Reaching People in the Heart of Krakow

At a time in Poland when people are disenchanted with the church, when the church is vying for time amidst a far-too-busy family life schedule and when the allure of “Discovery Channel theology-of-the-week” seems very appealing, Graceland Ministries is at work in the heart of Krakow reaching people who would never have the time or inclination to engage in a new Christian community.

Step 1: The English School

Graceland has become a well-known fixture in the neighbourhood providing quality English language lessons using materials that bring people into a closer relationship with Christ. With English being the official language of the European Union, Polish people need to learn English and they want to learn it from Native English Speakers. They also want to stay close to home at the end of their work or school day, and so, unlike the majority of other language schools, Graceland is located in the densely populated, ever-growing, middle-class region of Krakow about 20 minutes south of the city centre and only 5 minutes from the rapidly expanding Krakow Technology Park home to the tech giants as well as Polish start-ups.

The Graceland team has been writing curriculum to use in the classroom for the past 17 years. Curriculum ranges from Bible stories presented in fresh, and challenging ways, to novels with Christian messages to biographies of real people daring to live out their faith. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an adult or teen class, everyone will engage in discussion about faith and what it means to be a Christ-follower.

Step 2: Discipleship

People from the Graceland community are encouraged to join “Sequoia” the home church which meets on Friday nights or the young women’s Bible study that meets on Sunday mornings or other one on one Bible studies that meet during the week.

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on Earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” — Matthew 18:18–20

And that’s what Graceland does.

Fun Facts About Krakow

  • Population: approximately 800,000
  • Universities and colleges: 24
  • University students: approximately 200,000 (Jagiellonian University’s Life Sciences Park and Innovation Technology Park is less than a 5 minute drive from Graceland.)
  • Catholic Churches less than a 5 minute drive from, and all within walking distance of Graceland: 6 (Note: 2 entirely new parishes have been established in our community in the last 8 years—one for every 15,000 new homes.)
  • Evangelical churches within a 15 minute drive of Graceland: 0

Fun Facts About Graceland

  • Team: Colette Ladan and Jay Bowyer have been in Poland since 1998 and in Krakow since 2006.
  • Administrator: Ula is now Graceland’s longest serving administrator.
  • Class Loyalty: More than 50 people have been attending English classes for more than 3 consecutive years, and 5 people have attended for more than 8 years. In fact 2 teens have spent more than half of their lives at Graceland.
  • Ratio: The English school serves approximately 70 adults and 40 teens per semester.
  • Families: There are more than 20 families with 2 or more people attending classes or Sequoia.
  • Sequoia: More than 30 people are connected to Sequoia, with an average attendance of 17-22. 6 people (apart from the Graceland team) have attended faithfully for 5 years missing fewer than 3 meetings in a year.