who left Egypt with the Israelites. With time some people were converted to Judaism. Similarly, people from different nations were at the feast of Pentecost when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred.   

In the New Testament, Jesus says the Church should “go into the world to make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28: 18-20). Apostle Paul asked rhetorically― how can people hear the gospel, unless someone goes to them, and that person must be sent (Romans 10:11-15). Tithing is an effective tool by which the gospel can reach the nations. CoP spends so much money on missions, therefore refusal to give tithe is refusal to support the fulfilment of the Great Commission, and that is too much of wrong for a child of God. 

Some individuals have tried to debunk prophet Malachi’s declaration of a curse for non-payment of tithe. They argue that Christ has borne all curses on the cross. The reality is any act that obstructs God’s agenda is not taken lightly by God. Much as there are testimonies of people being blessed for faithful tithing, there are equally stories of individuals who have been chastised by God for deliberately refusing to tithe. One might not be cursed for Christ’s sake, but God chastises His children.   

From the discussion we can say that both sacrificial giving and Tithing are:  

  1. Expressions of appreciation. Abraham gave the first tithe in appreciation of the victory over the four kings who invaded Sodom and Gomorrah. Jacob vowed in anticipation of God’s deliverance and protection during his escape to his uncle Laban. We give sacrificially not because of what we would receive from the Lord only, but what He has already done for us. 
  1. Voluntary. Abraham and Jacob were not ordered to pay tithe. God always receives from willing individuals.   
  1. Acts done in reverence to God. Abraham and the people of Israel also gave tithe to God, and thereby gave Him the honour.  
  1. Acts of faith. It shows trust in God, who is “able to make all grace abound to you” (2 Corinthians 9:8).  
  1. For promoting God’s agenda. That all men may experience God’s love and come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through evangelism and church planting. 


  1. Scripture admonishes that “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house…” (Malachi 3:10). Because of the different types of administration being run by the churches, every church determines its own storehouse.  
  1. In the CoP, the total amount of tithes, should be given in the person’s local Assembly. From there, a percentage of it is sent through the District and Area to the Headquarters. This means, The CoP operates a centralized system of financial administration. This constitutes the ‘storehouse’ of the church.  
  1. In The CoP, there are allowable deductions that may be taken from the tithes. These include church rent (where applicable), electricity and water bills at the local Assembly level. After that, ten percent of the remaining amount is taken at the local Assembly level as Local Development Fund (LDF) for administration.  
  1. The remaining amount is sent to the district office by all Assemblies constituting the district. At the District level, the mission house rent (where applicable) as well as the mission house water and electricity bills are deducted. District fuel allowance is also deducted after which ten percent of the remaining amount is taken for administration at the district level. This is referred to as District Development Fund (DDF).  
  1. From the District office, the remaining amount is sent to the Area office and again ten percent of the total is taken. This is known as Area Development Fund (ADF). A second ten percent of all the tithes received at the Area office from the districts is taken as Accelerated Infrastructural Development Fund (AIDF) to support ongoing church building and mission house projects in the Area. 
  1. The remaining amount is sent to the Headquarters into the central fund. 
  1. From the central fund at the Headquarters, the salaries of all full-time ministers and non-ministerial staff are paid every month. 
  1. Every month, the Headquarters releases a chunk amount as grants to the Areas to support the construction of mission houses, church buildings and other projects at the Area, Districts and Local levels. 
  1. Aside all these commitments, the Headquarters: 
  • supports needy students to pursue tertiary education. 
  • assumes full sponsorship for the training of all new ministerial students annually at the Pentecost University.  
  • is currently subsidising greatly, the training of all Elders and Lay Counsellors in the Church. 
  • supports newly created Districts to acquire mission houses as well as basic evangelism equipment. 
  • responsible for transporting all transferred ministers to their new stations. 
  • financially supports the Pentecost University, the Pentecost Hospitals, Clinics, and all the Basic schools among others. 
  • fully supports all the social intervention programmes spearheaded by PENTSOS 
  • is financing the construction of Police Stations and Prison projects as well as drilling boreholes for deprived communities. 
  • supporting the construction of church buildings for PENSA groups as well as church buildings and mission houses of the various military barracks. 
  • runs its administrative expenses. 
  • supports para-church organisations such as the Scripture Union, Bible Society etc.; and the Home and Urban Missions; Evangelistic outreach programmes; External and Internal missions, etc.  

3.8 Some Precautionary Measures in Place  

CoP ensures transparency and accountability at all levels by following standard financial principles and procedures that every church can employ to ensure effective accountability. At the local levels, for example, Tithes is counted and recorded in the presence of other persons. It is not giving out as loans, neither is it used directly to support the construction of any project. The church also practices a “cashless office” policy. This means no cash deductions are made at source. All financial transactions are approved by designated officers and income and expenditure are audited periodically to ensure value for money. 

3.9 How members should practice Tithing 

  1. Be tithe – conscious: see tithing as partnering with God in expanding His kingdom.  
  1. Members should remember that we owe our all to God (1 Corinthians 4:7) 
  1. Tithing should be done with reverence and as a form of worship  
  1. Tithe with integrity, in faith and cheerfully, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).  
  1. Tithe as part of our covenant relationship with God (Psalm 50:4-5).   
  1. Tithe conscientiously and consistently (Ecclesiastes 11:1-3a, 4) 
  1. Give it in your local church. Should not be given as gift to Pastors, widows and poor or even to your hometown district where you are not a member. 
  1. Be like the Macedonians – they gave themselves (2 Corinthians 8:5) 

3.10 How should Local Assemblies Handle Tithes 

Here are some few points worth noting 

  1. Leaders must be faithful in paying tithes. Leadership is a spiritual role ― what leaders do affect the membership. 
  1. There must be constant reminders and teachings on tithes to members. 
  1. There must be a continuous desire to improve and increase the local assembly’s tithes.  
  1. For proper accountability, we should encourage payment by cheques and electronic transfers.  
  1. Tithes should not be paid to another church or charity organizations because the individual church member has a moral and spiritual responsibility to his or her local Assembly. 


There is the need to talk about sacrificial giving and tithing because it falls within the context of God’s salvation plan. It is not a mere fundraising strategy but a spiritual exercise that aims at expanding the Kingdom of God, and has its blessings for all who obey. God is greatly concerned about His Kingdom expansion ― evangelism and missions, and social work (PENTSOS); God believes in the ministry of men (Luke 6:38), and every child of God must be encouraged to be involved in it. It must be noted that there is every indication that the coming of Jesus is nearer than perceived. There is so much to be done and the King’s business requires haste.  


  1. Adjaloo, M. K (2020). Tithing under the Grace Dispensation. University Press, Kumasi 
  1. Buckingham, R. The Ancient Practice of Tithing(  Accessed: 15 October, 2022  
  1. David B. Barrett, George T. Kurian, and Todd M. Johnson, World Christian Trend (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2001). 
  1. Johnson, D.W. (1984). The tithe: challenge or legalism? Nashville: Abingdon. (Creative leadership series.) 
  1. Kodua, A (2020). This thing called Tithing. Sermon Notes. Teshie-Nungua Area. 
  1. Onyinah, O (2015). Christian Stewardship. Sermon Notes Vol. 9, pages 134-146.  

7. Tuland, C.G. Accessed:19 October, 2022  

NB: All quotations from the Holy Bible are taken from the New International Version (NIV). 

Encouraging Personal Devotion And Small Groups Prayer Meetings To Strengthen The Local Church


“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed”. (Mark 1:35, ESV). 

And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed (Luke 22:39-40, ESV). 

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts‬ 2:42 KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 

And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. (Acts 8:27-31, ESV). 


The Church of Pentecost (CoP) under Vision 2023 has been working under the theme: Possessing the Nations, which aims at influencing every sphere of society with Kingdom values and principles. Within the Vision 2013, the local church is seen as the focal point for most activities of the Church. Commitments were made to position the local church as an equipping centre to orient and equip the members. It was also expected that the members of the local church as light and salt, and acting like yeast, would be actively involved in ensuring community transformation. 

In view of these commitments, the following were projected as some of the activities to be undertaken for making an impact in the nations: 

  • Intensification of Holy Spirit baptism and infilling in all local assemblies worldwide. 
  • Positioning the local church as a house of prayer and a place of sound biblical teaching. 
  • Ensuring that local assemblies have prayer days for intensive prayers. 

Being in the fifth year of implementing the vision, it is expedient that leadership is considering reviewing and strengthening the activities of the local church as its strategy to make the maximum impact in the nations. This is to be done in the form of a tactical withdrawal (retreat) and repositioning itself to make maximum impact. Much cannot be done without giving attention to the individual church member to ensure his or her spirituality.  

In the command of the Great Commission, Jesus placed emphasis on the continual transformation of all new followers who come to Him. New followers of Christ immediately began learning all of Jesus’ teaching through the Apostles and other church leaders (Ac. 2:42). Over time, as the teachings of Jesus began to transform the daily countenance of new believers, they themselves would begin sharing their faith in Jesus to their community, thus, starting the entire discipleship process of Matthew 28:18-20 over again. This, I believe is what the Possessing the Nations agenda is all about.  

Tidwell and Kim (2020, 106) in their editorial work, ‘The Educational Ministry of a Church’ advance that, “the pursuit of learning the teachings of Jesus within the local church has its foundation in the Bible”. They continue to assert that no class or group that “seek to grow in Christ” should go on without the Bible. While acknowledging how modern technology and supplemental literature pieces are contributing to help the church in this area, Tidwell and Kim pose the question: “what happens when regular attenders and members leave the preaching environment”? They answered, “Sunday school and small groups have emerged as the preeminent environments where teaching and learning combine to create spiritual transformation in the hearts of students”. 

This paper will firstly consider the need to promote personal devotion in the lives of the members with the belief that it takes strong individuals to build a strong church. Consideration will then be given to encouraging prayer in small groups not only as a way of fellowship, but with the biblical basis that Christ promises to be where two or three are gathered in His name (Mat. 18:20). 


