Poland
Republic of Poland
September 18-19
Europe


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 312,683 sq.km. Central European plain with Baltic coastline.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 38,765,085 +0.08% 124 per sq. km.
2010 39,190,093 +0.12% 125 per sq. km.
2025 39,069,168 -0.13% 125 per sq. km.

Capital Warsaw 2,350,000. Other major cities: Katowice 2.85 mill.; Lodz 1.1m. Urbanites 62%.

PEOPLES

Slavic 99.1%. Polish 37,675,000; Belarusian 220,000; Ukrainian 300,000; Kashubian 180,000; Russian 30,000.

Other 0.9%. German 300,000; Gypsy 30,000.

Literacy 99%. Official language Polish. All languages 10. Languages with Scriptures 4Bi 1NT 3por 2w.i.p.

ECONOMY

Before 1940 Poland's economy was agricultural. Communist rule emphasized development of heavy industry which not only damaged the economy but also the environment. Reforms in the 1990s have transformed the economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe. Unemployment 15%. HDI 0.802; 44th/174. Public debt 24% of GNP. Income/person $3,590 (11.4% of USA).

POLITICS

Poland became a nation in the 11th Century and united with Lithuania in 1569. It was weakened divided and occupied by many nations since then. One quarter of the population died in World War II. Communist rule was imposed in 1945 but poverty and labour turmoil led to the Solidarity Movement protests and a multi-party democracy in 1989. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and is in the process of becoming a member of the EU.

RELIGION

All religions have equal rights before the law, but the Roman Catholic Church exercises its traditional pride of place in Polish society. It has been aggressive since 1989 in attempting to shape a state based on Catholic principles and theology. A low level discrimination of non-Catholic denominations is evident and Evangelicals tend to be categorized as sectarian by the more established denominations.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 90.29 35,000,995 -0.3%
non-Religious 9.58 3,713,695 +3.9%
Other 0.13 50,396 +0.1%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 21 0.40 154 +0.2%
Independent 9 0.24 94 -0.5%
Catholic 2 78.11 30,280 -0.6%
Orthodox 4 1.43 553 +0.0%
Marginal 13 0.56 218 +0.8%
Unaffiliated   9.55 3,702 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 9,500 19,736,842 30,000,000
Orthodox O 312 343,750 550,000
Catholic – Eastern Rite C 84 140,000 280,000
Jehovah's Witnesses M 1,624 126,635 211,480
Ev Ch of Augsburg Conf P 284 64,000 80,000
Polish Nat Catholic I 100 28,571 54,000
Old Catholic Mariavite I 53 14,286 23,000
Assemblies of God P 180 12,079 19,474
Indep Auton RC Parishes I 1 6,579 10,000
Chs of Christ P 65 6,500 8,500
Seventh-day Adventist P 123 5,542 8,500
Polish Baptist Union P 64 4,107 6,500
Methodist P 46 4,500 6,000
Free Evangelical P 33 2,300 4,600
Reformed Evangelical P 10 2,500 4,000
Christian Brethren P 40 1,500 4,000
Other denoms [39]   242 17,400 29,120
Total Christians [55]   12,761 20,517,000 31,299,000

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 0.2 75 +0.0%
Charismatic 3.9 1,530 -0.6%
  Pentecostal 0.1 24 -4.2%

Missionaries from Poland
P,I,A 117 in 11 agencies to 7 countries: Poland 105.

Missionaries to Poland
P,I,A 151 in 42 agencies from 14 countries: USA 100, Canada 14, Switzerland 10.



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Challenges for Prayer

1 Dreams of instant wealth from capitalism have proved elusive and hollow. Crime, violence and immorality are on the rise – particularly in the younger generation. Pray for the stability, progress and freedom that allows the good news to be preached. Pray that the Polish quest for material advancement might be subordinated to the search for God.

