“The ideas, research, and plans for church growth that we shared gave them both new ideas, and new hope in how to reach out into their community.”
A few years ago it was my privilege to represent our ministry and Spiritual Overseers Service International in Poland for two weeks.
For three days pastors from the Evangelical Church of Poland and the Brethren Church of Poland gathered together, for the first time in their history, to learn about church growth. I had the honor of leading these pastors through seven hours of study, questions, and application of how their churches can be more effective Christian witnesses in a country that is not receptive to the message of Christ as proclaimed by the Protestant church.
Today Protestant churches struggle with how to effectively reach out and evangelize people in Poland. Nominal Catholicism is a barrier to presenting a vibrant Christian faith and relationship to Jesus Christ. Several pastors told me that the Catholic Church, itself, often undermines the ministry and message of local Protestant churches for fear of losing members and money. And, as the country becomes more independent and westernized, increasing secularization challenges the churches to creative new means of proclaiming a relevant Christian message.
In our church growth sessions together, we led pastors in a study of:
• The necessary foundations on which to build and grow a church;
• The most important church growth principle—social networks;
• How to apply the social network principle in your church;
• Welcoming new members and integrating them into the church family.
The ideas, research, and plans for church growth that we shared gave them both new ideas, and new hope in how to reach out into their community with the limited umber of resources, money, and people available to them.
As I reflect on my experience with these Polish church leaders, I am struck by the commitment they have to the pursuit of Christ’s mission in the face of daunting odds. Despite their churches’ cash limitations, small but faithful congregations and limited facilities, these men and women are giving a great deal to see the work of Christ accomplished.
I am both humbled and inspired by the dedication of these servants of Jesus Christ. And when things seem to be getting difficult in my own little world, I think about my Polish brothers and sisters with much less than I have, working much harder and sacrificing much more…and I am reminded to be about my Father’s business with a joyful heart and grateful soul.
Dr. Charles Arn, President of Church Growth, Inc.