The need to develop personal devotion should come from the knowledge that the local church consists of individuals who must come together with each looking to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith. A. W. Tozer (1948), in his book “The Pursuit of God” puts it this way: 

Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So, one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. 

It is with this understanding that it becomes vital that each person develop their spirituality by personal devotion to God. Without each person making time to pursue God in their own lives, there is no church. 

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines devotion as an act of prayer or private worship and particularly in our context, as “a religious exercise or practice other than the regular corporate worship of a congregation.” This is a discipline one undertakes, or commits to, in order to continually know the Lord and be built up in Him. It employs different practices or activities tied to the word of God. Devotion carries with it the idea of loyalty and love or care for someone or something. 

The time of personal devotion is also commonly called “Quiet Time” because of it being a period of quietly waiting upon God after a time of prayer. In it is the desire or a longing for God. David, the king of Israel states, “O God, you are my God; early will I seek you; my soul thirsts for you in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water” (Ps. 63:1-2) NKJV. 

He further adds in Psalms 5:3 (NKJV): “My voice you shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to you, and I will look up.” The Lord Jesus Christ also had a habit of waking up early in the morning to wait upon the Father (Mk. 1:35, Mat. 14:23; Mk. 6:46). 

In the Old Testament, we may infer some individuals who were distinct in observing the routine of personal devotions. Job and Daniel probably had this discipline. Job’s practice of personal devotion is noted as his “regular custom” (Job 1:5). As a custom, personal devotions, notably, may be a practice that is repeatedly done and has become part of one’s behaviour by which he or she can be identified with. It is not an occasional or seasonal exercise to appease an authority or satisfy a religious provision per se. Rather, it should be a personal resolve and obligation to respond to God in worship from one’s conviction and understanding.  

It is in this same manner that Daniel was known in the kingdom of Babylon as an official in government and a Jew. Though some of the Jews in captivity might have compromised and sacrificed their spiritual identity, Daniel “resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine” (Dan. 1:8). Hence, he defied all the threats and decree of the royal authority and continued in the discipline “he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (Dan. 6:10b, NIV). Daniel’s case brings up what activities could be entailed in personal devotion, and that it is to be done continually and the difficulties to continue faithfully in keeping to this discipline. Identifiably, Daniel shows that: fasting, praying, solitude are some activities that mark personal devotions. However, the world system and its demands can be a setback to the pursuit. Daniel’s work mates in government were against him and his God. 

Jesus as a sign of devotion to the Father, often went out very early in the morning, while still dark to pray and wait on Him. He observed solitude and would withdraw from the crowd for a moment to pray (Mk. 6:45-46). The Scriptures reveal that it was his habit to revert to the Mount of Olives (Lk. 22:39). 

Another case is that of the Ethiopian eunuch (Ac. 8:26-40) on his way to worship in Jerusalem, who we can infer to be doing his ‘personal devotion’. He was reading aloud the book of Isaiah. The Holy Spirit working through Philip helped him to understand what he was reading and was saved thereby. Interestingly, depending on the circumstance, one can have their personal devotion while seated in their ‘chariot’ or on the ‘desert road’. Very instructive of the instance of the Ethiopian eunuch is the reading aloud of the Scriptures which could connote scriptural memorisation which is an integral component in the practice of personal devotions. This was a functional part in the training obtained from our days of Scripture Union (SU) in the secondary schools of Ghana.  

  1. Benefits of Personal Devotion 

From the above, personal devotion is a regular appointment that we keep with God to commune with Him. Communication is essential in every valued relationship. It helps the growth and development of the relationship, so we need to talk to and listen to God in our love relationship with Him. During this important period, we shut out any distractions and focus on our Lord Jesus Christ out of love and loyalty. It is about creating a life full of devotion, and the way we do that is by setting aside a regular time for prayer and Bible reading. When we set time aside to truly connect with our creator, we are collaborating with Him to see that spiritual growth and transformation is happening in our lives. 

The need to stay connected with the Lord for the believer to be refreshed and be fruitful is driven home by Jesus:  

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” Jn. 15:1-4 (NIV). 

  1. From the above Scripture, personal devotion helps the believer to grow in our knowledge and understanding of the Lord and His Word, helping us to have a deeper relationship with Christ. This brings personal transformation, and the believer becomes more fruitful. 
  1. Making time to regularly fellowship and commune with the Lord helps deepen our living relationship with Him. The more we do this, the more we see our need for Him. 
  1. Waiting on Him quenches the thirsting of one’s soul (Ps. 42:1-2).  
  1. Grants strength to the weary (Is. 40:31). 
  1. It helps us to build a life of self-discipline. Making a habit of setting a specific time and keeping to it helps the believer to train themselves in self-control and discipline (Tit. 1:8).  
  1. Personal devotion helps us to be mindful of God’s presence. The pressure of time can make the Christian develop a tendency of going through the day losing sight of God’s presence as being right beside us in every moment. Patrick Morley, a Christian author is quoted as saying, “whenever a man tells me that he doesn’t feel very close to God, the first question I ask is, ‘Tell me about your devotional life.’” He often identifies that as the basic problem. 
  1. It enables one to become more like the Master that we behold in our time of devotion. In Exodus 34:29, Aaron and the other leaders noted something about Moses after he had spent time alone with God. His face was radiating with the glory of God. Just as the smoke in an environment smell on us when we expose ourselves to it for a period, the beauty and fragrance of the Lord rubs off us as we keep ourselves locked in on Him and gazing into His face. 
  1. Activities undertaken during the Period of Personal Devotion or Quiet Time 

As mentioned earlier, but for emphasis, two activities are essential to have an effective time alone with God. These are prayer and the word. 

  1. Prayer:  We must have time to speak to God and allow Him to speak to us. Prayer should not be a monologue, but a two-way street where we are available to listen to the Master speak to us. That period of being silent before Him gives credence to the term “quiet time.” 
  1. Reading and studying the Word of God:  God speaks to us during the reading of His Word. He gives us guidance as we search the Scriptures. (Ps. 119:9; 105). We are assured of being prosperous and successful as we meditate on the Scriptures (Jos. 1:8). 

Types of study  

There are various ways to read and study the Bible. In brief, some of these are: 

  • Topical Study – One chooses a topic, e.g., Love and find Bible references that addresses the topic.  
  • Character Study – This is the study of a Biblical character or about a place in the Bible. It helps you to explore the heart, attitude, and personality of a particular person in the bible. Also, a place severally mentioned in the Scriptures such as Hebron could be studied starting from Genesis 13-18; Genesis 23, etc. 
  • Chronologically – This involves studying through the Bible in the order in which events occurred. It helps the student to gain new insights and rightly connect between passages and books that could otherwise be overlooked. Online resources such as The One Year Bible Online and can help with the study. 
  • Book Study – This helps the student delve into the context in which the Book was written. It involves going through the Book verse-by-verse or paragraph-by-paragraph. Book Study could be inductive or deductive. Inductive study involves observation (what does it say), interpretative (what does it mean), and application (what does it mean for my life?).  

Deductive study is the process of discovering the original and intended meaning of the Scriptures. 

  • Word Study – During the study of a Book, one may come across a Word that he or she needs clarity of insight. You must consider where the word is used in the Scriptures and how it is used. Using Bible Aids like a Concordance, one may look at the root of the word in Hebrew for the Old Testament, or Greek in the New Testament, and how the word is variously interpreted in the Scriptures. 
  1. Guide to Develop a Consistent Devotional Life 
  1. Must Seek the right environment:  We must remember that it is a period of personally meeting with God. Hence, a place devoid of disturbances and distractions is particularly important (Mat. 6:6). Jesus would choose a secluded or desolate place (Mk. 1:35, Mat. 14:23, Lk. 5:16). 
  1. Choose the Right Time:  We need to prioritise our time with God, especially in these times with so many things competing for our attention. We ought to build it into our day. A discipline we picked from Scripture Union was “No Bible, No Breakfast.”  

Some people try to find any available time during the day, but it is highly recommended that it be consistent and the first activity of the day. The Master deserves our best time. Personally, the mantra for me has been “Speak to God before speaking to anyone else”.   

With these two in place, we undertake personal devotions with some requisite materials; a version of the Bible, which is easy to read and understand, and a writing gadget/pad to note or record what the Lord reveals in such moments. If it is for an extended period of “waiting”, other Christian literature or pre-recorded sermons are helpful.  

  1. Encouraging Personal Devotion in the Church  
  1. Alone with God – the session where during programmes we afford people to privately focus on the Lord may be re-introduced or emphasised. Residential retreat-based programmes like conventions and camps must aim to inculcate this discipline, and participants given the opportunity to share what they heard from the Lord. 
  1. Use of a Devotional Booklet such as Stream of Living Waters. To ensure the effective use of the church’s devotional book produced annually by the Youth Ministry, the ministry or the NDLDC (in monitoring the annual Bible Reading Plan), can facilitate a training seminar on its use for effective personal devotions and small group Bible Studies. 
  1. Ministry leaders can help sensitise the practice of personal devotions, as well as ministers modelling it to their presbyteries, and Area Heads to their ministers. 


Rick Howerton in an article “Defining Small Groups” defines a small group as “A micro-community of three (3) to 12 Jesus followers doing the Christian life deeply together.” He further states that if honesty and vulnerability are necessary for spiritual growth, group dynamics would tell us that the levels of transparency that make this possible won’t happen if the group is made up of more than 12 or less than three (3) individuals. 

Jesus gives several examples in His ministry as to the importance of small groups. He had a small group at the beginning of His ministry (Mt. 4:18-22) to enable Him minister within a framework of interpersonal relationship. From the many followers, He chose 12 that they may be with Him and designated them apostles (Lk. 6:13). This small group formed the basis or platform for His ministry to large groups. Often, they were with Him as He preached to large groups (Mk. 3:7). As His time of crucifixion drew near, He seems to spend more time with the twelve and less time with the multitude (Mt. 16ff.; Lk, 17, 18).  

