The response to the gospel outreach ProChrist, organised by an alliance of different local churches, exceeded all expectations. In eight evenings, from 6-13 April 2008, about twenty thousand of the eighty thousand visitors to ProChrist in Poland accepted the invitation to come to faith. That’s one-quarter of the people! The main speaker, Rev. Ulrich Parzany, had never experienced a reaction of this magnitude before: “The invitation to Poland was a big gift to me. I sensed it as a deep sign of conciliation and connection.” Parzany spoke in German; however, his message was translated by the Polish Rev. Mirek Czyz.
For the first time, ProChrist was broadcast via satellite beyond Germany to 103 local transmissions.
The main event in Kattowice alone drew about 26,700 people. More than one-third of them responded to the call to start a new life as a Christian. On the last evening, Parzany spoke in the “Spodek” (the biggest sports arena in the country) and asked only those people to respond who wanted to make a faith decision for the first time. Nearly1,500 of the five thousand present responded. “It seemed to be the end of the event, but the people didn’t swarm to the exit, but to the cross,” said Raimund Utsch, ProChrist president. About two thousand visitors spoke with a counsellor as well.
Cooperation among Churches
Parzany especially emphasised the cooperation of churches in Kattowice. “ProChrist in Poland proved that people in big cities can only be reached when perhaps all churches work together. That is what I also want for all cities in Germany,” he shared. ProChrist in Poland was organised by an alliance of Lutheran, Reformed, Methodist, and Baptist churches, together with the regional ecumenical board, as well as the Catholic Fokolar movement and the Catholic initiative “Light and Life.” These groups are also responsible for a relationship-orientated rework of the evangelisation week. In Kattowice alone, fifty-two churches offer 8-week-long Alpha Courses.
Going to Poland
The idea of ProChrist in Poland was born after the last ProChrist event in 2006 in Munich. At that time, ProChrist was transmitted to twenty European countries. The regional ProChrist week-long events have special meaning for Parzany: “I can respond to local events, problems, and moods. I see people more directly than at big ProChrist events.” According to Michael Klitzke, director of ProChrist, “It is also about motivating and inspiring the local churches to appear in the public eye alongside their normal church activities.”
ProChrist 2009 in Chemnitz
The next ProChrist event in Germany will take place 29 March-5 April 2009 in Chemnitz; it will be transmitted to more than one thousand European locations in twenty different countries. Interested churches in Europe can inform and register online at: www.prochrist.org.