One of the great joys of facilitating learning in intercultural studies at CIU is to see quality research carried out in the form of MA theses. Randy Hacker, who has been serving in Poland for 14 years recently completed his thesis entitled, "North American Mission Agencies in Poland: A Study in 'Partnership.'" While the entire thesis can be downloaded HERE, Randy summarizes his aims in the abstract:
This thesis explores relationships between North American missionaries and Polish churches in Poland. The research draws from published descriptions of Polish church history and missionary accounts to build a preliminary picture of partnership. Online surveys of missionaries and Polish church leaders, as well as interviews of church leaders, form the foundation for the assessment of partner relations in Poland. Best practices in partnership documents are assessed, as are Polish and North American perspectives on the state of missionary/church relations in Poland. The research demonstrates several patterns and barriers in partnership, and the thesis concludes with recommendations for missionaries and Polish church leaders.
To get a further sense of his findings, Randy concludes:
Most missionaries to Poland and indigenous Christian leaders agree that Poland is a very difficult place to minister, a place where results do not come quickly, where spiritual immaturity seems to be the rule, where discouragement becomes a common trap for servants. Unfortunately, the task becomes even more difficult when we are unable to work together. I was heartened to hear from Polish leaders that in most cases, partnership with Western missionaries had been a significant source of encouragement. Missionaries and Polish leaders alike identified a number of barriers, but identifying these problems is the first step toward eliminating them. With God’s help, and humility from both sides, we can make our partnerships even better than before. As we do so, perhaps our example will be copied by the rest of the Church, and Poland will become a place of spiritual harvest and maturity, a place of encouragement, and a place that sends effective missionaries to other countries.