The Role of the Church in Reducing Unemployment in Nigeria (a Case Study of House on the Rock Church, Abuja)

The Role of the Church in Reducing Unemployment in Nigeria (a Case Study of House on the Rock Church, Abuja)


The Role of the Church in Reducing Unemployment in Nigeria (a Case Study of House on the Rock Church, Abuja)


Chapter One of  The Role of the Church in Reducing Unemployment in Nigeria (a Case Study of House on the Rock Church, Abuja)



Background to the Study

Although the current economic reforms in Nigeria were supposed to open up the national economy to the global economy, the reality on ground rather is the down-sizing of the civil service and more need to cut down on government expenditure (Onoge, 2005). This meant that social institutions, amongst them, schools deteriorated even as the intake and turn-out from such schools continued to rise annually. Consequently, the Nigerian situation is such that the institutions of learning turn out a workforce that is not equipped with the right skills employers require (McGraith and King, 1995). In addition, there is a recorded massive rural-urban drift, especially amongst the youth, who feel that they can make it better, economically in the metropolitan areas of the country (Echebiri, 2005). In consequence, the unemployed simply have to fend for themselves and grapple with this new phenomenon to create jobs independently – self-employment as it is called and this has been the trend for over two decades. It is how the youth have fared in pursuit of economic power/empowerment (entrepreneurship) and what the church can do to support them that constitute the thrust of this study.

Osamwonyi (2008), stated that the informal sector has been described by the International Finance Corporation as a vibrant sector that accounts for one-third of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), creating 90% new jobs. In Nigeria, the Federal office of statistics shows that the sector is responsible for 70% of Nigerian economic activity and 60% of total employment. By implication, a majority of Nigerians work and own business in this sector. However, the inability of the government to effectively harness the potential of these entrepreneurs and link them to the real sector has continued to foster poverty and undermine the potentials of economic growth that is inherent in this sector. Another important factor is that there are two types of entrepreneurs, namely: entrepreneurs of choice and those of necessity. The difference between the two is that entrepreneurs of choice are into business as a vocation and learn to seize opportunities in this field of endeavour. On the other hand, entrepreneurs of necessity are mostly those who are forced to survive in this sector because they do not have any other alternative. This group also comprises the dominant majority in the informal sectors who live and operate at the level of petty business/trading. Another significant difference is that the first group often comprise of business people who have received special training in one field or the other that place them in position to generate self-employment and to provide employment for other people. The second group is generally described as businessmen (and women) by necessity. Put in another way, skill acquisition is paramount because it is a recognized panacea for poverty alleviation as it fosters entrepreneurship and, in some cases, leads to the provision of micro-credit finance.

Youth in Nigeria constitutes the major percentage of the population and their importance to the present and future development of the nation cannot be underestimated. The political bureau (1987) observed that in the context of Nigeria’s historical experience the term refers to those between 6 – 30 years and those within this age group form about 56 percent of the population. Antanwu (2010) stated that they are “that part of the society that have departed from childhood and are entering a new phase of adulthood to grapple with the reality of their society”. It is a period of great biological and physiological changes in the life of an individual, internal stress, strain and crises. At this stage youth could be a problem to parents, teachers, the church, institutions and the government if they are not handled well. According to Iremeka (2007) it is all about working with youth to help them acquire the needed knowledge and then develop necessary skills, competence and attitudes which will make them become active agents in their society rather than victims of societal development and changes. It is therefore all about positively affecting their present position for good and making them contribute to the general development of the society.

Youth empowerment has become imperative today because it is seen as a vital ingredient in maintaining the social stability of our youth and to support nation building initiatives in Nigeria. The Social Development Policy of Nigeria (1989) believes that what the Nigerian youth need in today’s challenging world are emotional stability, self concept, identity, sense of belonging, intellectual and moral development, education, self-realization, good leadership and training to prepare them for their future role in the society. Therefore, this study will explore the impact of youth empowerment on the development of churches in Nigeria using Pentecostal churches like Deeper Christian Life Ministry, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Living Faith Church Worldwide, Christ Embassy, etc. as case study.

Statement of the Problem

Currently, Nigeria is experiencing economic hardship which has made the poverty to deeply penetrate the youth, which is the most vulnerable group in the society. They lack almost all the basic things needed for a better standard of living such as meaningful employment, good balanced diet, good health care services, clothing, affordable education etc. when youths pass through such difficulties they easily experience low self esteem, depression, and mental health issue. Youth suffering from poverty have high rate of juvenile delinquency, crime records and proximity to drug and substance abuse. Some of them who are neither having education, (formal or informal) nor working, due to lack of funds or adequate skills get involved in more criminal activities like stealing, pick pocketing, raping, robbery, kidnapping, ritual killings etc. (Reissand Roth 1993).

