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The main objective of the study was to find out the effects of Pastoral counseling on church
growth in the Anglican Diocese of Jos. Periodic reports revealed that whenever new
congregations are planted, they wind up soon while the older congregations either decrease or
remain stagnant. Earlier studies showed that pastoral counseling is not common among pastors in
the Diocese yet the church has people who are distressed and hurt as a result of bereavement,
illnesses, divorce, etc. If other churches thrive in the same areas, what make the Anglican
churches not to grow?
The study was a survey (specifically case study of Diocese of Jos). Fifty five congregations were
drawn from the Anglican and six other denominations. Two questionnaires were issued to two
hundred and forty clergy and lay respondents from the selected congregations. Twenty people
were interviewed while ten others were engaged in pastoral counseling. The responses were
analyzed using frequency and percentage statistical tools.
The study found out that pastoral counseling is effective in bringing about numerical and
spiritual growth of a church. It also found that members of the Diocese of Jos face challenges
such as sexual sin, family issues, spiritual issues, alcoholism, marital problems, depression,
physical illnesses and bereavement just as in other denominations. However, while lay people in
other denominations turn up for pastoral counseling easily, lay members of the Anglican Church
hardly turn up. Also, the outcome of pastoral counseling in the other denominations has been
better than in the Anglican churches. Reason for the poor outcome include: pastors’ inexperience
or incompetence, lack of confidence in pastor as counselor, fear, reluctance by the lay members,
lack of sensitization/awareness, busy schedules of pastor and lay people, etc. The study also
found out that the following factors are effective for church growth: effective teaching of the
word of God, discipleship, evangelism and witnessing, prayers, bible study and good
sermons/preaching – all which the Diocese of Jos was found to be involved actively. Based on
this, the researcher concluded that the poor provision or absence of pastoral counseling services
is responsible for the poor growth of churches in the Diocese of Jos. This is attributed to the
incompetence of the pastors in pastoral counseling.
The study recommended the need for pastors to be thoroughly trained both in theology, mental
health and psychology, especially pastoral psychology. It also recommended the establishment of
a counseling unit or department at each Archdeaconry level to help members whose pastors may
not be competent. Evangelistic outreaches should be planned to accommodate pastoral
counselors’ involvement on the field. The church is called to care for persons in need (who
require physical, psychological, and spiritual healing. Pastors should deliberately plan time for
pastoral counseling and sensitize members of their congregations about the relevance of seeking
pastoral counseling services. Pastors should keep watch over themselves, their spiritual lives in
particular as they are models. Finally, the study recommended further research into the
relationship between psychological well-being and Christian faith and practice in Jos metropolis.