Today, in over 650 places worldwide, and on almost every continent, God is using what has become known as the Disciple Making Movements (DMM) or Church Planting Movements (CPM). It brings salvation to people who have never heard the Gospel before, and brings it to places where it has long been forgotten. A disciple-making movement is characterized by a rapidly multiplying increase of indigenous churches and disciples within a group or population segment. In short, we are seeing the book of Acts lived out today, all around the world – it is exciting!
How has DMM turned out to be an amazing strategy to bring in the harvest in nations all throughout the world and specifically in Poland? By simple obedience to the Word of God – the Bible! We read the words of Jesus, believe them, draw crucial principles and practice them. Our focus is on:
- Making disciples, not just converts (Matthew 28)
- Baptizing and teaching all the disciples to baptize
- Teaching to obey and not just listen to the Word
- Healing the sick, casting out demons and sending others to do the same
- Sharing the Gospel with boldness as a lifestyle everywhere
- Finding “the people and families of peace”.
- Intentionally working on going out and bringing the Kingdom to families, villages and towns; not pulling individuals out of their cultural contexts.
Angelika and I live and work in Warsaw, Poland, as a “movement catalyzer”. That weird terminology simply means we train believers to make disciples who make disciples, in obedience to the Word.
At the same time we go and share the Gospel and search for those called “people of peace” in the New Testament. People of peace are open to hearing the Word, accept our message, and invite us into their homes. When such a “person of peace” is found, we start a simple, reproducible Bible study which develops over time into a simple house church and quickly reproduces itself as new disciples are made.
But, before we talk more about the amazing things God is doing in Poland, we should talk about the elephant in the room “Why Poland?” Poland is 99.5% Roman Catholic. So, how does Poland fit the “unreached” picture?
The evangelical population of Poland is only 0.25%, which makes Poland as unreached as the Hmu people of Northern China, the Hindi of Myanmar or the Brao of Cambodia. In my 19 years in this country, I’ve come to call it “a cultural Catholicism”. The reality is, an average Pole has no understanding of the Scriptures and does not read it. Our experience is this: if someone is searching for true faith in a living God they don’t know where to find it. Angelika is a great example: she heard the Gospel for the first time when she was 18 and got saved right away. With only 0.25% of the population being Evangelical, and of those, a very small percentage actually shares their faith. The need for the Gospel here, and across all of Europe, is dire — but God is doing a new thing in Poland and we are very excited!
Let me give you an example of how a disciple-making movement starts: The other day, a wealthy business owner named George (not his real name) showed up at our door. He had been given our contact information through a mutual friend. He came to faith six months ago and was baptized. His wife, Rachel, got saved four months ago and was baptized last week. Standing in our living room, George said, “I am a Bible-believing Christian now. I don’t want to be in a system. I want to live out my faith. What can you do with me?” We told him about the importance of sharing the Gospel with his friends and family and that we could teach him and his wife to be a disciple of Christ who makes disciples. He immediately caught the vision of what God could and would do through him and his wife.
We offered to meet again to teach them how to do the Bible study with their friends who are searching for God. Even though we had already been talking for hours, Rachel said, “Teach us now so we can start this week!” This is the kind of passion we love to see and are seeing more often. So, we taught them.
The following Tuesday, they invited us to their apartment where they had gathered several families from their neighborhood to study the Bible. We led the first study to show them how, and that was the last one we led! Since then, George and Rachel have been leading the study by themselves and we have kept in contact with them to give them advice, encouragement or any other help needed.
Their excitement about their friends’ reaction to the Gospel has been exhilarating. And the best part? We have not been at the meetings! We help, but the Holy Spirt and the Scriptures are their most important teachers. God will multiply that group, as they teach their friends how to lead Bible study and as they, as disciples, make further disciples!
Bible study with friends at home may sound ordinary for an American, but for us seeing it happening in Poland, is so exiting! Poles never read the Bible by themselves, never pray out loud in their own words and never consider faith as something which should be lived out in everyday life outside of the Sunday mass.
We hear reports often of new groups having started. All Across Poland today, God is raising up an army of ordinary people who are obedient to the words of Jesus and dare to believe that what is written in the Bible is still true today. As someone comes to faith, often after a miracle is done in their lives, or after study of the Word, they are immediately led back out to lead others. They pray for healing, they baptize and do everything else which a believer is called and empowered to do! We do not make them wait to be “qualified” to be obedient to the Scriptures. We model obedience; assist them to do it themselves, watch them as they do it alone and then we move on to start the fire in new places and people groups.
Those new believers boldly and radically share the Gospel with their family, friends, at work, in the streets, and through social media.
Pawel is one of many examples of what we see happening in Poland. He was pursuing a career as a New Age life coach. He would travel the world to get involved in spiritual rituals. One day he watched a YouTube movie about the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit. Pawel contacted a Christian friend and coworker of ours who traveled with his wife to Pawel’s town and shared the Gospel with him. That day he received Christ, confessed his sins, got baptized in water, delivered from demons and baptized in the Holy Spirit.
The next day he got up and felt led by the Holy Spirit to burn all of his New Age books and material. Then, he went to the train station and began sharing the Gospel, but returned home, discouraged at “how hard it was.” He fell to his knees, asked God for boldness, and went back to continue sharing. He recorded his testimony and put it on social media where he gave his phone number and encouraged people to contact him. He stated he was no longer a New Age coach, but a follower of Jesus and could help others to become Jesus-followers, too. During the first three months of his walk with Jesus, he baptized 11 people. Today, Pawel no longer counts how many people he baptizes, but rather counts the number of disciple-making disciples he is training all over Poland.
This is God’s story in Poland today. We believe we are close to seeing multiple generations of house churches planted in streams all across the country. This means that one day, we will be able to say like the Apostle Paul, that the Gospel has covered all of Poland, no part has been missed!
I met Paul and Gloria Booher and their two sons in the local church I began attend in the Fall of 1981 after I had moved from New York to Florida. Corey was then five years old. Paul had a heart for missions, and after the launch of The Bridge in 1983, he became very much part of its initial intercessory prayer group. A few years later, the Booher family moved out of town, and we more or less lost touch with them for several decades.
Four years ago, Paul and I intersected, again, with the result that he has, once again, become an integral part of The Bridge as head of the intercessory online prayer group for our field partners abroad. He told me that his son, Corey, now lives with his Polish wife, Angelika and their two sons in Warsaw, Poland, leading an exciting mission outreach. Their emphasis is not only on preaching the Gospel, but also on training people to be disciples of Jesus!
It is thrilling to learn that a new generation in Poland is coming to faith and demonstrating the Lordship of Christ, especially since, during the Communist era in the early eighties I crisscrossed Poland while distributing Bibles to the persecuted, underground, evangelical believers! They were few and far between! One sows, another waters, but it is God who gives the growth!
I have asked Corey to share with you a report on his life and ministry in Poland. Please mark gifts to the Boohers and their ministry “8350 Polish Workers”.