Paul also seems to have a small group of people who could be his team members. People like Barnabas, John Mark, Silas, Luke, and Timothy accompanied him on his journeys and could be partners in prayer. 

The use of small groups in Christian-education ministries is becoming increasingly popular among churches across the globe. In the past forty years, through the influence of Carl George, Roberta Hestenes, Lyman Coleman, and Yonggi Cho, many small-group practitioners advocate small groups as one of the most authentic expressions of the church since Acts 2:46-47. Gareth Icenogle (1994, 13) writes: 

The small group is a generic form of human community that is transcultural, transgenerational, and even transcendent. The call to human gathering in groups is a God-created (ontological) and God-directed (teleological) ministry, birthed out of the very nature and purpose of God’s being. God as Being exists in community.… The natural and simple demonstration of God’s communal image for humanity is the gathering of a small group. 

For the early church, it was in homes that the church shared meals, prayed for each other, studied the most recent letters from Paul, other apostles, grieved the loss of loved ones, celebrated new converts, and grew in the Lord. The early church experienced life through small circles of community we now call small groups. Tidwell and Kim state that the decision to employ small groups as the primary method of discipleship is not one of convenience, but of theology.  

In John 17:20-23, Jesus prays that the followers would be ushered into fellowship with the Trinity, and thus, “the world will know you belong to me if you love one another” (John 13:35). The actual caring, loving, admonishing, sharing, serving, supporting, and celebrating of one another in community testifies to Jesus’ love. Furthermore, in Exodus 18:13-27, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, observed Moses struggling to care for the needs of Israel. Jethro counselled Moses to select judges who could overseer groups of people and would settle disputes within those groups. Ultimately, this helped Moses to implement a plan of care to meet the needs of the congregation. Small groups thus ensure the needs of group members are met.   

One of the trademarks of the Church of Pentecost is its dedication to prayer. The mantra: Prayer is the work, and the work is prayer has been carried down from the Founder, Rev. James McKeown to the current generation.  

A typical CoP assembly had its doors open for any member to walk in and spend time before the Lord. There was always a call for prayer after every message and the members prayed the reality of the message into their lives.  

Members were known to meet in small groups to pray for the church, especially for impending programmes, and to pray for their individual needs. Friends would take new members out and pray with them till they received the baptism in the Holy spirit.  It will therefore be expedient to reflect on this fading core value and find appropriate ways to revamp it in an effort to strengthen the local assembly.  

3.1 Importance of Prayer 

Jesus captures the importance of prayer as he modelled it to His disciples. This motivated one of them to ask him to teach them to pray (Lk. 11:1). Before he went to the cross, He also asked them to pray in order not to fall into temptation (Mt. 26:40-41; Mk. 14:38; Lk. 21:36).  

John Wesley also postulates that, “it seems God is limited by our prayer life – that He can do nothing for humanity unless someone asks Him”. I believe it is because He has given humanity dominion over the earth. This is well demonstrated in the life of Elijah as captured in James 5:16-18 NIV, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again, he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” 

Matte Gregg in the book “Unstoppable Gospel” indicates that it is only through prayer that God changes hearts and circumstances. The New Testament bears witness to this assertion. After 10 days of prayer which resulted in them being baptised in the Holy Spirit, Acts chapter two reveals how the fearful bunch of the early disciples gathered in the Upper Room, came out in boldness to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus. This resulted in three thousand people being saved and added to the nascent church. 

The place of prayer could not be lost on Pastor McKeown. He asserted that if the church he was leading was to become great, it would be through prayer, and therefore taught them of the benefits of being one with God through prayer (Leonard, 1989). He is quoted as having said “At the commencement of the work, 40 years ago, there was prayer and yet more prayer. If we follow education, we will get what education gives. If we follow material things, we will get what they give. We have to seek the Lord and wait on Him – this is the secret of the church’s success and expansion.” (Leornard, 1989, 45-46).  

Unfortunately, Ravenhill (1986) indicates that the place of prayer is the most deprived areas of the church. He makes the profound statement: “We have many organisers, but few agonisers; many players, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters.” He intimates that if the church fails in prayer it is bound to fail in all areas. 

We cannot tone down on prayer because as Matthew Henry puts it, “when God intends mercy for his people, the first thing he does is set them a-praying.” We must therefore constantly stoke the fire to get the place hot. Even as the Church has been doing well on mass prayer time, the refocusing on individual and small groups is of utmost importance. 

  1. The Example of Jesus and Small Groups 

Jesus, apart from setting time to go out to personally commune with the Father would go out with a small group of His team (Mk. 9:2). 

  1. Example of the Early Church  

After Pentecost, the nascent church met in homes for prayer and breaking of bread (Ac. 2:46). After times of suffering persecution, they went back to their company to pray (Ac. 4:23; 12:12). 

  1. How to conduct Small Group Prayer Meetings  
  1. Choose a suitable time, convenient for members of the group. Depending on schedule of members, a meeting lasting for an hour or more is preferable. In as much as the virtual technology is being largely employed in recent times, the group will enhance its pursuits if they intersperse their meetings with some in-person sessions. 
  1. Choose a venue conducive for prayer such as a church hall or home of a member if the place is good enough. Personally, as a student, we used to go to the KNUST Botanical Gardens as friends to pray. Also, whilst in Zambia, we used to go up in a mountain out of town as friends to pray weekly. It is out of this that the Church of Pentecost Int., Zambia was born. It must be noted that it is helpful if the people forming the small groups, are friends. It may not necessarily have to be gender biased. They must share in the burden and be willing to pay the price. This relates to how Jesus called His disciples and would select some to pray with Him.  
  1. Announcements and reminders ought to be sent to members so as to be punctual. This is to be done when the time is drawing nigh. 
  1. Plan in advance for the programme for the period, stating the topics to be prayed on but leaving room for the Holy Spirit to direct as to additional topics where necessary. 
  1. Topics to be prayed on should be relevant to the members of the group and have a clear objective. It aligns to the burden the group has signed up to offload through incessant self-sacrificing prayer. Group members must respect confidentiality (on issues prayed on, and revelations received). 
  1. Time should be spent praying for the church, family, and friends and for the lost, that they come to Christ. Members should also pray for boldness to preach the gospel, and to capture territories and spheres of influence. 
  1. There must be an inclusion of time to be silent and wait for the Holy Spirit to speak back to individual members. Reflections that may be helpful to the entire group can be shared on resumption. 
  1. A caution is that care must be taken that issues shared do not become subjects of gossip in the name of prayer topics. 
  1. Way Forward: How to Make it Effective 
  1. The squad formation advanced lately can consider prayer as a core activity of their squad in addition to their designated ministry mandate to possessing the nations (sphere of influence). 
  1. Family Altar that has been advocated for with the goal of enriching marriage and family life can also stress this. 


This paper has offered the biblical basis of the discipline of personal devotions and has uncovered various activities that culminate in the practice of this discipline. It has also attempted to give the basis of forming small prayer groups in the church. The local assemblies may have to explore ways to give space during programmes for the church membership to observe these acts of loyalty to God. 


Gareth W. Icenogle 1994. Biblical foundations for small group ministry: An intergenerational approach. Downers Grove, IL. InterVarsity Press. 

Howerton, R. (2015). Defining small groups. Lifeway, nd accessed October 18, 2022 

Kim Jonathan J., Tidwell Charles A. 2020. The educational ministry of a church. A comprehensive model for students and ministers. B&H Academic Nashville, Tennessee.  

Leornard, C., 1989. A Giant in Ghana. New Wine press, Chichester. 

Matte, G. (2015). Unstoppable Gospel: Living out the world-changing vision of Jesus’ first followers. Baker Books, Grand Rapids. 

McBride, N., How to lead small groups. accessed October 15, 2022 

Ravenhill, L. 1986. Revival God’s way. A message for the church. How the church can be brought from where it is to where it ought to be. Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis Minnesota 55438. 

Howerton, R. 2014. Defining small groups. accessed on October 15, 2022 

Tozer A.W., 1993. The Counselor: Straight talk about the Holy Spirit. Evangel Publishers Limited. RR 1-4 Nassarawa Road, P. O. Box 3953 Kaduna, Nigeria. Accessed on October 10, 2022 

Christian Visitation In The Local Church


“You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but has taught you publicly and from house to house” (Acts. 20:20, NIV). 


Christian visitation is conducted with the understanding that the church as the body of Christ is a family, and the local church is the basis on which the values of the family are developed and espoused. This should inform us that “the local church has always been the focus of church growth because that is where church members meet for fellowship, training, and deployment for ministry” (Denteh, 2021). 

Thus, the need for godly fellowship, care for one another, the bearing of one another’s burdens, and the genuine expression of brotherly love in Christ must always be a hallmark of the local church. Visitation in the local church is a model of pastoral care ministry that takes place in the local church. It is one of the most important and expressive ways the church offers care and compassion to people in real-life situation. The purpose is to look for persons who are unable to attend church services or fellowships due to old age, health challenges, or facing various kinds of challenges that may require the attention of others. This could be among church members, local leaders, and other leaders of the church. 

1.1 What is Christian Visitation? 

Considering the fact that we are shepherds of God’s flock, the Bible enjoins us to “keep watch” and to “take care” of them but we should bear in mind that one key ministry that flows out of shepherding is visitation.   

“Visitation is an intentional direct encounter by an individual with another person or persons for the purpose of getting to know them, understanding and addressing their felt needs, providing encouragement and assistance in the name of Jesus, and expressing through words or deeds the constant love and care of God” (Gakpetor 2013:5). 

The above definition gives much insight into the discussion. We can glean from it that Christian visitation is more than going to the homes and places of work of our church members. While that is good and part of our discussion, it is good to note that the visitation ministry is about making a conscious effort to have a direct encounter with another person or group of persons with the view of fellowshipping with them and offering them the needed care, where possible.  

Visitation has always been a crucial practice in Christianity. There is a perfect example in the apostle Paul’s ministry of how he conducted house-to-house activities as one of his models of visitation to the believers in the early church: “You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but has taught you publicly and from house to house” (Ac. 20:20, NIV). 

