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HTS Theological Studies

versión On-line ISSN 2072-8050
versión impresa ISSN 0259-9422

Herv. teol. stud. vol.75 no.4 Pretoria  2019

http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5278 

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

 

Missional branding: A case study of the Church of Pentecost

 

 

Peter White

Department of Religion Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Correspondence

 

 


ABSTRACT

Branding is a strategy designed by companies to help patrons or consumers quickly identify their products or organisations and give them a reason to choose their products or organisations over other competitors. In the Old Testament, God identified the Israelites as a unique brand. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ branded the church with the power of the Holy Spirit, miracles, signs and wonders. Reading the Acts of the Apostles, the church developed a brand of being Spirit-filled, communal-living and mission-minded. It was out of this that early believers in Antioch were called 'Christians'. The name 'Christian' therefore became a brand name for believers and followers of Jesus Christ. In view of this, one would expect that the concept of branding would be a major tool for modern-day churches. Although there are several publications on branding from the perspective of marketing and management, there is no such academic research on missional branding, hence this research. This article contributes to the interdisciplinary discourse on branding, with specific reference to the missional branding of the Church of Pentecost.

Keywords: Branding; Missional branding; The Church of Pentecost; Pentecostalism; Mission.


 

 

Introduction

Christian organisations and branding are not in fact at war, nor are they mutually exclusive. Through the journey of evangelism and social responsibility by the church, significant changes have occurred in administrative and management culture regarding its brand, which should be seen reflecting in the church's own practices. Branding is increasingly considered a contemporary development that continues to reshape an organisation's identity (Aaker 1996:70,78). The effective performance of the church as an organisation depends not only on the available resources but also its brand as required by the organisation from time to time. Reading the Acts of the Apostles, the church developed a brand of being Spirit-filled, communal-living and mission-minded (Ac 2:42-47; 4:23-24, 32-37). It was out of this that early believers in Antioch were called 'Christians'. The name 'Christian' therefore became a brand name for believers and followers of Jesus Christ (Ac 11:19-26).

The church is regarded as a cohesive organism, which learns to adopt or find better ways of doing things essentially in response to its environment. The question arises as to what really the church should do to maintain or to optimise its situation in its environment? Should it focus on its financial situation, technology or brand? Lyon (2000:76) argues that faith brand building is a key source of sustainable advantage of the church because of an increasing rate of secularisation making a religious choice linked to making a choice of supermarkets, cafeteria or 'consumer items' that can be purchased.

God identified the Israelites as a unique brand in a foreign land; for this reason one would expect that the concept of branding would be a major tool for modern-day churches. On the contrary, church branding has been pushed away from the centre stage of theological discourse, and it is regarded as undermining and weakening the Christian's commitment to God and religion. It is assumed that worshipping the Supreme God does not depend on brand personality, brand democracy, brand affinity, brand name or logo. However, everything is such a strong force that hardly anything goes unbranded.

Although there are several publications on branding from the perspectives of marketing and management (Aaker 1996; Andrivet 2015; Kornberger 2010; Shadel 2014), there is no such academic research on missional branding, hence this research. This article contributes to the interdisciplinary discourse on branding and development, with specific reference to the missional branding of the Church of Pentecost.

I want to emphasise at this point that the purpose of this article is not to project branding ahead of the missional role of the Holy Spirit and the role of missional discernment of what God is leading the church to do in a particular context. Rather, it seeks to present missional branding as one of the missional tools that can help churches in participating in the missio Dei.

 

Branding defined

The modern word 'brand' is derived from the word brandr, a word from Ancient Norse meaning 'to burn'.

Branding is the process of giving meaning to a specific company, products or services by creating and shaping a brand in consumers' minds (Shadel 2014). It is a strategy designed by companies to help people to quickly identify their products or organisations and give them a reason to choose their products or organisations over other competitors. On the most basic level, branding is a phenomenon that links and reorganises the two fundamental spheres of production and consumption, which have been separated since the industrial revolution. It transforms how we manage an organisation's identity, its culture and innovation (Kornberger 2010:xi).

Today, branding is a management weapon of choice to structure the internal functions of organisations (Kornberger 2010:10). Companies tend to use different tools to create and shape a brand. For example, branding can be achieved through advertising and communications, product and packaging design, in-store experience, pricing, sponsoring and partnerships, as well as the visual identity of the brand (e.g. logo, website and colours) (Andrivet 2015).

The branding process involves creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumer's mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers (Business Dictionary 2018).

