1.1 Background of the Study
Before Jesus Christ left the world, He gave a command for the church to evangelize and win souls with no specific limitations accorded to this Great Commission.
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them: when they saw him, they worshiped Him;” but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciple of all nations baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you and remember, I am with you always to the end of the earth. Math. 28:16-20 (KJV).
Critically looking at this commission, Lee-Print (2013) opined that the great commission is filled with action (verbs) ‘so’, ‘make’, ‘baptize’ and ‘teach’. In a nutshell,Bonhoeffer opine that the Great Commission is an order from our commander in chief to the ministry of discipleship. He further stated note this “Christianity
without the living Christis inevitably Christianity, without is always Christianity without Christ” (2010:25).
According to Geiger, et al (2014), the fundamental reason the church exists is to make disciples of Jesus. A pertinent question that is quite critical to exists is to make disciples of Jesus. A pertinent question that is quite critical to theologians even to the Assembly of God theologians is the problem of identifying who this Great Commission was commissioned for, who are the ones to achieve this great commission. This brings us to the concept of the laity.
The laity according to the oxford dictionary (2018) refers to the lays in the church or the non-ordained. Beer (2015) defined the laity as the “non-bishop or non-ordained or members of the congregation.Bassey (2015:13) sees the laity as the “congregation who are communication in the church. In the Assemblies of God church, the member are classified into the ordained and the laity.
The laity in recent development in most churches especially the Assemblies of God churches, have been tasked with greater evangelism leading to a question by Bill (2015:85) who was of the opinion that who among the clergy and the laity have the exclusive right to effectively implement this great commission. According to Bonhoefer (2009:120), the laity effectively perform three core functions to help actualizing the great commission, they include but not limited to financing engagements evangelism, and follow-up.
A key function of the laity in the work of evangelism which is the great commission is the provision of key finance to aid the great commission. Most laity either through their tithe and offering usually provide the necessary fiancé to aid the actualization of the great commission. Finances are greatly required to acquire vehicles, speakers and its systems to enable the church actualize its evangelism goals and objectives.
Another function of the laity is the proper propagation of the gospel of the Jesus Christ to the nation. According to Benholf (2012:14), the great commission is a task for both the ordained and the lays (laity). They ordained supports or commission the process with prayers while the laity (the lays) moves around searching for the lost and downtrodden. The laity in this regards becomes the fishers of men to the world”. In Assemblies of God churches, the laities usually takes up evangelism duties to win souls to the church.
The follow up problems involves the laity going back to the souls win to ensure they have easy follow-up to the gospel. In that, those having issues with the new life style are usually given classification and steps to overcome challenges affecting their new formed life in Christ Jesus. The laity has a lot to do in ensuring the great commission is achieve.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The Great Commission was meant specifically to be achieved by no particular group in order but by everyone. The great commission that encourages evangelism does not limit any particular group of people in the church.Although, the church is divided into the ordained and the laity.
This is the end time and there is need to encourage more people into the field to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost and downtrodden. With this objective in mind, it is important to cooperate with the laity in this end time mission of reaching the lost back to the gospel of lord Jesus Christ before the second coming of our lord and savior.
It is quite disheartening to note that most that churches often times neglect the laity to the background when implementingthe great commission in Assemblies of God churches, this research will provide insight and proper literature in the area of the laity and the implementation of the great commission in Assemblies of God church.
1.4 Scope of the Study
This study on the roles of the laity in implementation of the great commission in Assemblies of God church, in AkwaIbomState-East Senatorial District, the study covers the three works of the laity on financing, evangelism and follow-up process.
This work is delimited to Assemblies of God Church in Uyo-RAST District of AkwaIbom State, Nigeria. This work is delimited to the Pastors and Laities in the Church.
1.5 Limitations of the Study
This study is limited by time, finance and the problem of assessing information for this research.
1.6 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to examine the roles of the laity in implementation of the great commission in Assemblies of God churches, in AkwaIbom State Uyo-East District. Specifically, the study in intended and examine the role of;
The financing function of the laity in implementing the great the commission in Assemblies of God Churches in Uyo-East District.
Financing function of the laity in implementing the great commission in Assemblies of God Churches, in Uyo East District.
1.7 Research Question
The following question were asked by the remember to guide the study.
What are the financial function of the laity in implementing the great commission?
What are the propagating functions of the laity in implementing the great Commission in Assemblies of God Church?