1.2 The Two Forms of Christian Visitation 

We shall attempt to discuss two-pronged approach – vertical and horizontal visitation because every Christian is by calling his brother’s keeper. While the presentation brings our attention to the importance of church leaders, generally perceived as the shepherds of God’s flock, to visit their members (vertical or top-down approach) as a way of pastoral care, it is equally important to understand the fact that church members also form the nucleus of the pastoral care ministry. They are to be equipped to be able to visit one another (the horizontal approach) for fellowship.  

Christians must clearly grasp the fact that the love of Christ is the basis of our pastoral care ministry of which visitation is a part. Kenyon (2010:15) puts it well: “The love of Christ must dominate the actions of every person who” professes to be His disciple, “from the foremost Christian leader to the quietly working but unnoticed layman” in the church. 


In the Old Testament, God is displeased with the priests and leaders of Israel for neglecting His flock and that shows how important pastoral care is considered in ministry. His reaction is contained in the following passage: 

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!’ says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: ‘You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,’ says the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:1, 2, NKJV). 

Negligence of the pastoral care will incur the displeasure of God since all are duty-bound to carry out that aspect of divine obligation. This informs us of the importance of fostering visitation in the church, particularly the local church where church members are fundamentally accounted for.   


The concept and principles of visitation are visible in the ministry of the early church, and it can be well understood as a practice under pastoral care ministry rather than a theological exposition. What transpires in visitation, whether house to house or wherever the visitation takes place, it must be godly in nature and devoid of pursuing any rebellious behaviour against God’s church or a group of people. In the case of the leaders in the local church, they are to shepherd the flock.  

Shepherding in this sense entails feeding the flock, protecting them, praying with them, and admonishing them with the scriptures. The apostle Paul, shedding light on this issue indicates, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood” (Ac. 20:28, NIV). 


Biblically, God’s intimate relationship with humans is a perfect example of visitation in the church. The Bible is replete with various occasions in which God himself visited His people. A typical example is God’s encounter with Adam and Eve following their disobedience to His Word when they ate the forbidden fruit. As a normal practice, God would have summoned Adam and his wife to a meeting somewhere for questioning, but He rather visited them in the garden which could be described as their home or place of work. The Bible says, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:8, NIV). 

It tells us about how concerned God was with His children and his readiness to visit them from time to time and under any circumstances. The scenario point to the fact that visitation in the church is crucial for not only the purposes of fellowship but also for the stabilization and unity of the members in the local church that inure to effective disciple-making and rapid growth of the church. 

Pastors and church leaders must learn this principle and always be ready to stay connected with the people so that they can identify themselves with the needs of their flock and help them to solve those challenges.  


The whole concept of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ as a motif of God’s redemptive plan for the kosmos (or world) is fundamentally in consonance with the ministry of visitation. Jesus visited the world with His message of salvation. As it happened in the Garden of Eden when God himself visited Adam and Eve during the Fall, ostensibly to rebuke them for repentance, so it happened when the appointed time reached for Him to save the world from its sinful nature (Gal. 4:4). Instead of finding a different approach by causing the world to repent of their sins, He sent His only begotten Son to the world to “visit humanity on earth” with the message of salvation to humankind (Jn. 3:16). 

5.1 The Purpose of the “Immanuel” 

Isaiah prophesies about the coming Messiah to be called “Immanuel” (Isa. 7:4) which is also corroborated by Matthew in the New Testament. The term Immanuel, which means “God with us” is very significant in God’s redemptive plan for His creation and a perfect example of our charge to be good shepherds in the church. The inference from the term Immanuel implies Jesus’ permanent presence among His people, the church. The idea is that everything about the ministry of God requires an intimate relationship or special encounter with Him. His presence with us as our Saviour serves as a model of ministry for Christians to foster a constant relationship with one another as one family in Christ.   

5.2 Jesus’ Approach to Visitation 

Jesus had a unique approach to visitation during His earthly ministry. Luke indicates that Jesus left a synagogue to visit Peter’s mother-in-law who was sick and prayed for her (Luke 4:38-40). This approach of Jesus Christ is a perfect example of the importance of visitation in the local church where even Christ himself had to leave a synagogue to attend to a sick member. In which way do we also attend to one another in critical situations?  

Even those of us who serve in God’s Kingdom as pastors, church officers and those with specific roles in the local church, do we have time for our church members with varied social backgrounds just as Jesus did? What type of pastoral care do we provide for new converts and newcomers in the church? Are we able to deal with people one-on-one, admonish them and pray with them in critical moments of their lives? The answers we give to these questions would determine the kind of pastoral care ministry we exhibit in the church. 


The life and ministry of Jesus is our model of doing ministry. We must take after Him as His disciples (Jn. 13:34; Phil. 2:3-8; 1 Pet. 2:21). During His earthly ministry, Jesus ministered to corporate bodies, fed multitudes, and fellowshipped with multitudes. In the same way, He ministered to individuals and transformed their lives. He visited Jairus’ home on his request for healing his sick daughter (Lk. 8:41,42), and Mary and Martha (Lk. 10:38-42). 

Another useful example is the story about Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus. He ministered to Zacchaeus at his home leading the latter to make a genuine and true confession of his sin. Jesus could have spoken to Zacchaeus during his encounter with him at the Sycamore tree by the road and left him alone to make his own decision. Nonetheless, He visited him in his home (Lk. 19:5, ESV). Jesus wanted to have a good personal relationship with Zacchaeus so that He would interact with him very well for his total transformation. 

The result of Jesus’ visitation to Zacchaeus’ home was genuine repentance, otherwise, he might have remained in his ungodliness if Jesus were to leave him without a deeper encounter with him at his home. Zacchaeus’ statement is evidence of the genuineness of his repentance when he said, “…Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now, I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Lk. 19:8, NIV). The love and care extended to him by Jesus Christ when He visited his home made him so open to Jesus that he could no longer harbour any ungodly attitude or treasure in secrecy before his Saviour and Lord. 

6.1 The Good Shepherd Model  

Jesus gives us a model of good shepherding and that understanding will help Christians not to neglect visitation. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…. ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd (Jn. 10:11, 14-16, NIV). 


The expectation of our discussion is to intentionally promote visitation in the local assembly because the local church is the backbone of The Church of Pentecost (CoP) system. The CoP is a locally based church, and more attention is given to building the local assembly as the basis of church growth. The local church is defined in the context of its membership; the healthier it is, the stronger the mother church becomes.   

What then is the nature of the CoP local assembly? Article 24 of the constitution1 of The Church of Pentecost (CoP) sub-sections (1 & 2) talks about membership of the Church and how they are categorised into adults and children.  

Article 24 (1.1) states: “Any member who is thirteen (13) years or more and who has accepted the Lord as his/her Lord and personal Saviour and is baptised into The Church becomes an adult member.” 

Article 24 (1.2) also notes: “Children who are below (13) years of age and have been dedicated by a minister of The Church becomes members.”  

The above sub-sections state the conditions associated with each category of membership. The emphasis, however, is that membership in the CoP begins at the local assembly. Fundamentally, the membership of every person in the CoP, whether an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, and officer, starts in the local assembly. Without belonging to a defined local assembly, one cannot claim to be a member of the Church. Even if a person is leaving one local assembly to another, it is the local assembly that initiates his transfer card from the local assembly and not necessarily the district, area, or national office. It is from the local assembly that leaders are selected for the work of ministry at the next level or for higher callings and appointments. 

7.1 Works of Ministry at the Local Assembly 

The collection of local assemblies forms a district and that is where a major aspect of the assessment of the Church’s performance is done. The performance indicators of the CoP are evangelism, water baptism, Holy Spirit baptism, children’s dedication, home cell and Bible study, number of communicants, tithes, mission offering, etc. These are factors of growth of the CoP and most of the people who work directly on these performance indicators are in the local assembly leadership structure. The local assembly is so vital in the Church that it is where people are prepared for marriage and marriages are blessed. Most of the counselling ministry services for the church members take place in the local assembly. It is also where some of the immediate needs of the church members are addressed.  

Therefore, the local assembly can be termed as the “equipping centre”. The Chairman of the Church, Apostle Eric Nyamekye, says that the local assembly “is the breeding grounds for raising godly men and women who are willing to apply Kingdom principles and values to bring transformation to their respective societies.”2  It is a training and equipping centre for members and officers of the Church.  

Here, they are trained and nurtured in the word of God to be kingdom-minded people who can possess their spheres of life with Kingdom values and principles. Critical discipleship work takes place in the local assembly. This makes the local assembly crucial in the entire system of governance in the CoP. Therefore, the diagram below shows the structure at the local assembly to ensure effective administration in the church. 

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  1. Routine Visitation:  This includes every member of the church and in this case, church members see visitation as part of their Christian responsibility and embark on it from time to time. The visitation team regularly visits the members not necessarily because they are facing problems but as a way of fulfilling their calling as good shepherds. For example, inactive members are to be visited routinely until they are fully restored. 
  1. Emergency or Circumstantial Visitation:  This type of visitation is embarked upon as a response to an emergency situation or a sudden circumstance confronting a church member or a local church. In this case, the visit to a specific group of persons or an individual may not be originally planned. Rather, it is driven by a circumstance with its exigencies that would at times necessitate a visit for admonishing, counselling, support, and prayers. For example, when there is an accident or disaster, or those with bad news such as bereavement, loss of property, and confronted with a serious problem may need our visit and encouragement. The victims will expect a visit from their fellow church members and the leaders of the church. 

It is biblical to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn,” (Rom. 12:15, NIV) just to keep a healthy relationship among us as a family in the body of Christ. 

  1. Scheduled Visitation:  This is a structured visitation programme by the visiting person(s) where a special schedule is given to the local church or individuals within a stipulated period. In this kind of visitation, both the visiting officer and the person being visited are aware of the schedule and prepare for it. The visiting person(s) may be the leadership of the church visiting a local church, specific members, or a person. This could also be a corporate or personal visitation schedule. The visitation programme must be very clear and well-articulated to be able to deepen the spirituality of the people and strengthen their faith in the Lord. Church leaders and visitation teams must have their visitation calendar well organized to make this all-important pastoral care ministry a standard and formal one. 