2 The Catholic Church was long the custodian of Polish culture and nationalism in the face of Russian imperialism and Soviet Communism. It successfully blocked all efforts by the Communists to deprive it of its independence and foist atheism on the nation. It is theologically conservative with a strong emphasis on the Virgin Mary and the saints. It regained considerable political influence in 1989.

a) The Catholic Church's popularity drops with every flex of its political muscles. It is accused of trying to create a repressive religious state. The 1990s marked a rejection of the values of the Church by many Poles. Regular church attendance dropped from 58% in 1989 to 23% in 1999.

b) Pray that Poland's religious leaders may know a life of holiness and a close walk with God. Pray that the Church's opposition to the new materialism and godlessness might be sensitive and discerning. While Polish candidates for the priesthood dropped by 30% in the 1990s, the nation still sends out large numbers of priests throughout the world.

c) The most important pilgrimage destination for Polish Catholics is the Black Madonna in Cyestochowa. Pray that Christ might become the focus of worship and thanksgiving. Renewal movements such as Oasis/Light of Life had much influence in the 1980s and many came to personal faith in Christ as a result of Bible study groups. Pray that biblical teachings and values might be retained and enhanced.

3 Evangelical Christians have long been a very small minority, but much has developed in recent years.

a) Evangelism and church planting have increased. A national research project is underway to help determine the needs for strategic church planting and outreach and Christian leaders continue to meet to strategize and cooperate. SGA is very active in evangelism in cooperation with local churches, and the Baptists have embarked on an ambitious church planting plan. Pray that this may lead many to Christ.

b) Evangelical unity has been limited. Although the 1990s brought both a multiplication and division of denominations, the founding of a national Polish Evangelical Alliance in 1999 was a cause for rejoicing. Pray for its growth. Pray that the Holy Spirit may bring reconciliation, fellowship and unity of vision in Jesus' name. Pray for the ministry of the Polish Ecumenical Council which brings together many Christian groups outside of the Roman Catholic Church.

c) The multiplication of foreign sects and religions has brought confusion. Jehovah's Witnesses far outnumber Evangelicals. New Age and paganism have rapidly gained followers. Pray for the defeat of every ideological assault on biblical truth and a demonstration of the power and lordship of Jesus Christ.

4 Bible training for church leaders, a much needed ministry, is developing fast. There are about 25 Protestant institutions ranging from seminary level to part-time or correspondence Bible schools – remarkable for a land with so small a Protestant presence! Pray for biblical faithfulness, spiritual power and missions vision to be the hallmark of the ministry of graduates.

5 Young people and students, while sceptical of organized religion are receptive to the good news of Jesus. The Christian Students Association (IFES), has groups in almost all of the 30 universities. SU focuses their ministry on younger students. Summer camps are a major ministry for nearly all evangelical denominations and agencies. Pray for the strategic work of Youth Forum, which is an alliance of Polish Christian youth associations. May this generation which first tasted political freedom also be the first to know en masse the freedom found only in Christ!

6 Thousands of towns and villages remain without an evangelical witness, often mired in empty tradition. Pray for Polish Evangelicals to catch a vision for the salvation of their countrymen as well as their European neighbours.

7 Foreign mission agencies had a supportive role in Communist days. Now many agencies, including BCU, CBI, CCCC, CMA, SEND and others, minister directly. Pray that cultural sensitivity and humble servanthood to the national believers may characterize their ministry in the new Poland. Pray for sustained commitment – many groups entered Poland only to leave plans and projects unfinished as they departed for other, more “fashionable”, fields.

8 The literature ministry continues to grow. Christian commentaries and books are being translated into Polish and printed in increasing numbers. Areopag, a publishing company, and Logos, a ministry affiliated with SGM, are developing indigenous Christian literature ministries. CLC are opening Christian bookstores around the country. The Bible Society is publishing a new Bible translation endorsed by both Catholics and Protestants, and plays a vital role in Poland and surrounding lands. Pray that these burgeoning ministries might remain financially viable while blessing many with God's Word.

9 Teaching English (TEFL) is a wonderful opportunity to serve as a bridge to the gospel; young people especially are keen to learn. ECM and the Baptists, among others, have schools established for this purpose.

10 Christian radio and television programmes may be aired on national and local networks. TWR broadcast in Polish by local radio (10 hrs/wk) and Astra satellite (3.5 hrs/wk), as do AWR (7 hrs/wk). A TWR production team has been established in Poland to develop programmes; pray that these might reach into the hearts of many.

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