Conceptualising missional branding

Missional branding can be traced as far back as to the period of the Old Testament when God selected the Israelites as a unique people on earth. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ branded the church with the power of the Holy Spirit, miracles, signs and wonders (Ac 1:8, 2:1-3, 3:1-7, 4:31, 33). Peter's statement that:

you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. (1 Pe 2:9)

is a brand statement that has set out Christians as a special brand in light of other religions.

Missional branding is the process by which churches and missionary organisations present themselves as a unique entity with a unique call in their participation in the missio Dei. This happens through their names, logo, colour branding, vision and mission statement, leadership structure, sermon content, style of music, architectural design of their church buildings as well as the set-up of their worship environment. Missional branding can also be seen in the call of a church, missionary organisation or a person to a specific group of people, region, country or continent. This can be clearly seen in the call of Apostle Paul to the Gentiles. His missional brand was therefore focused on the Gentiles (Ac 9:15; Rm 1:5).

Missional branding is necessary when religion is seen as a product, most especially as worshippers are increasingly becoming brand conscious. According to Aaker (1996:86-87), the core identity for a strong brand should be more resistant to change than elements of extended identity. Thus, the brand position and communication strategies may change and so might the extended identity, but the core identity is more timeless.

This implies that if you get the values and culture of the organisation right, the brand identity takes care of its self. Core understanding of Aaker's (1996:68-87) brand identity can be said to be the case of the Christian religion and for that matter the Church of Pentecost, which has become a recognised brand as far as Classical Pentecostalism in Ghana is concerned.

 

History of the Church of Pentecost

The beginning of the Church of Pentecost is linked to the ministry of Pastor James McKeown (1900-1989), an Irish missionary sent by the Apostolic Church, Bradford, UK, to the then Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1937 to help a group of believers of the Apostolic Faith led by one Peter Newman Anim in a town called Asamankese (The Church of Pentecost 2018c). James McKeown was born on 12 September 1900 in Glenboig, a village of Lanarkshire in Scotland. His parents originated from Antrim, Northern Ireland. The McKeowns relocated to Coatbridge near Glasgow soon after the birth of James. He left school at the age of 11 to help his father on the farm. McKeown's father, who was a member of the Presbyterian Church in Antrim, became interested in Pentecostalism, which was new in the UK. He joined the Elim Pentecostal Church in 1908.

In October 1936, the Missionary Secretary of the Apostolic Church - UK, Pastor Vivian Wellings, visited Apostle Peter Newman Anim's group at Asamankese in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The visit was to strengthen the relationship between the Gold Coast Church and the British Apostolic Church, which eventually led to a permanent missionary, named James McKeown, sent to the Gold Coast in 1937 (Debrunner 1967:324; Omenyo 2006:94-95). The request for a missionary was to help Apostle Anim's group to understand the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and also to help establish the Apostolic Church in the Gold Coast. The strong desire by the Gold Coast Church for a white British missionary was also probably to gain national recognition at a time the Gold Coast was under British colonial rule.

Peter Anim's early association with the Faith Tabernacle Church, US, convinced him that divine healing was to be pursued in times of sickness rather than the use of medicine. These teachings had been emphasised in his church. Thus, when McKeown taught otherwise that there was nothing wrong in seeking medical help from medical practitioners whilst putting faith in God for healing, there was strong resistance from the leadership of the Gold Coast Apostolic Church.

By June 1938, two groups had emerged on doctrinal lines, Peter Anim's group with headquarters at Asamankese, who later in June 1939 officially ended affiliation with the Apostolic Church and adopted the name Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), and James McKeown's group with headquarters at Winneba, maintaining the name Apostolic Church, Gold Coast (Asamoah-Gyadu 2005:23).

McKeown continued to serve as a missionary of the UK Apostolic Church for 15 years before seceding in 1953 to form his own organisation, the Gold Coast Apostolic Church. He was aware that the mainline churches westernised their worship and practices and therefore had very little attraction for the ordinary people.

McKeown's strategy was therefore to contextualise the gospel into the local context and develop a mode of worship and practices that would attract indigenes who would eventually lead the church. At the initial stages, the church experienced slow growth because of language and cultural barriers. The church began to experience tremendous growth from the mid-1940s, with the conversion of some literate and dedicated people who served as his interpreters. By the end of 1952, 512 local congregations had been established throughout Ghana, with about 10 000 members and at least 53 ordained African full-time pastors (Larbi 2001:180; Leonard 1989:28).