  1. Home and Family Visitation:  This is where church members are visited at their homes and places of abode. This may include visiting new converts (follow up), members backsliding, elderly and sick people, bereaved families, newly wedded couples, newly “delivered” persons, church leaders, wherever they find themselves. 
  1. Visitation to Places of Work:  This is a visitation to church members at their places of work, where applicable. Some people prefer visiting their places of work to their homes. 
  1. Visitation to Learning Institutions:  Where people spend much of their time acquiring knowledge, gaining skills, or receiving education becomes their learning institution. In our commitment to enhancing visitation in the local church, church leaders and visitation teams are to factor in their schedule to visit church members in their learning institutions, where applicable. 
  1. Action Point Visitation (APV):  This kind of visitation summarises all the models of visitation being discussed, and it is mostly carried out in a local church, particularly by church leaders. By action point, we mean the exact place (the local assembly) where most of the events in the church occur. It could also be considered as where a particular situation occurs with the church members. When leaders visit church members (God’s flock) at their places of worship they feel loved and cared for. In the same way, when church members are visited wherever they are located within their community, they feel loved. 

8.1 Reciprocity of Visitation 

Since visitation is part of caring for our neighbour, two principles should guide us as Christians. One is the “Golden Rule” which enjoins Christians to love their neighbour as themselves (Mk. 12:31). We are our neighbour’s keeper (Gal. 6:2) and that must be an embedded principle of our visitation ministry. In Galatians 6:2, we are enjoined to bear the burden of one another. When we are able to practice the principle of reciprocity regarding visitation and care for one another, the unity and bond in Christian fellowship will always be enhanced. 

The second point is premised on the practices of the CoP which encourages church members to treat their pastors as their personal friends. The backdrop of making someone a friend is to care for the person and always be ready to love him or her as yourself. Church leaders also need care from their members. They need the visit of the church members and prayer support as evidenced in the request of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:19, 20; Colossians 4:3. Paul was quite aware that church leaders are not immune to challenges and that was the premise of his prayer request for our leaders. 

The role of pastors and church leaders can be a very challenging task. At times, they are also confronted with personal challenges that would require support and encouragement from the church members. As leaders, who are held to a high standard in the church and society, they find it difficult to share their challenges with other people but our visit to them for fellowship could reassure them of belonging to the big family of Christ just as they do for us when we are facing challenges. The conclusion is that Christian visitation is reciprocal as long as we understand that it flows out of godly love by carrying one another’s burden. 


The ethical dimension of Christian visitation must be observed at all times. While on its peripheral value visitation sounds like a simple practice, it can be a delicate and complex exercise with various ethical issues. Visitation is part of pastoral care ministry but responding to this important call should be guided by a high sense of Christian ethics. The complexity in the exercise can be gleaned from Bryant, Lyons, Wasik’s assertion (1990:1992), “Visiting people in their homes to help potentially change their lives will inevitably create ethical dilemmas, regardless of the main focus of the visiting programme or the type of clients.” To avoid ethical dilemmas in visitation, the following may be considered in the context of a given culture within which pastoral care visitation takes place: 

  1. Advance Notice:  It is not best to always visit people with very short notice or without notice at all. To avoid “ambushing” them by our visit, it is best to schedule the visit with some specific individuals or groups of people in general situations.  
  1. Confidentiality:  it is always likely that the person being visited would repose his trust in the visitor as a brother or sister in Christ and share his confidential issues with him or her. Doehring (2015: xv) says, “The more people trust pastoral caregivers, the more they will entrust them with the bits and pieces of their stories.” When this happens, the visitor should know the information to restrain without sharing with any person and those to share with others for the purposes of prayer support and other involvement by the body of believers. In all these, the visitor should be discreet about the way they present the information concerning the person they visited. Bearing this in mind would increase the level of trust in the church. 
  1. Boundaries and Parameters:  The Christian visitor must always identify his or her boundaries around the person he visits in the light of Christian values and etiquette. Godliness must be a watchword in every facet of our visitation. Thus, everything that transpires there must conform to the values and principles of God’s Kingdom. 
  1. Caution in Dealing with the Opposite Sex:  It is always advisable to visit the opposite sex in the company of another Christian brother or sister or even, if possible, with a group of them.   
  1. Dealing with those with Social Needs:  Another area is dealing with diverse social needs. Those who embark on visitation face various challenges relating to the extent to which they are to address the social needs of persons they visit in the church. it is appropriate to make the purpose of the visit very clear right from the outset. For the visitor to offer any material assistance, it should be left to his discretion vis-a-vis the nature of the situation with the person or group of people being visited. This is very important to avoid persons we visit utterly disappointed. 

Church leaders and members should be intentional about this and identify them to avoid any unpleasant situation. If ethical issues have no definite answers and proper use of discretion in addressing situations, then it is good to reiterate our earlier assertion that training on visitation should be an integral part of our discipleship programmes in the local church. 

9.1 The Benefits of Visitation in the Local Church 

  1. Deepens love in the church and makes members feel a sense of belongingness. The biblical principle enjoining us to love our neighbour as ourselves, particularly when we are in a desperate situation (2 Cor. 5:14). 
  1. Promotes unity among church members in fellowship in the body of Christ and enhances the spirituality of the local church (Ps. 133:1-3; Acts 4:32). 
  1. Enhances the bond of trust and respect for one another in the church, where every person must know that he or she is called to be his brother’s keeper (Gal. 6:2). 
  1. Promotes genuine interpersonal relationships in the church. 
  1. Extends the pastoral care ministry to the doorsteps of church members (2 Thess. 5:11-13). Caring for others is a way of expressing one of the greatest virtues of God, love. The Bible says, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8, NKJV), (1 Jn. 4:16, NIV). Jesus himself demonstrated a greater love (Jn. 15:13, cf. Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:4). 
  1. Makes church leaders understand the life situation of their members better. The Prophet Elisha’s visit to the Shunammite woman afforded him an opportunity to know that she was childless (2 Kgs. 4:8-17). This can help church leaders in their preparation of sermons and teachings to address the real-life challenges facing the church members. The apostle Paul was able to write letters to address every local church because he was familiar with the situations confronting them. 
  1. Lonely church members such as elderly persons, persons with disabilities, the sick, widows, and orphans feel a sense of belonging to the larger Christian community when they are visited (Mark 1:40-45). 
  1. Helps to minimize backsliding and restore lost souls to Christ (Gal. 6:1-2; James 5:19-20). 
  1. It provides a basis for sampling church members’ views and reactions about the development of the church in their locality as some of them may feel free to interact with church leadership and share their views in a godly manner. 
  1. Makes church leadership identify the real needs of church members or challenges facing them for possible support (Jas. 1:26-27). 
  1. Brings church members closer to their leaders and fosters growth in the local church (John 4:28-29; 39). 
  1. Minimizes agitations and murmuring among church members and promotes a Christ-like attitude in the local church. 
  1. Enhances loyalty in the church as the church members know that their leaders care for them and increase support for one another. 

9.2 Challenges to Visitation in the Local Church 

  1. Lack of intentionality in planning and carrying out visitations to members. 
  1. Pastors are increasingly becoming reluctant in visiting their church members. At times, a few who practice visitation also do so selectively. That is, only a few members in a specific social class benefit from the visitation. Some pastors do not even visit their church officers so also some church officers likewise do not visit their pastors, a situation that indicates a complete breakdown of the visitation ministry in the local church. 
  1. Lack of budgetary for the visitation ministry is a challenge some of the members or leaders who are interested in visiting their members also face challenges of transportation to the places of members who live far away from the church premises. 
  1. The absence of visitation teams and pastoral care units at the Local level poses a challenge especially when it comes to visiting members of the opposite sex by individuals who are passionate about the ministry. 
  1. The absence of a visitation day at the local level is a major challenge to visitation. Local presbytery involvement in visitation activities is declining. 
  1. The limitation of access to the homes of members is also a challenge. There are members whose circumstances make visiting them at home virtually impossible. Such members may be visited at work or school where applicable. 
  1. Over-crowded programs at the local level still pose a challenge to the visitation of members. For example, crowded weekend social activities leave little room for visitation in the local church. 
  1. Economic challenges and pressure of work have made church leaders so busy that they are unable to visit their members regularly. This same situation also affects church members as some of them are almost always unavailable for a visit. 
  1. Inadequate intentional teachings on the subject of fellowship and visitation in the local church. 
  1. The leadership of some local churches is overwhelmed by the numbers under their care; hence they are not able to visit all of them. 


