Imagine this. A town of over 100,000 people, where until recently there was only one evangelical church of around 80 members. Do you know any town in the United Kingdom like that? Włocławek in central Poland, like most cities, towns, and villages in that country, is dominated by a host of Roman Catholic buildings that attest to the strong religious fervour of its inhabitants. The congregation of which Krzysztof Rutkowski is pastor numbers less than 80. But rather than develop a siege mentality of “Let’s-just-try-and-maintain-what-we-already-have”, the church has been moving forward and outwards, and has begun a church plant in another district of their large town.
Five years ago, a small group was meeting to study the Bible in a little town called Lipno, not far from the main town. An interested non-believer joined them, and after a while the decision was taken to start meetings on Sundays in Włocławek itself. Those initial six people now have more than twenty-five others joining them each week. The new congregation will have twenty-six members! Krzysztof’s father (a retired pastor) is one of those helping to plant this new church, which has two goals, as Krzysztof tells us. “The first one is leading believers to spiritual maturity and service for others. The second is to attract people we are able to reach to the Gospel of Christ, sound teaching of the Bible, and the fellowship based on correct foundations”.
Small it may be, but this “baby” fellowship already has a good deal of structure. During the Covid restrictions, the members met faithfully online (not on Zoom, but on the Lifesize platform) week after week, and have set aside Tuesday evening for a prayer meeting, and Wednesday for Bible study together. On Fridays there is a time for young people; indeed, the fact that there are young people and children in this blossoming fellowship is a great source of joy to Krzysztof and Aneta.
There is nothing very “different” about a Sunday service in this church plant. A welcome and notices, three hymns, Bible reading, prayers, after-service fellowship, a time of open prayer. All “normal” components. But the emphasis is on the sermon, Krzysztof admits: “Most of the time is taken by the preaching of the Word of God”. He asks us to pray for a lady called E… , who has been listening to this Bible exposition for years; she seems to have some level of understanding of the Gospel message. But she has made no clear profession of faith.
Yes, this is an exciting project, but one that requires hard work and dedication. Krzysztof is no stranger to hard graft, having been a faithful pastor for years in the mother church, and putting time and effort into “Legatio”, the Christian publishing house. He and Aneta do have health issues, however, and as they lead this fledgling group of believers we know they will be grateful for your prayers for strength and resilience for both of them.