The Catholic Church is troubled, finding itself in crisis. From being regarded as one of the most Catholic of countries, Spain is fast becoming one of the most irreligious. 71% of the Spanish population identifies as Roman Catholic Christians, 24% identifies as atheist or agnostic, and 5% identify as another faith. Only 14% of the Catholic population reports going to mass every Sunday or multiple times a week. In a 2008 survey of European values, only 3% of the population questioned reported that religion was one of their top three values. Evangelical Christians make up only 1% of the 47 million population.
Spiritual confusion is rampant in Spain. False beliefs are quickly multiplying – a natural consequence of the rapidly formed vacuum left by departure from religious faith. Spaniards flirting with occult practices is common. New Age deceptions abound. Marginal cults such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons have a large presence.
The Canary Islands form an archipelago of seven larger islands off Africa’s northwest coast. Among the two million inhabitants, at least 10,000 are evangelical – most live on the two larger islands. Evangelicals may be stronger in the Canaries than in most of Spain; with strong churches among both nationals and immigrants. Even so, more ministry is needed on the smaller islands of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gomera, La Palma, and El Hierro, and more teaching is needed for the scattered groups of believers.
Morality and values in general, have suffered in Spain. Decadent behaviors and hedonistic lifestyles, combined with increased material possessions, cause greater degrees of depression, addiction, debt and lost direction. Drugs are a blight on Spain, one of the world’s heaviest users of cocaine, heroin and marijuana. Around two million take drugs, most of them young people. Gambling addiction remains a problem for the nation as well. It is estimated that 15% of net household income is spent on betting, possibly one of the highest proportions of any nation in the world. The younger generation rejects the idea of absolute truth. Pray that Christianity might still be able to provide a moral compass and demonstrate moral authority.
Spain has been our flagship model since the inception of World Link Ministries in 1991. The seminary, SEFOVAN, was planted in Madrid because of a growing need to train young national leaders to reach their country for Christ. Though it began in Manny and Glenda Fernandez’ (the founders) living room, in three years it had grown to 15 students thus making it the second largest seminary in Spain at the time.
We’ve now expanded from our main campus in Madrid and started extension centers including Benidorm, Canary Islands, and San Sebastian. Today more than 150 students are being trained. God has blessed the model and has made it possible for our students throughout the country to realize their dreams of working full-time in the ministry and reaching their nation for Christ. 110 churches have been planted in the past 25 years.
Some of our student pastors in Spain
(scrollover or click to learn about them)
Unai is a church planter in San Sebastian, Spain. As he went through our four year program he would make the 4 hour drive home on weekends to lay the foundation for the church he was planting in northern Spain. Today his church is one of the largest in Spain and his church has become a major influence in the entire region.
Bruno serves in the city of Benidorm, Spain. He, and his wife Lidia and daughter Janna, moved there because of a call for help from a church there. Bruno came and turned the situation around and within a year launched an extension center in his church for our seminary in Madrid. Today his church's influence is felt all throughout the province.
This sweet couple have grown into tremendous leaders at our seminary in Madrid and in a church plant in Madrid they are now leading. Miguel Ángel is one of the brightest students to have come through our seminary since it opened in 1991. He hosts a blog with country wide following in the hundreds of thousands.
Matt and Rose are two students from Ecuador who came to our Saturday classes. They have a ministry reaching other Quechua Indians in the country of Spain and throughout Europe. God has multiplied their ministry tremendously over the last five years.
Daniel pastored a church all throughout his four years in seminary. When he finished he continued to pastor the church which had grown and took up a position with an evangelistic ministry that is reaching out to a very needy part of Madrid.
From the time they arrived at seminary in 2009 Danny and Carol became part of a leadership team that would plant a church in Madrid, Spain. All throughout their time in seminary they also were focused on evangelism, and the pastoring of the new church. After leaving the church in good hands, they moved to the States to finish their education at Southwestern Seminary. They soon return to Spain to plant churches in the Canary Islands (their home province).
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