1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The contemporary African society is reeling under tremendous challenges. In the African traditional society, there were institutions which socialised Africans so that members of the society could play their rightful roles. The colonial governments and the new religions they introduced brought new institutions which were aimed at replacing the traditional African institutions. Some of these institutions have not satisfactorily taken the place of the African institutions. The result of this has been the emergence of social problems and other challenges. The greatest challenge facing many African societies is moral or ethical. In many African societies there is corruption, nepotism, greed and other acts of irresponsibility. These moral issues point to lack of adequate socialisation on moral issues. There is also lack of virtues such as integrity, hard work, unity, social care, tolerance and co-existence. Individuals especially the youth are exposed to western mass media which instead of inculcating moral values is driven by commercial interests. Much as there is a strong desire by many parents to spiritually nurture their children, many drop out of their spiritual path and by the time they are teenagers or adults, the lives they are leading are wanting. The church needs to reach out to people and especially children in a holistic way – spiritually, physically, socially as well as economically. “The church has a big aspect of nurturing development of children. It is important that children grow up with values and the church is very strategically positioned to do that. Today we are reminding the church of its divine role especially now when there are many conflicting aspects affecting children,” “In many churches, children as seen as an unimportant aspect of church, church leaders and parents should pay attention to children and provide for their needs spiritually, education wise, health and socially,”. A Christian upbringing lays a moral and spiritual foundation in a child, while a scholastic education aims at developing his mental abilities. These are two different activities. There is no reason to think that scholastic education automatically facilitates the moral development of a child. Some people may be very educated but ill-bred and unspiritual. On the other hand, totally uneducated peasants can be highly spiritual and moral people. Any upbringing, either within the family or the school, can only pursue temporary aims related to the needs of the family and society when divorced from religion. For instance, the aim of education in totalitarian countries is to make a person an obedient instrument of the government. In contemporary public schools in the USA and many other countries, the object of education is not a person's highest welfare or his spiritual integrity, but the material needs of the government and community. An Orthodox religious upbringing, on the other hand, is concerned with the moral development of the soul and is guided by eternal spiritual principles. Here the content does not change with political trends or new sociological ideas but is founded on Divine revelation. Parents should direct their child not according to fashion or society's needs but according to the Word of God. It is the task of this research to therefore look at what informs the society’s expectation of what pastors’ children ought to be and what are the factors that ultimately affects pastor’s children’s conduct or behavior positively or negatively. The research then looks at the building blocks for developing ethical life and conduct in pastors’ children.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Pastoral parents who are accountable to a church congregation along with their children assume a difficult task that non-pastoral parents will never experience. The ability for pastors to escape from stressors of church and family life are challenging because both are encompassed in the pastoral lifestyle. For evangelical clergy, leading people to faith in Jesus Christ is the capstone of their pastoral duties. When children choose to walk away from the Christian faith, it can project a sense of personal failure in reaching those who are closest to home. The pastor’s ability to escape these feelings can become overwhelming, even damaging to the pastors soul. Similar to mainstream statistics for young adults raised in Christian homes, three out of four pastors claim their child fifteen and older has experienced significant doubts of faith. In the midst of the stress caused by a wayward child, pastors in autonomous evangelical churches are often fighting two battles that require a balancing act. Congregants use Scripture to oust the pastor from positions in which God has called them to serve because of their child’s behaviour. In the midst of vocational struggles, siblings and spouses are demanding attention as a husband, father, and household spiritual leader. The previous statistics show that pastors are experiencing a similar issue to modern Christian families. This means faithless children are not a complication confined to congregants who attend church on the weekends, and embellish the world during the week. The dilemma of faithless children is infiltrating spiritual leadership in the Christian culture at the same, if not greater, alarming rate. While the influences of the world have become greater and the ability to protect children from these influences is increasingly difficult, pastors can do only so much to lead their children to faith and purity in Christ. When a child chooses to walk away from these foundations, pastoral parents are left hurting emotionally and spiritually. Families experience a wide variety of concerns that alter the normal functioning of the household. There is no simple example of the distress a parent might feel when dealing with issues. The emotional and spiritual impact will always manifest itself differently. Many factors play a role in the extent of the parental distress. With this evidence, the pastor is in need of simple tools that will encourage them in the midst of the discouraging behavior from the church and his/her prodigal child.
1.3. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the challenges of moral upbringing of pastor’s children. Other general objectives of the study are:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant relationship between UMCA churches and pastor’s children moral upbringing in Niger state.
H1: There is a significant relationship between UMCA churches and pastor’s children moral upbringing in Niger state.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The greatest challenge facing the pastor is that of managing the ministry and his family which includes his children. Moral upbringing pastor’s children are not a simple task and it is affected by a complex set of factors, not all of which can be controlled by the church.
This research work seeks to study the challenges of moral upbringing of pastor’s children. Though pastors' do concentrate on the ministry work more than their families, there is need for them to manage their work well so as to have time for their families.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the challenges of moral upbringing of pastor’s children, a case study of United Missionary church of Africa in Niger state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Moral-religious education: It is the process of imparting religious and moral principles and values into an individual
Church Minister: A church minister usually identifies a person who delivers sermons or homilies on religious topics to an assembly of people
Family: A basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.
Moral development: It is the process through which children develop proper attitudes and behaviours towards people in society, based on social and cultural norms, rules, and laws. It is necessary to develop proper moral values in children. Moral development is a process of reaching the feeling of justice in relation to others, the correctness or incorrectness of this matter, and the way a person behaves in each of these matters.
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