McKeown and his wife Sophia moved from Winneba to the Cape Coast in 1942 and finally to the capital, Accra, in 1948. In August 1962, McKeown's church, the Gold Coast Apostolic Church, was changed to 'the Church of Pentecost' (Larbi 2001:210-211).

McKeown administered the affairs of the church with the help of an Executive Council until 1982 when he retired and returned to Northern Ireland. He handed over the Chairmanship to Rev. Steve Fred Safo in 1982.

The regime (1982-1987) of Rev. Steve Fred Safo was an entirely indigenous Executive Council and General Council. Rev. Safo died in 1987 and was succeeded in 1988 by Rev. Martinson Kwadwo Yeboah who retired in 1998 at the age of 74. He was then succeeded by Apostle Dr Michael Ntumy (Walker 2010:115). From 2008 to August 2018, the chairmanship was handled by Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah (Asamoah Akowuah 2013:23-26). In May 2018, Apostle Eric Kwabena Nyamekye was elected to succeed Apostle Prof. Onyinah.

The Church of Pentecost currently operates in 99 countries headed by apostles, prophets, evangelists and senior pastors throughout the world and about 20 863 local assemblies in 2253 districts. Presently, the global membership of the church stands at about 3 million, with children constituting about 988 086. The Church of Pentecost has 130 959 church officers at all levels and 2386 ordained ministers across the world. Benin and Cote D'Ivoire are the two autonomous nations of the church following the massive growth of the church in those two countries (The Church of Pentecost, Statistics 2018e).

The missional branding of the Church of Pentecost

Just as we have multiple senses, a church brand touches many areas of ministry - greetings, music, website, visuals, preaching, community interaction with staff and congregation (Scott-Lundy 2017). Since its inception the Church of Pentecost branded itself as a church noted for evangelism followed with miracles, discipleship, well-defined administrative structure and leadership development (The Church of Pentecost, Chairman's Circular 1989 and 1991).

As part of the introductory statement of Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah in the vision for 2018, he wrote:

I particularly want to acknowledge the efforts of Chairman M. K. Yeboah, who initiated the idea of giving annual themes and Chairman M.K. Ntumy who did not only formalise the giving of the annual themes but also introduced vision statements. May the Lord bless both of them and may their legacies live on forever. (The Church of Pentecost, Vision 2018, 2014:8)

Apostle Onyinah also acknowledged the structures being put in place by his predecessors in order to help the church achieve its missional call (The Church of Pentecost, Vision 2018, 2014:8). Through these approaches, the Church of Pentecost has branded itself as the first Classical Pentecostal Church in Ghana with a strategic missional brand. The following are some of the ways the Church of Pentecost branded itself for missional purposes.

Brand name: The Church of Pentecost

Name of a product is very important in branding. Therefore, many brand advocates usually see it as one of the things to consider when choosing a name for a product or institution. According to the Business Dictionary (2018), the process of branding involves creating a unique name and image for a product or organisation in the mind of patrons and/or consumers, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme.

Since 01 August 1962 when the name of the church was changed from Ghana Apostolic Church to the Church of Pentecost, the brand name has really worked for the church in how Ghanaians accepted it to be a church with a name linked to the event that happened on the day of Pentecost. Currently in Ghana, the Church of Pentecost is found in every community. As of December 2017, the church has recorded about 20 863 local assemblies in 2253 districts worldwide (The Church of Pentecost, Statistics 2018e; see also Onyinah, State of the Church Address May 2, 2018).

The Church of Pentecost has been branded as a church that seeks to follow the precepts of the early Church in the Acts of the Apostles. Their tenets (beliefs) say:

· We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit for believers with signs following, and also in the operation of the gifts and the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers.

· We believe that the healing of sickness and disease is provided for God's people in the atonement. The church is, however, not opposed to soliciting the help of qualified medical practitioners.

· We believe in the presence of the person of the Holy Spirit and that the Christian life can be led only with his grace. The new birth is the work of the Holy Spirit, and then the baptism of the Holy Spirit for power to serve and the gifts of the Spirit for building the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit helps the individual to develop a Christ-like character, manifest through bearing the fruit of the Spirit. The leading of the Holy Spirit in all spheres of activity in the Church is paramount. Administrative structures and all other church distinctiveness have been by the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Church, through its leadership at all levels, cooperates in obedience (The Church of Pentecost, Tenets and Core Values 2018g).

