FACTORS LEADING TO THE MIGRATION OF CHURCH MEMBERS FROM THE METHODIST CHURCH OF KENYA, KAAGA CIRCUIT TO OTHER DENOMINATIONS

SUSAN KIENDE MUGUNA

2014

ABSTRACT

Migration of  Church  members from one denomination to another is of concern to Christianity.  The Methodist church of Kenya is experiencing these migrations too. In Kaaga Synod the church lost 500 members between 2010 and 2012. Kaaga Circuit alone lost 205 members within the same period.  The study sought to investigate the factors influencing migration of  Church  members from the Methodist  Church  in Kenya Kaaga Circuit to other denominations. The study was carried out in Kaaga Circuit within Kaaga Synod. The study sought to establish whether conservatism,struggle for power, increased monetary giving, many development projects and the rise of prosperity gospel are influencing members to migrate from the Methodist Churches in Kaaga Circuit to other denominations. The assumption of the study was that respondents would give correct information relevant to the study.  The study is useful to the Methodist Churches in Kaaga circuit and other Churches in Kenya in establishing reasons  people keep on moving from one denomination to another  so as to draw strategies to reduce these movements. The study will contribute to the body of knowledge and especially in Religious Studies.  Literature was reviewed on the establishment  of the Methodist  Church  in Kenya, its coming to Meru, establishment of Kaaga Synod and Kaaga Circuit and the factors which lead Christians to keep on migrating from one denomination to another. The study was guided by Relative Deprivation Theory which explains how individuals  compare themselves with others and how they develop a deviant behavior when  they feel deprived of what they feel is entitled to them.  Descriptive survey research design was used to carry out  this study. The study targeted 4,600 members  in Kaaga Circuit and 205 migrants to other denominations. Cluster sampling technique was applied  where Kaaga, Chabuene and Mwanika sections formed clusters.  Snow ball technique was used to get the migrants. Data collection was done using questionnaires  and observations. Data was analyzed and findings presented using descriptive statistics. The study revealed  the main reasons why  individuals migrate  from the Methodist  Church  Kaaga Circuit  as conservatism and power struggles  in  the  Methodist  Church, influence of prosperity gospel and  high demands in monetary giving.  Other factors revealed in the study included unfulfilled expectations in the Church, relocations, transfers, marriages and curiosity.  It also revealed strategies to be applied  by Church  to  reduce  these migrations  which included; reduce rigidity by  improving on the worship style, give the Church buildings some aesthetic touch occasionally, musical instruments and other apparatus to be renewed occasionally, evaluate monetary giving and the projects in the Church which  are  overburdening the Church members. The Church leadership needs to be flexible in their practice and activities to cope with the emerging issues in the society.  The youth should be included in the leadership and in all other Church activities so that their spiritual needs and other needs may be fulfilled.

 

 

 

 

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