  1. Formation of Local Visitation Team:  The best approach is to form visitation teams and assigned them to specific areas of the community. The district minister should be part of the district visitation team while the presiding elder and his wife are to be part of the local team. Basically, the pastor’s responsibility is to guide the flock and feed them with the right pasture. 
  1. Intentional Follow-Up Teams: Every local church should form follow-up teams to be intentionally trained and unleashed with the core mandate to track the movement of church members and visit them. They are to combine all aspects of visitation models discussed in this presentation and be resourced enough to do their work with ease, but professionally. 
  1. The Local Presbytery Involvement: The local presbytery should also have their visitation schedule to intentionally visit their church members. This could be monthly, quarterly, or termly as a way of fulfilling their pastoral care ministry.  
  1. The Virtual Church and Visitation: The virtual world is also a community comprising people. The use of digital technology has become a critical component of contemporary ministry. Whatever applies to in-person activities in the church could also be extended to the use of digital technology. Sending text messages, WhatsApp, emails, zoom video conferencing, and using any kind of digital technology to reach out to church members is a very effective way of visitation in the virtual space. 
  1. Home Visitation Schedule and Guide: A structured home visitation schedule and a guide can be provided by the National Discipleship and Leadership Development Committee (NDLDC) for the local assemblies by the church, to add more impetus to our pastoral care ministry. This official aspect of visitation could be made once a month, quarterly or termly per annum depending on the dynamics of the local context within which the exercise is carried out. The bottom line, however, is that there is an assurance that local assembly visitation is carried out in a systematic way across all levels of the church in the nation. This does not cancel other forms of visitation in the local church. Local churches may have their own local arrangements. 
  1. Home Cells and Bible Study Groups: These groups are already in the church, and they are considered part of our pastoral care ministry. They are to be intentionally trained and encouraged to visit members in their group since that is more accessible and applicable than visiting the entire congregation in the case of mega churches. The squad formation groups also play into this as our pastoral care units. 
  1. Provision of Resources: Visitation is a ministry under the pastoral care and the church should have adequate resources in terms of human, finance, and logistics to make the visitation ministry vibrant and effective. The distances of church members and the uniqueness of the needs of the persons being visited may be considered during the budgeting stage. 
  1. Systematic Visitation Training: The systematic visitation training programme should be included in our home cell and Bible study materials. The training must include the ethical dimension of visitation to prepare members to follow the principles and values of God’s Kingdom. 
  1. Systematic Pastoral Care Ministry: Ineffective pastoral care is a major challenge affecting Christianity today due to various factors confronting society. It is, therefore, recommended that the church should establish a systematic pastoral care ministry bearing in mind that every person by nature needs someone to care for him or her in one form or another.  


It has been demonstrated in this presentation that, the church is a family that must live together in Christ with members exhibiting genuine love and care towards each other and godly fellowship among themselves. The church is likely to lose some of its members if visitation in the local assembly is relegated to the background. It is incumbent on all church leaders to make Christian visitation in the local assembly a critical issue to strengthen the fellowship among the brethren.  

To make this happen, effective pastoral care ministry must be ensured in the local church because that is where the nucleus of the church’s membership is formed. It is a place where church members are fed with God’s Word, disciples of Christ are made, members are visited, and serves as an equipping centre of the saints in Christ. The onus, therefore, lies on every local assembly to build effective pastoral care systems. 

We have also realized that every Christian is by calling a shepherd of God’s flock and that visitation is a crucial aspect of the pastoral care ministry by all members of the church. Every person in the church must nurture the desire to visit other persons just as he may want others to do unto him bearing in mind that Jesus enjoins Christians to do unto others as we may want them to do unto us. 

Finally, the Bible enjoins us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15, NIV). Christians must always be intentional in putting this biblical principle into practice in a real-life situation. When members of the local assembly handle the welfare issues of their colleagues from their perspective, our relationship as a family in the Lord will be solid. 


Bryant D Lyons C, Wasik BH, and Porter F 1990. Ethical Issues Involved in Home Visiting.    Graham Child Development Center. TECSE 10(4), 92-107

Denteh VA 2021. Revitalising Mission and Missiology: The Way forward in the Twenty-first Century. Accra, Ghana: Pentecost Press Limited. 

Doehring C 2016. The Practice of Pastoral Care. Revised and expanded. A Postmodern Approach. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. 

Fernandes E [2022]. The Church as the Family of God: Understanding the Mission of the Church. Accessed from, 2022-09-21. 

Fennema EC 1998. On Doing Home Visitation. Extracted from Ordained Servant vol. 7, no. 2 (Apr. 1998), pp. 32-34. Accessed from On Doing Home Visitation (, 2022-09-19. 

Gakpetor S 2013. Evangelism, Follow Up, and Visitation through the Cell Ministry. Takoradi. 

Helsel PB 2019. Pastoral Care and Counseling: An Introduction. Care for Stories, Systems, and Selves. Mahwah, New York: Paulist Press. 

Heward-Mills D 2001. Transform your Pastoral Ministry. Parchment House. 

Gray M and Gibbons J 2019.Ethical Considerations for Home Visiting. Access from Ethical Considerations for Home Visiting | ECLKC (, 2022-09-19. 

Patton J 2005. Pastoral Care: An Essential Guide. USA: Abington Press. 

Petersen BL 2013. Foundations of Pastoral Care. Kansas City, USA: Beacon Hill Press. 

Pipkin W (ed.) 1984. The Shepherd: Who is the True Pastor (1523) by Ulrich Zwingli. Vol. 2; Pittsburgh: Pickwick Publications. Accessed from Sermon-Zwingli-The-Shepherd.pdf (, 2022-09-19. 

White P 1998. The Effective Pastor. The Key things a Minister must Learn to be. Kaduna, Nigeria: Evangel Publishers Ltd. 

Willis DE 2019. Calvin’s Theology of Pastoral Care. Access from Calvin’s Theology of Pastoral Care (, 2022-09-22. 

Raising Family Altars to Strengthen the Local Church Lessons From The Puritans



The agenda to possess the nations is aimed at transforming every sphere of society with values and principles of the Kingdom of God. These targeted spheres include Government and Politics, Business and Economy, Education and Science, Media and Culture, Sports, and Entertainment. The family remains the foundation of society. It is derived from marriage – the union between a biologically male species (man) and a biologically female species (woman). To possess the nations, therefore, there is the need for critical attention to be paid to the institution of marriage and the family. 

 Marriage is one of the oldest institutions in the world. Marriage predates Christianity and thus existed before Christianity began. God ordained marriage for humanity (Gen. 2:18-24; Mt. 19:3-11). As a result, a person does not necessarily have to be a Christian to experience a successful or fulfilling marriage. All married couples living by the rules of love and understanding can make successful partners. However, in the case of the Christian, marriage becomes no ordinary union. It is a sign that speaks to the world about the mystical union of Christ and the Church, and one whose foundation is Christ Himself (Eph. 5:31). Success should therefore not be the only indicator for measuring Christian marriage and family. Christian marriage and family must also speak of the goodness of God.  

When two Christians walk to the altar to be joined in holy matrimony, Heaven rejoices because their union is strategic, and God expects godliness and godly offspring from them, as intimated by the Prophet Malachi, (Mal. 2:13-16). This calls for intentionality on the part of parents and guardians to raise these children and the entire household in the fear of God. One of the effective ways to raise godly children is by “raising” family altars in Christian homes.  

To achieve this task, we have a great deal of lessons to learn from the life and times of the Puritans, particularly on how they view marriage and family life. The Puritans were church reformers who lived in England in the 16th and the 17th centuries. Even though they originated from England, some later moved to North America. The life of the Puritans was characterized with a strong quest for purity hence the nickname: Puritan. The Puritans also had a strong desire to pursue godliness in all their endeavours, including marriage and family life. 


The family is a crucial institution because it serves as the conduit through which God blesses His people. The actions and inactions of the family is critical because it could cause God to release or withhold His blessings for them. Malachi’s contemporaries were distressed because God refused to accept their offerings, by withholding His blessings from them. Malachi explains that God was acting as a witness against husbands who were unfaithful to their wives: 

Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.  15 Has not [the Lord] made them one? In flesh and spirit, they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. 16 “I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the Lord Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith (Mal 2:13-16, NIV). 

 This suggests that the relationship between husband and wife is more than a commitment between two persons. Marriage is a covenant, a three-way relationship in which the couple is accountable to God who acts as a witness. God adds the spiritual dimension to the marital relationship and transforms the relationship into a powerhouse of strength. A generational blessing is guaranteed if the entire household is included in this relationship. 

 This is well exemplified in the life of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), a clergyman and his wife Sarah who bequeathed a godly legacy to their eleven (11) children and future descendants. At the turn of the 20th century, American educator and Pastor, A. E. Winship decided to trace the descendants of Jonathan Edwards, almost 150 years after his death. His findings were astounding. Jonathan Edward’s godly legacy includes: 

  • 1 US Vice- President 
  • 3 US Senators 
  • 3 Governors 
  • 3 Mayors 
  • 13 College President or VCs 
  • 30 Judges 
  • 65 Professors 
  • 80 Public Office holders 
  • 100 Missionaries 

The import of these outcomes is not necessarily the high social ladder Jonathan Edwards’ descendants climbed in the American society, but the foundation on which they stood. This impressive achievements of the various generations of the Edwards’ family are traced to the puritan upbringing of Jonathan Edwards with its strong Christian vision to life.  

Edwards’ life is worth emulating, for it teaches us that leaving a godly legacy to our children should be our ultimate goal as Christian parents. Admittedly, the faith and godliness of children is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit, but I equally believe that God often uses the influence of parents to make a great impact on their children. 

2.1 The Puritans View of Marriage and Family Life 

The Puritans set before their marriage partners the idea of wholehearted mutual love.  Richard Baxter, one of the great Puritans, enumerates the common duty of a husband and wife:  

  1. Entirely to love each other and avoid all things that tend to quench their love. 
  1. To dwell together, and enjoy each other, and faithfully join as helpers in the education of their children, the government of the family, and the management of their worldly business.  
  1. Especially to be helpers of each other’s salvation: to stir up each other to faith, love, and obedience, and good works; to warn and help each other against sin, and all temptations; to join in God’s worship in the family and in private; to prepare each other for the approach of death, and to comfort each other in the hopes of life eternal. 
  1. To avoid all dissensions (quarrels, contentions, strong disagreements) and to bear with those infirmities (physical weakness or ailments, or a moral weakness or failings) in each other which cannot be cured. 
  1. To keep conjugal chastity and fidelity, and to avoid all unseemly and immodest conduct with another, which may stir up jealousy; and yet to avoid all jealousy which is unjust. 
  1. To help one another to bear their burdens such as poverty, crosses, sickness, dangers, and to comfort and support each other. 

It is this mutual sharing of love and burden, and the drive for couples to support one another’s salvation that flows into the Puritans’ understanding of family life. To the Puritan, “family” is more of an extended model in contrast to the nuclear family. The Puritan had a broader view of the family. Family was not only limited to the core membership of parents and children. It included all the servants; elderly relatives being looked after and all other members of the household. The Puritans also saw the family as “the basic unit of the society and a little church in itself.”  

