Youth conversion from mainstream to Pentecostal Churches: A case of selected churhes in Matero and Emmasdale Townships, Lusaka District
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The study sought to investigate youth conversion from mainstream to Pentecostal churches. The objectives of the study were; to explore reasons for youth conversion to Pentecostalism; examine the reactions of church leaders who may be losing youths to Pentecostalism and; to ascertain the reaction of the non-Pentecostal parents whose children are converting to Pentecostalism. The study was guided by Horton‟s intellectualist theory of conversion in Africa and used the case study design which employed the qualitative strategy in order to effectively address the issues raised by the research questions. Data collection methods included: semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and questionnaire. Target population included church leaders, youths and non-Pentecostal parents in all churches in Matero and Emmasdale. Non-probability sampling was employed in this study to select the participants. Purposive sampling was used to choose the church leaders and youths, while non-Pentecostal parents were snowballed through participants who were members of Pentecostal churches. The findings of the study were that, there was automatic conversion taking place among the youths in mainstream churches to Pentecostalism. This was evident in all respondents in Pentecostal churches who had a mainstream background. The findings also indicated that all selected church leaders were aware of youth converting to Pentecostal churches, especially to Bread of Life Church in Emmasdale in the neighbourhood of Matero. The church leaders in mainstream churches accepted back the youths who had converted to a Pentecostal Church but had later made up their minds to go back. The youths wanted to explore and find happiness. The study further revealed that non-Pentecostal parents supported and encouraged their children who converted to Bread of Life Church owing to incentives such as; scholarships, employment and feeding programmes given to the children. The study recommends that: sermon presentation should be revised in some mainstream churches. The study also recommends that, explaining scriptures should not be exegetical only but linking scriptures to real life struggles of the youth. The church leaders in mainstream churches must formulate programmes that are more practical and youth oriented like charismatic prayer service, provision of scholarships, employment and positions of responsibilities. Non-Pentecostal parents should not be too sceptical about children who associate themselves with Pentecostalism, but encourage them to genuinely convert to this brand of Christianity.
University of Zambia
Master of Education in Religious Studies