The above statements have created a clear missional branding for the church and their congregants. Furthermore, the Church of Pentecost also designed a logo that reflects their tenets and core values. According to Walker, the theme song for their radio and television broadcast, 'The fire is burning', has become a brand since the 1970s, attracting many people to listen to their radio and television broadcast dubbed as 'Pentecost Hour' (Walker 2010:1). In their brand identity, they emphasise the power of the Holy Spirit, evangelism, miracles, divine healing, discipleship, church planting and lay leadership.

Developing church administrative and doctrinal structures

Administration presupposes authority, power and prerogatives. These are derived from some form of organised society or association or corporation. Administrative authority - the right or power to govern and direct - is inherent in companies, organisations, corporations, federations or governments. Administration in the Church of Christ is the exercise of those powers or prerogatives with which one has been vested by the church (Robbins & Coulter 2002:176; Rush 2003:17).

As much as planning and management are important aspects of every successful organisation and brand management, in a similar way, as the church participates in the missio Dei, it is essential that we consider planning and management as part of the missional tools for the management of the various resources God has given the church (White & Acheampong 2017:1). It involves working constructively with resources to accomplish organisational goals. According to Means (2008:350), management relates more closely to the stewardship of human and capital resources. Management therefore requires effective and efficient coordination of all resources through the process of planning, organising, directing and controlling in order to attain a stated objective. From a missiological perspective, the Harvestime International Institute defines church management as a process of accomplishing God's purposes and plans through the proper use of human, material and spiritual resources. According to them, management is another word for stewardship (Harvestime International Institute 2001:6).

One of the weaknesses of many of the Pentecostal Churches in West Africa, and for that matter in Ghana, is the lack of properly laid down administrative structures and plans for the management of their churches. However, the same cannot be said of the Church of Pentecost. From its beginning, the church leadership put in place administrative structures that would help the running of the church, leadership succession, financial policy, liturgy and recruitment. The administrative structures of the church became formalised in June 1971 (The Church of Pentecost, Constitution 2018b:1) and was further restructured between 1989 and 1991 through a seven member committee chaired by Apostle Opoku Onyinah, the then International Missions Director (Walker 2010:123). These have helped the church with their missional agenda.

During the past 10 years (2008-2018), under the chairmanship of Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah, the church had massive progress. In analysing his 10 years vision (2008-2018) outlined for his tenure as the chairman of the Church of Pentecost, he reported that:

The Lord added 1,341,656 to the overall worldwide membership of the church. This brought the worldwide membership of The Church of Pentecost to 3,037,068 as against 2,995,463 projected in Vision 2018. This represents a 79% increase to the 2007 membership of 1,695,412. The total number of assemblies at the end of 2017 stood at 20,863, as against the 2007 figure of 13,418. These were distributed across 2,253 administrative districts of the church as against the 2007 figure of 1,284. As of December 2017, The Church of Pentecost operated in 99 countries. (Onyinah, State of the Church Address May 2, 2018)

The above objectives were achieved through prayer and prudent administrative and management structures put in place by the leadership of the church.

Focus on the youth ministry

As the younger generation constitutes a very important part of every organisation, the Church of Pentecost has branded its youth ministry to attract young men and women into the church. According to Larbi, until 1974, there was no Pentecostal fellowship in any of the institutions of higher learning in Ghana. The pioneering work of the Pentecostal Students Association (PENSA) of the Church of Pentecost in 1974 gave rise to the establishment of such fellowships on various campuses (Larbi 2001:198-200). Currently, almost all the Classical Pentecostal Churches, and some Neo-Pentecostal Churches, have their student groups or ministries on various second cycle (Senior High Schools) and tertiary institutions in Ghana.

These groups serve as a means of keeping their youth in the faith, even as they are away from their local churches. It is also a point of contact and networking among the youth of the various churches. The groups are semi-autonomous as they are allowed to have their own leadership structure and run their own programmes - both at the local and national levels. They are, however, required to report to the national leadership of their mother churches about their activities (White 2014:213; White & Niemandt 2015:251).

During the school vacation periods, they go on mission and evangelism outreaches, in conjunction with their mother churches, either to plant a new church or to strengthen a local church that is struggling with growth (The Church of Pentecost, Youth Ministry 2018f.). In terms of ministry and leadership formation, the youth ministry has also served as a way of preparing the next generation of leaders for their local churches. Many times some of the leaders of these groups are later recruited into Pastoral ministry at the end of their studies at university and other tertiary institutions.

