Forty-one Years in Poland!

Our trip to Poland  with President Jack Eggar centered on bring Awana to Poland to reach the young people of Poland and their parents with the life saving news of the Gospel. When I first came to Poland in 1974, the evangelical church was infinitesimal in its size (.01%) and actually getting smaller year by year in the mid-seventies. Communism cut off any possible attempts at outreach and most Poles only knew a religion of salvation based on a life of good works and keeping church disciplines. This of course led most into a state of eternal uncertainty and conviction that God was continually being offended by us. His sacrifice on the Cross was not understood as a full payment for our guilt and shame; We would also have to pay and receive mercy from the Church itself to free us from the penalties we would have to pay ourselves in purgatory and possibly an eternal sentence to Hell. To this very day, people in Poland pay money to aid the dead and release them into eternal life.

In the mid 1970’s a large group of missionaries was sent from Campus Crusade for Christ which bypassed the tiny mixed in doctrine evangelical community. This group of Campus Crusaders which probably numbered several hundred coming in for a time over the past 40 years was able to directly reach the unevangelized 99.99% religious lost to what some have estimated to be five million Poles out of 38 million. Some have said hundreds of thousands became born again Christians and because 99% of the Polish communities had not even one healthy Christ centered church, most Poles simply stayed in the Catholic Church. However, thousands of Catholics saved at this outreach did increase the evangelical churches four to tenfold, depending on the community. On my trips to Poland, I have spoken to both groups. This great evangelization of the 1970’s and 1980’s slowed down due to many political and spiritual movement changes began to take place in Poland. Many other ministries also began to develop and have some fruit in the 1980’s and 1990’s. This brings us to today.  The mass evangelization of Catholics is over. The existing evangelical church of all denominations and mission movements, reaches less than 1% of the population. Some people are excited about Internet evangelism and its fruit bearing still remains to be seen. Ninety nine percent of the new generation of Poles is not being reached with the Gospel in Poland today. We are hoping that the Awana program will be geared in a unique way to reach the 99 percent that is not being affected by current efforts among the young in Poland today.

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