Towards contextualizing the worship of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria
This study is written from the perspective of a pastor who has been involved in pastoral ministry with the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria for seventeen years. During my pastoral and evangelism ministry, I have encountered, experienced, heard and responded to people who are dissatisfied, left our church, and are pitching tent with other churches because of our inability to carry the people along and meet their spiritual needs especially in the areas of healing, prayers and music.
And in spite of the increasing demand for a more indigenous form of worship that will be culturally relevant to the people, the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria has depended on a Western form of worship that was handed over to us by the Scottish missionaries in 1846.
This thesis is primarily concerned with how the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria should contextualize her worship in order to make sense to herself and the people within her cultural context. The ideas presented in this paper seek to see how we can present Christianity in such a way that it meets and answers the people’s deepest needs and penetrates their worldview, thus allowing them to follow Christ and remain faithful within their own cultural setting. This thesis is not advocating a new Presbyterian Church but contextualizing some of our church’s liturgical life and worship that makes us too western to express our Africanness.
In making a case for the contextualization of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, I have attempted to look back to know where we are coming from, how we have fared and where we must go in the future. I believe our past can shape our present and our present can make us relevant for the future. The conclusion of this thesis is that the P.C.N. worship and liturgy, if expanded to include some special services, prayer and musical forms that are indigenous to the people, will be more meaningful and relevant to the people than the western style of worship introduced by the Scottish missionaries.