For example, the current Youth Director of the Church of Pentecost, Apostle David Nyansah Hayfron, was the president of the Pentecostal Youth Association of the Church of Pentecost at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, from 1998 to 2004 whilst studying for a Bachelor of Pharmacy (and later a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Analysis and Quality Control). He is assisted by elder Amos Kevin Annan (The Church of Pentecost, Youth Ministry 2018f). In addition to the above named national leadership, the church also appointed district youth pastors who are trained and equipped to minister to the needs of the youth (The Church of Pentecost Chairman's Circular 2018a:7).

Although the focus of this study is on the youth ministry, the Church of Pentecost has also done well in strengthening other ministries, such as Women's Ministry, Men's Ministry, Children's Ministry, and Evangelism Ministry. All these ministries are headed by full time directors appointed by the Executive Council to plan and administer activities of the ministries.

Establishment of Pentecost International Worship Centre

The purpose of every brand is to meet the needs of a targeted group or community. Apart from the traditional setting for worship and practices in the Church of Pentecost, the church initiated the concept of Pentecost International Worship Centre (PIWC) in 1993 when it realised that the educated elites and people of the middle- and upper-income classes in their churches were being attracted to the Neo-Pentecostal Churches (Larbi 2001:201-204). Bishop Osei-Bonsu (2005) of the Roman Catholic Church of Ghana also expressed the same sentiment when he said that:

the boring and uninspiring nature of Christian worship in the mainline churches is one of the reasons why some Christians are leaving the mainline churches in Ghana to join Pentecostal churches. (p. 14)

In this regard, Marais (2014) opines that churches have to study their demography and react to it in order to be relevant to the communities they serve. Local congregations are therefore compelled to step out of their comfort zones and cross boundaries for the sake of the mission of God (World Council of Churches 2013:67).

According to the World Council of Churches (2013):

While cherishing the unity of the Spirit in the one Church, it is also important to honour the ways in which each local congregation is led by the Spirit to respond to their contextual realities. Today's changed world calls for local congregations to take new initiatives. For example, in the secularizing global north, new forms of contextual mission, such as new monasticism, emerging church, and fresh expressions, have re-defined and re-vitalized churches. Exploring contextual ways of being church can be particularly relevant to young people. Some churches in the global north now meet in pubs, coffee houses, or converted movie theatres. Engaging with church life online is an attractive option for young people thinking in a non-linear, visual, and experiential way. (p. 66)

In 1993, Apostle Dr Opoku Onyinah, the then International Mission Director of the Church, proposed that the English assemblies of the Church of Pentecost be named International Worship Centre. The name 'International Worship Centre' was later changed to Pentecost International Worship Centre (PIWC) in 1994 by the Executive Council of the Church to make the centre more effective and truly resemble a church that accommodates nationalities from various cultural backgrounds (Asamoah Akowuah 2013:63).

The purpose for the establishment of the PIWCs was, firstly, to provide a well-organised, cross-cultural church, primarily for people of non-Ghanaian cultural background (expatriates), who want a place to worship God. Secondly, it was established for Ghanaian Christians who prefer to worship in English or in a multi-cultural environment (The Church of Pentecost, Vision 2018, 2014:14, 75). The action of the leadership of Church of Pentecost in response to the younger generation and professionals in bringing on board the PIWC is what Aaker (1996:141-142) refers to as 'brand personalities'. According to him, the brand personalities are a set of people associated with a given brand. Thus, it includes such characteristics as gender, age, education and socio-economic class. Missiologically, the PIWC concept has helped the Church of Pentecost to attract and maintain many of their youth as well as professionals. The PIWCs are fast growing and have branches in various parts of Ghana and internationally.

Recruitment of young graduates into full-time ministry

Many young people are eager to make good use of every opportunity that comes their way (Dean 2004:6). They are naturally passionate because they are open and willing to give their all for a cause. Therefore, the church should make room for them to do what they do best (Dean 2001:65, 67).

Youth are an important resource for the development of nations and organisations. They are the future leaders who need grooming and opportunities to develop their potential and capacities to take on future leadership responsibilities.

In the Bible, we read of people like Joshua being groomed by Moses, and Timothy and Titus being mentored by Apostle Paul. In a similar way, the Church of Pentecost has made it a point to groom young people through their youth ministry and at various levels. The purpose of this approach is to develop the next generation of leaders for the church. According to Vision 2018 of the Church of Pentecost (2014:26): 'Apostles/prophets will be strengthened to coach pastors and elders and mentor young prospective upcoming leaders'.

