Although I’ve been telling ITMI’s stories for more than 10 years, I had to ask our Polish partner, Dr. Piotr Zaremba, a question I really should have known the answer to.
The question? Here it is: What does K5N stand for?
Why I didn’t know (a.k.a. my excuse)
We typically focus on the Bible Translation part of Piotr’s ministry.
After all, how could we be any less than stoked about the fruit of Piotr’s labor of love for the Polish people to give them a Bible they could read in modern language!
Piotr has labored intensely translating directly from Hebrew and Greek to Polish, for years with the faithful support of his partners.
Together they achieved the publication and printing of a literary translation (akin to our NIV translation) of the whole Bible in July 2016.
Beautiful printed copies of Piotr's literary translation of the Bible in Polish!
The literary version is helping Polish speakers everywhere understand the story of God and His world in various formats, and Piotr is currently working on a literal translation (analogous to the ESV translation in English).
The literal version is already available electronically, and a go-to tool for the shepherds and leaders in positions to impact many lives. Piotr’s team is in the process of proofing the layout and typesetting for print. The fastest proofer reached Proverbs earlier this summer.
By God’s grace, Piotr accomplished this while pastoring a small but mighty evangelical body of believers.
This group continually gives birth to creative ways to reach their friends, families, neighbors and communities with the Good News that Jesus wants a relationship with them.
We usually refer to them as K5N.
So, what does K5N stand for?
The answer to my question revealed exactly what kind of pastor Piotr is and the impact this Jesus community has in Poland.
Piotr and his wife, Krystyna.
The K in K5N is for the Polish word for church, kosciol. So K5N is the Church of 5Ns.
The 5 N’s are: New Testamental, New Times Relevant, New People Oriented, New Experiences of Christ Welcoming and Numerous Ministries Embracing.
What is unique about K5N?
One answer to that question lies within the 3rd N.
As you might guess, “new” refers to being oriented toward those who haven’t known Christ as their Savior and Lord. But this N also means the body has a lifestyle of treating one another as new, regenerated creations in Christ.
People are used to religious organizations treating them like sinners who need a policeman. In general, the population of this culture are acutely aware of their sin.
What the population at large hasn’t been told is that Jesus provided a solution for it in his death on the cross.
Instead of being sin-focused, Piotr has established a culture in K5N of being preoccupied with Jesus. They seek ways they can express Jesus in and through their lives for the sake of others.
This is a stark and refreshing contrast to conventional norms.
Why does this matter?
“It really creates a church full of all sorts of ministries,” Piotr says. K5N is constantly growing and reaching out in fresh ways.
Last year, we shared the story of a group from K5N that served in Kameno, Bulgaria to bolster the efforts of a local body of believers in reaching their city.
ITMI partners Daniel and Blueberry Machlowski were among this team, which also included some of the youth they minister to each week.
Another group is returning to the same place this summer.
Last month, we told the story of K5N member Radek, who purchased a bus and turned it into a mobile cafe to feed the homeless.
K5N member, Radek and his family.
The "Christianer" is a mobile cafe for the homeless.
Another member, Marta, has just launched an outreach outside the city. Piotr projects that by fall, 10 new groups could be launching out of K5N, expanding the reach of the gospel to additional places and tribes.
This is a group of people with active faith. They believe God is calling them to reach their nation with the news that the Lord pursues a loving relationship with them.
If Mike Stachura is right, that "The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity," then K5N truly is a great church.
What is it like to be part of K5N?
Earlier this summer, many learned and grew together at family camp.
Some families facing hard times due to medical expenses or other financial burdens were gifted with scholarships through the generosity of other members.
Piotr and his wife, Krystyna, led sessions for the teens and youth on dating and love.
At first, in typical teen fashion, it seemed some didn’t want to be there. But over the course of the week, relationships developed and even those most resistant shared they were glad they came.
At the same time, a couple from the States, Phil and Sue Thurston, led sessions on Communication in Marriage.
When they aren’t at family camp, K5Ners gather in a local movie theater for worship on Sunday mornings. The church has rented this space for 15 years.
Piotr preaching for K5N on a Sunday morning.
How does Piotr pastor?
With all these ministries launching, Piotr is losing some of his most counted-on helpers.
But he is always discipling, continually raising up workers to reap the harvest, “to become who God wants them to be.” Currently, he intentionally disciples seven up-and-coming leaders.
When it comes to parishioners’ desire to launch out in fresh ministries, Piotr puts the third N into action, trusting the regenerated souls of his congregants’ to listen to and obey the Spirit.
Even if it means - and it often does - more work for him.
When Piotr returned home from the States in March, he had to hit the ground running. “I was so busy,” the translator pastor recounted. For a time, he will bear a little more weight of the ministry of K5N.
“I still feel 22,” Piotr laughs, “...but I’m 59.”
This fall, Piotr hopes to focus on keeping the graphic design for the literal translation of the Bible on schedule. Because of his involvement with translation of Biblical manuscripts, he is often asked quite interesting and complex questions.
“Is the Old Testament still relevant to us?”
"Why do we need to be saved if this is by God’s own decision that we were given a freedom to choose from different options?”
“Is divorce and remarriage permitted according to the documents of the Bible?”
“Can a woman be a pastor according to the Bible?”
These and other questions come from a wide variety of sources, from regular Bible readers through Pentecostal officials to the Baptist Committee of Theology and Ethics.
“As you can imagine, in many cases, the shortest question can end up in pages-long and weeks-consuming answers,” says Piotr.
He has also been offered the honor of chairing of the New Testament department of the Baptist Seminary in Poland. This will give him the opportunity to work with students from different cities, teaching the New Testament and evangelism.
This is what your support of our partners allows them to do. Produce a translation of the Bible while pastoring a vibrant, growing collective of God’s people that is reaching many with the Good News.