2.2 The Family Life: Two Other Views of the Puritans 

The Puritans held two other views of family life. For the Puritan family life is a “calling” and it is also seen as a “church and seminary.” 

 2.2.1 Family Life as a “Calling” 

The Puritans held that marriage and family life is a calling. It is a call to be a husband and father, a wife, and a mother. They believed that one is called to marry and to have children as God’s way of maintaining the human race and within that race, the church. As part of their calling, parents were expected to teach their children obedience to God and to themselves (parents). 

 Puritans believed that children were also called, and they were to be taught that they were called to be obedient to their parents and masters and to do what they commanded them in the Lord. Puritans’ view of life as a calling was expanded to other areas, such as their domestic lives (marriage and family life) and public lives (work and business in the community). As a result, the Puritan expected the generality of their members to be the best in all human endeavours: the best husbands, best wives, best children, best masters, best servants, best magistrates, best subjects etc. In so doing the doctrine of God might be adorned not blasphemed (Titus 2:7-10). 

 2.2.2 The Family as a Church and a Seminary 

There was a high expectation from the parents of the Puritan family especially the father when viewed against the Puritan’s idea of the family as “the seminary of church and state”, where children were to be well principled.  

The word church lends itself to a lot of interpretations. But in the context of our study, the church includes the children, servants, helpers, elderly relatives and whoever dwells in the home are brothers and sisters in the Lord. The entire household is seen as a community of believers who have accepted Jesus as Lord. For the Puritans, God is the father of the parents and to every member of the household, hence as members of the family they are all brothers and sisters in the Lord (Mt. 6:9; Jh. 20:17). 

Again, to the puritans the home (where the family dwells) must be seen as a place where active worship service goes on with Christ at the centre. According to John Geree, the typical “old English Puritan” saw the family as a church both regarding persons and exercises, admitting none into it but only those who feared God and laboured that those that were born in it, might be born again to God. This family church had the husband as its pastor and the wife as an assistant pastor. 

 The home of the Puritan was also seen as the first seminary, a special school providing education in theology, religious history, aimed at preparing the household for the priesthood, or any ministry or service with values and principles of the kingdom of God.  

The Puritans saw the family as “the seminary of church and state” where children were to be well principled. This is instructive because with the family as a seminary, the spiritual formation of children and the other members of the family are prioritised, and this was beneficial to the health of both the family and the state. 

 Within this context of the family as a seminary, the husband-pastor was responsible to channel the family into religion; to take them to church on the Lord’s Day, oversee the sanctifying of that entire day in the home; to catechize the children, and teach the faith: to examine the whole family after each sermon, to see how much had been retained and understood, and to fill any gaps in understanding that might remain; to lead the family in daily worship, ideally twice a day and to set an example of sober godliness at all times and in all matters. 

It is not enough to give birth; you need to raise him or her well. The caring is as important as the giving birth. This is a responsibility the Puritan parents took seriously. The statement/enquiry made by Samson’s father Manoah to the man who appeared to the wife seems to confirm this view: 

The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!”11. Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?” “I am,” he said.12. So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?” (Jdg. 13:2). 

 Manoah enquired of the man as to how he should raise the boy when his word is fulfilled.  

Unfortunately, in our time we do not approach family life the way the Puritans did. The occasion when father and mother would gather children around them, sing together and read a verse of the scriptures is just about unheard of. Morning and evening prayers was once an established institution in Christian homes but it sadly missing on our calendar of daily activities. As the number of domestic prayers decreases in our homes, so do our problems increase, especially problems emanating from our busy life schedules and how it is affecting our core mandates of raising healthy families and godly children. The fact that we are seasoned, and experienced Christians is not a guarantee that we will succeed in our parenting responsibilities.  There were devout men of faith who lived in the biblical times who failed as parents.   

2.3 Samuel, a Great Statesman but a Poor Parent  

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice. 4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” (1 Sam. 8 :1-5, NIV).  

If the sons of Samuel turned after dishonest gain, then maybe the children were not started off well (Pro. 22:6). It could be that their training was not good, or they never had any at all. Though Samuel served Israel well, it seems it was at the neglect of his home (1 Sam. 7:15-17). His house was not a church and a seminary like the puritans advocated. Samuel’s busy schedules as a priest, judge and a prophet of Israel could have been the reason he might have neglected his primary church and never made the home a seminary. It is expedient to guard against being too busy serving other interests to the detriment of our homes. Christ must be Lord of every department of our life. 

But the irony of the situation is much worrying. How come that Samuel repeated the same mistake Eli made which caused God to cut off Eli’s descendants from the priesthood and the sad fate that happened to his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas (1 Sam. 2:12-26).  

I agree with my good friend Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu that the old man Eli had tried to act by talking to his children but that was not enough, for he knew the behavior of his sons would attract the anger of God, for which reason he should have been more decisive and firmer in his response.  

Samuel’s children never followed his godly lifestyle, they turned after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice. Israel therefore rejected Samuel’s sons as judges. Though Samuel was displeased it was too late for him to correct his children and this is aptly reflected in Fredrick Douglass famous words: “it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” This was a great mistake that should not be repeated in any Christian home. 

The case of Samuel provides a compelling reason for parents to be intentional in raising their children in the fear of the Lord. Hannah, Samuel’s mother, made great effort and sacrifices to raise him for God and the nation of Israel (1 Sam. 2:18-19). Samuel on his part, however, could not cause his children to follow him in godliness. His example teaches that parents could be strong Christians but if they are not deliberate in raising godly children, they would not have them to follow Jesus Christ.  

The Puritans passion to please God expressed itself in an intense devotion for order. Their vision of a good and godly life was of a well-thought-out flow of activities in which all obligations were met, and time set for every activity: personal devotions, family devotions, domestic and public tasks. They also found time for intimacy with spouse and children, for attendance to church on the Lord’s Day, for sabbath rest and for whatever task one’s calling required. 

2.4 Children, our Greatest Treasure  

God hopes in parents to raise godly men and women from the heritage He has graciously given them (Ps. 127:3). In the long run, the grace of God plays a role in raising godly children, but parents should do their part and God will honour it. Our children are our greatest treasure, a heritage from God. Our divine providence could be linked to how we raise them for the Lord as revealed in Genesis 18:18-19 concerning Abraham: 

Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.19. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him. 

The promise of God could be trans-generational. However, the role of children in seeing to the fulfillment of these promises cannot be overlooked. Eli’s priestly line was cut short because of the behavior of his children (1 Sam 2:27-36). Parents ought to know that the priceless gift(s) they can give humanity is a child or children they raise to serve God and the state in righteousness.  Raising children is work but raising godly children could be harder, yet it is worth all the effort. One of the effective ways of raising godly children is by raising family altars. 


3.1 Defining an Altar 

An altar is a raised area in a house of worship where people can honor God with offerings. It is prominent in the Bible as “God’s table,” a sacred place for sacrifices and gifts offered up to God (Gen 12:7-8; 13:8). Altar, in religion, is a raised structure or place that is used for sacrifice, worship, or prayer. In this presentation I will use the phrase “family altar” to refer to the place in the house dedicated to the family to worship or pray. I may also use the phrases “family devotion” and “home worship” interchangeably to refer to family altar. 

3.2 How to Conduct a Family Devotion or Home Worship (Family Altar) 

3.2.1. Who leads the family devotion? 

The father-pastor and the mother-assistant pastor should lead the home church, all things being equal. Where the husband is deceased or is an unbeliever, the wife who is a Christian should lead. In a case where there are no parents, the elderly sibling, or the most mature Christian amongst them can organize the worship. 

3.2.2. Where do we begin? 

Raising family altars is made easy when the father-pastor and the mother-assistant pastor have the habit of praying together. Spouses may have a private and personal devotions but beyond that they should often meet to study the Bible and pray aloud unto God. This is one of the best means of improving marital health. A marriage can be completely transformed when couples regularly seek the face of God in prayer. Going day after day, week after week, month after month without praying together has undermined many marriages in our generation.  

Below are some tip-bits for conducting family worship  

  1. Schedule a convenient time (that suits family members). The greatest commodity and the most precious that God has graciously given all equally is time. Let us seize it to raise our household for him. 
  1. Home worship may include worship, testimony, Bible reading, recitations, Bible study etc.  
  1. Teach without preaching (it is a seminary). 
  1. Tell Biblical stories, especially when the children are young. 
  1. Talk to God together on issues; this should include thanksgiving, intercession etc.  
  1. Each member of the household should actively play a role.  
  1. Keep worship time brief especially when children are young.  
  1. Occasionally follow a pattern of teaching that would help solve specific problems, meet specific needs, and answer some questions. 
  1. Set some periods aside when the family waits upon God in retreats and tarry meetings.  
  1. The family worship must be consistent. Consistency is one of the strongest ingredient or components in achieving success in all endeavours.  
  1. Do your best to avoid distractions. 

 3.2.3. Relating to distant grown-up children 

There is the need to underscore at this point that even when children are grown-up and are miles away from home, they need to be discipled. It does not matter how old the children are, parents, ought to check on their relationship with Jesus. For example, through their prayers and epistles, the apostles continued to disciple their children in the Lord (1 Pet. 1:1-2; Jam. 1:1-3; Col. 1:9-12). 

 Contemporary communication technology has even made this simpler. Distance should no longer be a barrier. The family devotion with distant grown-up children should not be done daily because they may be pre-occupied with other equally important matters in their lives. Rather, a convenient schedule should be sought for this activity. 

3.3 The Importance of Family Altar 

 There are so many reasons why raising family altars is important. One of it is that it is mutually beneficial to all members of the household. It is not only targeted at raising godly children, but the elderly people also learn godly experiences. Constant communion amongst family members builds healthy relationships. But the most important of all is that our children do not grow up in pagan ignorance of Christ – that there will not rise a generation in our descendants who do not know the Lord.  Asaph buttresses the need to train the children in the laws of God in Psalm 78:1-11:  

My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.2. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—3. things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.4. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.5. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children,6. so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.7. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.8. They would not be like their ancestors — a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.9. The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle;10. they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law.11. They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them. 