In a bid to develop and empower youth for community development participation, the entire church need to partner with other stake holders to co-ordinate and organize youth empowerment programmes aiming to integrate them into crucial tasks of the community development and also be useful for kingdom works. Such programmes like training youth on life skills, community participation programmes, income generating programmes, talents management programmes, can easily improve their self -esteem, self confidence, and self acceptance among the youths in the society. According to Chigunta (2002) Initiatives of promoting youth empowerment programmes require an acceptance of youth as partners in the process such that youth development could be taken as an integral part of the strategic vision and plan of the church as an organization. Youth need to have a legitimate place in the governance of the organization and be given the opportunity to participate in decision making particularly on matters that affect them (Curtin 2004).

Other research studies have been done on other aspects of the youth empowerment programmes like youth and poverty, world youth report (2005), youth and violence, cook (1991) youth and vocational training, Chinguta (2002), youth and unemployment, World Bank report (1994). Example, research made on youth and poverty in (2005) found that the broad estimate of the poor youth is largely found in southern Asia with (84.1 million), followed by sub-Saharan Africa with (60.7 million). This study noted that the largest concentration of youth living in extreme poverty that is surviving on less than 1 US dollar per day is India (67.7 million), (China 33.3 million), Nigeria (18.60 million), Bangladesh (9.9 million), Democratic Republic of Congo,(6.9 million), Ethiopia (3.4 million), Indonesia (3.1 million), Vietnam (2.9 million) World youth report (2005). This research study will however seek to investigate the role of the Church in reducing unemployment in Nigeria by using House on the Rock Church, Abuja, as a case study.

Research Objectives

The study has both general objective and specific objectives. The general objective or main objective of this study is to investigate the role of the Church in reducing unemployment in Nigeria by using House on the Rock Church, Abuja, as a case study. The specific objectives are:

i)             To evaluate the roles of the Church in reducing unemployment in Nigeria

ii)           To examine the roles of religious leaders toward youth empowerment on the development of churches in Nigeria

iii)         To study the contributions of House on the Rock Church to the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria

Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

i)             What are the roles of the Church in reducing unemployment in Nigeria?

ii)           What are the roles of religious leaders toward youth empowerment on the development of churches in Nigeria?

iii)         What are the contributions of House on the Rock Church to the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria?

Research Hypothesis

Ho: Churches have not reduced unemployment in Nigeria

Hi: Churches have played a significant role in reducing unemployment in Nigeria

Significance of Study

This study investigates investigate the role of the Church in reducing unemployment in Nigeria by using House on the Rock Church, Abuja, as a case study, therefore it is significant because it will contribute to the body of knowledge in the area of young people who are mostly affected by the challenges that face them in the church. It will also be significant to the parents of these young people in the church and church leaders who does not bother to involve youth in decision making programmes that can affect their well being positively. The finding of this research study can be used as a foundation base for further research on the same field.

Scope of the Study

The study will be carried out among the members House on the Rock Church, Abuja. The study will aim to capture the attention of the young people, parents, and clergy on specific programmes that can create basis for their retention in the church which can lead to the development of the churches.

Limitation of the Study

The Major Limitations of the study are:

Cost Limitation: There was a cost limitation. This means that we could not offer any gift or monetary incentives for the respondents to answer the questionnaire. This might have resulted in certain prospective respondents choosing not to respond to the questionnaire. This might not have created a motivation among respondents not to take a chance to give opinions. Time Limitation: There are two types of time limitation faced during the study. The study was done for a period of four weeks. Hence the results would reflect the impact of the time constraint. The insights of the unemployed youths were observed during the period of study. A more extensive study conducted over a larger time period or during a special period of time like when there were higher numbers of issues, can include insights from unemployed youths over a broader time period and can bring in further depth into the research.

Definition of Terms

The following terms were used during the cause of the study.

Church: is a community of believers in the Lord, Jesus Christ. It represents a microcosm of the larger society to which it is called to mirror the love of God as demonstrated in the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus. The church is also called to serve humanity through the love of God that it has received and shares with other members of the society.

Empowerment: is the process of obtaining the basic opportunities for marginalised people either directly through those people or through help of others who share their own access to these opportunities. Empowerment also includes encouraging and developing skills for self sufficiency with a focus on eliminating the future for charity or welfare in the individuals or the group.

Life skills – Are problems solving behaviour used appropriately and responsibly in the management of affairs. They are set of human skills acquired via teaching or direct experience that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life.

Youth: is the time of life between childhood and adulthood (maturity). Definitions of the specific age range that constitute age vary. An individual’s actual maturity may not correspond to their age, as immature individuals could exist at all ages. Along the world the term youth, adolescent, teenagers, young people are interchanged often meaning the same thing. Youth generally refer to a time of life that is neither childhood nor adulthood but rather somewhere in between.

Youth empowerment: is an attitudinal, structural and cultural process whereby young people gain the ability, authority and agency to make decisions and implement change in their own lives and the lives of other people including youth and adults. Youth empowerment is often addressed as a gateway to intergenerational equity, civic engagement and democracy building.