As a matter of policy, the Church of Pentecost has focused on the recruitment of young graduates and professionals into full-time ministry as well as leadership positions in the church. This approach to pastoral recruitment has brought into the church some form of momentum and fervency, particularly among the youth of the church. Many of these young pastors are assigned to serve as pastors at the PIWCs and others are appointed as Youth Pastors for their campus ministry. This approach has helped the church to strengthen and maintain young people and professionals in the church. It has also helped them to manage the generational gap in the church.

Church building and the community-based church building project

Planting of churches in major towns and cities in either a rented apartment or temporary place of worship with the needed basic instruments is part of the missional branding of the Church of Pentecost. For the past 5 years, the church has made it a point to move all their classroom churches to either permanent or temporal places of worship.

Apart from the issues of place of worship, visibility and accessibility to the place of worship are one of the tools that are currently being used by the Church of Pentecost in its church planting. This approach has therefore enhanced soul winning and numerical growth of the church. The church has also embarked on what it calls the 'community-based church building project'. This project aims at building befitting places of worship for communities where the Church of Pentecost has been planted but do not have permanent places of worship. The project is being sponsored by the national headquarters of the church and with support from benevolent individuals from the church (The Church of Pentecost, Vision 2018; 2014:13, 49-50).

With regard to infrastructure development in Ghana, the church currently has 2333 completed auditoriums, 5270 uncompleted church buildings and 593 rented and free premises of worship. It has also constructed more than 1152 ministers' residences, with 185 of them yet to be completed. In addition, 124 of the ministers presently stay in free and rented apartments (The Church of Pentecost, Statistics 2018e).

Corporate social responsibilities

Transformation of people and society is a core component of mission. This was reflected in Jesus' statement:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour. (Lk 4:18-19)

In Acts 10:38, we read that Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. Both Luke 4:18-19 and Acts 10:38 are evidence that the Holy Spirit was given to the church for the healing of people and society, and this in turn transforms society (White 2018:133). The mission of the church is not only to preach the gospel but also to be concerned about the welfare of the people within and outside the church.

The church is called to service (diakonia) in every geopolitical and socio-economic context; living out the faith and hope of the community of God's people, and witnessing to what God has done in Jesus Christ. Through service the church participates in God's mission (White 2018:136).

The church's quest to provide education, health facilities, relief services and to address socio-economic needs among its members and the communities in which it operates led to the formation of the Pentecost Welfare Association (PENTWAS) in 1980. The name was later changed to Pentecost Social Services (PENTSOS), and registered with the Department of Social Welfare and the Association of Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) in 2000. PENTSOS has a directorate led by an Executive Director who co-ordinates and supervises its five departments. PENTSOS is charged with the following responsibilities: Disaster Prevention and Relief Services, Economic Empowerment, Education Support Schemes and Health Services, among others (The Church of Pentecost, General Administration 2018d).

The church has also established the following: Pentecost University College, Pentecost Convention Centre (the biggest and the finest all-purpose conference destination centre in Ghana), Pentecost Press Limited, Pentecost Hospital in Accra and other clinics across Ghana, about 100 educational facilities, Pentecost Television Station (Pent TV), Pentecost Theological Seminary (PTS), among many others, all in an effort to give back to society and disseminate the gospel of Christ in a holistic manner to the unreached (The Church of Pentecost, Statistics 2018e).

With the above-mentioned social interventions, the Church of Pentecost has branded itself as a church that is not only concerned with the spiritual and social needs of their members and the communities within which they operate. They have also shown that they are concerned with the total well-being of the people they come in contact with.

 

Conclusion

This article discusses branding from a missional perspective by using the Church of Pentecost as a case study. It was noted that branding is very important for every commodity and organisation. Therefore, the church is not an exception. The article unearthed how the Church of Pentecost missionally branded itself to take advantage of its context of missional activities.

The article started with a definition of branding, missional branding, brief history of the Church of Pentecost and concluded with the missional branding of the Church of Pentecost. The article concludes that the Church of Pentecost since its inception branded itself as a church noted for evangelism followed with miracles, discipleship, well-defined administrative structures and leadership development. As a result, their missional branding has helped them in their church growth and church planting, both in Ghana and internationally.

Among the Pentecostal Churches in Ghana, the Church of Pentecost is a very strong brand as compared to other churches.

 

Acknowledgements

Competing interests

The author declares that he has no financial or personal relationship(s) that may have inappropriately influenced him in writing this article.

 

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Correspondence:
Peter White
pastor_white@hotmail.com

Received: 01 Oct. 2018
Accepted: 09 Feb. 2019
Published: 09 May 2019

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