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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Empowered belonging through identity transformation: Assemblies of God church planting narratives from West Africa since 1990
by Jester, Jerry Stephen, Ph.D., Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, 2014, 344; 3683273
Abstract (Summary)

From 1914 to 1990, Assemblies of God (AG) church planting efforts in Africa produced approximately ten thousand local churches and two million adherents. Since 1990, African Assemblies of God (AAG) churches emphasized ambitious church planting initiatives resulting in the addition of approximately fifty-four thousand local churches and fourteen million believers. This study examines the narratives of AAG church planters in West Africa to ascertain those factors influencing their church planting perceptions and activities in relation to Pentecostal missiology, the sociocultural context, leadership, and organizational development.

In order to discover those factors influencing church multiplication and growth, interview narratives of twelve leaders and fifty-one AAG church planters in West Africa were examined, delimited to the Anglophone context of Nigeria and the Francophone context of Togo. Using a qualitative data collection and analysis process known as grounded theory methodology, I discovered those factors that influence the perceptions and activities of church planters in the contexts of the study.

The findings show that church planters experience transformation in Christ and seek the transformation of their past, represented in the village, by planting new churches of transformed converts. This is a process of "backwarding" the Gospel to the village. These efforts lead to a renewal of the African self in a search for true belonging, enabling redemption of the African past and reclamation of the African future through Christ in Spirit empowerment. Church planting results in the local AAG church being a place of belonging and belonging to a place. This is described as ecclesiastical belonging, dimensionalized accordingly as proximal church planting, accessible church planting, and assimilation church planting. Belonging in these contexts is experiential through Gospel proclamation in Spirit empowerment to meet African aspirations to experience the divine. Additionally, belonging is relational, for the local AAG belongs to a global Pentecostal faith community.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rance, DeLonn L.
Commitee: Johnson, Alan R., Newberry, Warren B.
School: Assemblies of God Theological Seminary
Department: Intercultural Doctoral Studies
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 76/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Cultural anthropology, Sub Saharan Africa Studies
Keywords: Assemblies of god, Church planting, Nigeria, Pentecostal, Togo, West africa
Publication Number: 3683273
ISBN: 978-1-321-57351-0
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