How Do They Do It?: Leadership Development within Church Planting Practices in Northern Nigeria

Publication Date



Models of healthy mission endeavors in the area of leadership development and leadership transfer are critical in training future missionaries to enter a new field. Missionaries must be able to recognize and disciple local leaders, then turn over the work to them in a healthy and timely manner. The church planting endeavors of the Foursquare Church in northern Nigeria is such a work.

This dissertation is case study looking at the ministry of the Foursquare Gospel Church in northern Nigeria (FGCN) as an example of a vibrant, cross-cultural, church planting work. Making use of individual and group interviews, focus groups, and observation, I have gathered and analyzed data looking for transferable leadership development principles that were significant in the success experienced by the Foursquare Church in Nigeria.

I used six indices of church health (worship, evangelism/missions, teaching/discipleship, community impact, fellowship, and leadership) drawn from the precedent literature which I further delineated into twenty-five subcategories to determine suitability of the Foursquare work in northern Nigeria to serve as a positive model of church planting and leadership development. I found ample evidence in all twenty-five areas to indicate that this was indeed a case worthy of study.

John Amstutz's Four-Stage Development Model of church development and Craig Ott and Gene Wilson's models of church planting, particularly the apostolic model, served as theoretical lenses through which to understand and assess the work of church planting and leadership development in northern Nigeria.

Nine recurring themes regarding leadership practices emerged from analysis of the data: prayer, vision casting, maintaining a learning posture, building relationships, evangelism, strategic decision making, teamwork, cultural awareness and sensitivity, and leadership development. In addition, I was able to draw out six principles which have significance for missionary training. They are: prayer and reliance on the Holy Spirit; the importance of having a clear ecclesiology, missiology, and vision; approaching the work from a learning posture; relinquishing control; the importance of a strong discipleship curriculum; and training leaders. In application of these principles I conclude the dissertation by proposing a six-module curriculum to supplement missionary training.

Mentor: Alan Weaver

Degree Name

Doctor of Intercultural Studies (DIS)

First Advisor

Weaver, Alan

Document Type



Foursquare Gospel Church in Northern Nigeria; International Church of the Foursquare Gospel; Missions; Church development, New; Pentecostal churches; Christian leadership


Missions and World Christianity


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