 Asaph seems to suggest here that the laws of God should not be hidden from descendants and that one generation would have to teach the next generation so that the succeeding generations will not be like the ancestors, a stubborn and rebellious generation whose hearts were not loyal to God.  

3.4 Evaluating the Effect of Home Worship  

The members of the household must be given a compelling reason to attend the family worship. Successful worship is not likely to be achieved until one understands that worship is not just being present at the assembling point but getting involved in mind and spirit. 

The design of the home worship is to enable the household experience God in a tangible, practical, and highly spiritual way.  

Here are a few common ways worship time can be assessed: 

  1. members of the household are eager to return for another Holy Spirit encounter in the presence of God. 
  1. There’s an undeniable presence of God 
  1. Individuals experience a deep need to repent before God 
  1. The exhortation provided a biblical impetus for members to clarify their worldview  
  1. Emotional or physical healing of some discernible nature occurred  

Beyond all these the character of members of the household should be changing from glory to glory. 

3.5 Hindrances to Effective Home Worship  

  1. Busy schedule – this is where parents occupy themselves with so many obligations in and outside the home at the expense of home worship. Whether steeped in a busy schedule or not, God’s command remains – we are to imprint God’s Word on the hearts of our children. 
  1. Finding a convenient time that suits all family members. Finding a convenient time that suits all family members could sometimes be difficult. However, it is always better to start from somewhere, beginning with those who are available at a set time.  
  1. Poor spirituality of parents and guardians: This relates to a situation where parents are not inclined to spiritual things. The resultant effect is that the value they place on spiritual exercises such as home worship is always questionable.  
  1. Fast life in the cities. Fast life in the cities can sometimes be overwhelming. However, a quality family time with the Lord in worship must be safeguarded against all other priorities.  
  1. Spousal conflicts: This is where the state of tension or stress between marital couples takes away the joy of meeting together as a family in worship. Our ability to deal with conflicts as couples as they arise is a mark of Christian maturity.  
  1. Poor relationship amongst members. Effective family worship requires oneness of heart. The absence of this in many households hinders the ability of the family in coming together.   
  1. Lack of dedication to family worship and consistency in meetings may eventually end up taking away the joy of meeting together as a family.  
  1. Competing interests and distractions such as watching TV programmes could also hinder family worship in the home.   
  1. Mixed-faith marriages – religious training in homes of mixed-faith couples could be a major challenge in hindering family worship. Building consensus on doctrines and practices could be very difficult. Eventually, the children may reject both doctrines and religious practices of the parents which could lead to rebellion.  
  1. Inconsistent lifestyle of parents and guardians. Children expect parents to live a life consistent with what they profess. The absence of this takes away the sincere joy of joining parents for any effective family worship. 


Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;3. not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. (1 Pet. 5:2-3, NIV).   

Parents are admonished to heed to Peter’s admonition to church leaders, they are to play the role of overseers in their family worship.  The parent leader ought to be an example to the flock that are under his shepherd staff. 

A consistent religious pattern of behaviour in the home is a vital key to successful spiritual adjustment. The attitude portrayed in the home is a true reflection of the real self. Young people expect their parents to live a life consistent with what they profess. 

D. L. Moody once said, “A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian and most of all, his family ought to know”. 

Christians ought to reflect Christ in their marriage and family lives. In so doing, they would be setting good examples for the world to emulate and that is the target; thus, to prove that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the way, the truth and the life and was indeed sent by God. 

The boy whose parents never attend church and are not born again and who makes no pretense about being spiritual will excuse the parents’ behavior as it is consistent with their irreligion. But the youngster who sees the father who profess Christianity, accept leadership position in church and then come home and put-up behaviors such as yelling, blaming, embittering children, abusing wife, do not organize any devotions at home will find it difficult to accept the double standards. 

4.1 Parents/Guardians should be a Praying People 

Parents should constantly be standing in the gap for the people in the household, distance children and relatives in prayer beyond the home worship. Job’s purification prayers for his sons illustrate this point. The offering Job made on behalf of his children was a form of prayer. The Bible says, “this was a regular custom” (Job 1:5). Job was a “go-between” God and his children. He was their priest.  (Job 1:1-5, NIV). The Apostle Paul was constantly bearing his children (the congregation) up in prayers (Gal. 4:19, Col 1:7-12, Eph. 3:14-19, Heb. 13:20-21). 

Reviving the institution of marriage and family is possible in this perverse generation. Parents should not despair on their children, couples on their spouses or any member of the household.  Parents do not have to sack their recalcitrant children from home.  Rather, intercessory prayers should be made for the whole household, wayward children, and absentee parents.  


The aim of this presentation has been to reawaken the need for the raising of family altars, which is organizing family devotion or home worship. Drawing from the understanding that the possessing the nations agenda could be made easier if attention is given to marriage and family as the basic unit of society. Using the Puritan view on marriage and family life as an example, it has been understood that the family should be seen as a calling and a seminary and intentional efforts should be made to raise children as priests just as Hannah did for the boy Samuel. 

It must be stressed that no matter the busy schedules, parents have a responsibility to disciple their immediate children and the entire household, for the sustainability of the promise of the family legacy cannot be attained without the role of the children that are raised in the Lord. This is achievable when great premium is placed on the family altar. Parents will be held accountable for how they raised their children, how they handled God’s heritage he graciously gifted them. Children will not escape God’s judgement for how they responded to their parents’ instruction  


Asamoah-Gyadu, J. K. (2012). Jesus our Emmanuel: An Exercise in Homiletic Christology. African Christian Press. 

Barna, G. (1999). The Habits of Highly Effective Churches. Regal books. 

Helland R. (1998). The Revived Church. Sovereign World Ltd.  

Packer, J. I. (1990). A Quest for Godliness, 1990. Wheaton: Crossway.  

Schaeffer, F. (1972). The Church before the Watching World. Inter-University Press.  

Van Pelt, N. L. (1980). To Have and to Hold. Southern Publishing Association. 

2024 Theme Banner Blue


“A People of God Unleashed to Transform Their World”

1 PETER 2:9, NIV:

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

ACTS 1:8, NIV:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.


Possessing the nations: I am an agent of transformation!

Possessing the nations: Transforming my world!

To God be all the glory for how far He has brought His Church, especially in the past fast years where He saw us through the successful implementation of Phase 1 of the “Possessing the Nations” agenda. He has indeed proven Himself faithful to His covenant with His Church.

I would like to at this point express my gratitude for the dedicated efforts of the former Chairmen, General Secretaries, International Missions Directors, past Executive Council members and other founding leaders, who laid a solid foundation for this Church during their time.

I am particularly grateful to current and past Executive Council members who were directly involved in the planning and execution of Vision 2023. All Heads, ministers, officers, and members are appreciated for their massive support for the many successes achieved in the past five years. 

Dearly beloved, In the past five years, we have focused on equipping the church to possess the nations.  We have forcefully but carefully drummed home the fact that Christ did not come to save individual sinners but to build a community of believers called the Church. His intent was that through the church, the manifold wisdom of God would be demonstrated to the forces that govern nations (Eph. 3:10). 

We have not hesitated to bring to the fore the dual purpose of the church – thus, the church is called out of the world to adore God and sent back into the world to serve his purpose among the nations. To be an effective factor of change in the hands of God, we have taught that the church must be credible— a glorious church. It must be beautiful to be looked upon by the watching world. Thus, the church must be morally beautiful and doctrinally pure. We have also encouraged the church to see itself as God’s end-time militia to possess the nations.

Last year, anticipating that we would be launching full-scale into the world, we brought to our attention the need to reposition ourselves by paying attention to the rear (supporting) echelon – i.e., the local church. This was to enable the local church to continue to serve as the equipping centre and supply the needed resources and energy to the fighting echelon as we launch into the world.

It is now time, brothers and sisters, to consciously, intentionally and strategically unleash the vast potential currently held within the church to descend on the world and transform it with the values and principles of the kingdom of God. This is the only way we will make our huge numbers count for the kingdom of God. It, however, requires some systematic efforts, which will include helping our members to appreciate who they are as a people of God, the power and resources they are endowed with and their mandate in the world. 

The theme 2024, therefore, is “A People of God Unleashed to Transform Their World”. This theme is the first of the second phase of the “Possessing the Nations” agenda, which has as its overarching theme: “Possessing the Nations: Unleashing the Whole Church to Transform their World with the Values and Principles of the Kingdom of God”.

The theme 2024, “A People of God Unleashed to Transform Their World,” serves as the foundation for mobilising and unleashing the whole Church for the transformation of their world while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. This theme is a call to help every member see himself or herself as a channel through which God’s grace will flow in blessing to humanity. That the Christian is God’s hope for the manifestation of His glory on earth.

It is the desire of this theme that the church will see itself as a people of God, a peculiar people, a holy nation, a people amongst the peoples, with a mandate to influence their spheres. A people of God unleashed into the world is a call for the Church to be intentional in sending out our members to every sphere of society to transform it.

To achieve the above, the following topics have been selected to be treated during the period:

  • The characteristics of the church unleashed.
  • The church as a people of God
  • A people living by the principles, values and lifestyle of the Kingdom of God.
  • Raising Godly families to impact the church and the state.
  • Raising Christlike believers to transform their spheres. 
  • Unleashing wholistic witness through the local church to impact society. 
  • Flourishing life through personal devotions.
  • Sacrificial giving and tithing.

The foundational texts on which this theme premises will be 1 Peter 2:9 and Acts 1:8.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9, NIV).

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8, NIV).

Our forward march into the world should generate holy fear in the gates of Hades as Israel’s advancement frightened the Moabites to the point that they exclaimed, “This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” (Num. 22:4).  Our forward march into the spheres of society should result in “turning our world upside down” (Acts 17:6). 

May the Lord continue to be with us and grant us the needed grace to carry this theme through to its desired end as we seek to unleash the whole church to transform their world with the values and principles of the Kingdom of God.  Amen!

Apostle Eric Nyamekye

(Chairman, The Church of Pentecost)