Q. Spain is a catholic country. Are you anti-catholic?
A. Nope! Not at all. We have many friends and influences who love Jesus and do so through a Catholic expression. However, a growing number of “Catholic Atheists” and dwindling church participation indicates a predominantly cultural identification with Catholicism in Spain. We also recognize as many have noted, that the Church’s historical alignment with Spain’s long-time oppressive dictator greatly marred it’s representation of God and who He is. This has left many scarred and resentful, and completely shut off to the “god” they think they know. It’s common, if you ask people about their belief in God, for them to merely respond with their hatred of “the Church”. We want to show people the real, alive, biblical Jesus most have clearly never known, and bring them to life to who He is. It is quite likely that we will partner with the small and largely repentant Catholic church workers locally.
Q. Why are you asking for money? Can’t you just work there like normal people?
A. The legal situation in Spain is such that we are not allowed to work. Not only would it take jobs from locals, but we also desire to dedicate our full attention to spreading Jesus and building up His body there. Not to mention that the wonderful opportunity to co-labor with the body of Christ in the U.S. in a work of God’s kingdom across the globe is a life-giving and rewarding relationship for all of us. Join us!
Q. There are plenty of lost people here in the u.s. why don’t you just stay and do your ministry here?
A. Obedience. The past few years, the Lord has continued to stir up a call for us to Spain in so many ways. And, as I like to say, you can’t spill your coffee in a coffee shop in Kansas City without spilling it on a pastor or Christian of some sort! There is indeed so much work to be done here, and many are called to be doing it. It is our intention to encourage and build the body in Kansas City through the work we do cross-culturally in Barcelona. Some are called to stay, and others are called to go.
Q. Do we really need to be sending missionaries to Europe? Aren’t there more lost people in (insert third-world country here) and isn’t there greater need and receptivity there?
A. That’s a great question and one we struggled with a lot! Statistically speaking, there are fewer Christians among the Catalan people than in Saudi Arabia or Thailand. Of course statistics are tricky and nuanced, but especially among the younger generations, any belief in God among secularized Europeans is almost nil.
After talking more with folks, we’ve realized that many who ask this question are, at the root, questioning the validity of sending missionaries to those with little to no physical needs, as opposed to going to those in poverty. Jesus didn’t elevate the poor over the rich, but made them equal. His kingdom honors the poor as well as the rich, but both without Jesus are equally lost. He called lowly fishermen to follow him as well as wealthy tax collectors. The Church should most definitely be sending workers into the fields of poorer nations and meeting physical needs there. But the lost in the first world are just as lost, and He has given us a clear and specific mission to these people.
As far as receptivity, remember how many people were around when Jesus gave out free food, healed, and met physical needs? But also remember how many left when he started speaking hard truths. Response is not always reception. The Church should most definitely be bringing His kingdom through restoration and healing in the physical sense. We ourselves partner with several missionaries in the Third-World, and love what they’re doing, and have even considered joining them. But, the Lord has so clearly directed us to Barcelona, and shown us His desire and love for the Catalan people. We’ve loved learning of His heart for ALL people and we’re convinced that those with all that the world has to offer are actually just as starving for life as those with none of it!
Q. So, what exactly would you say you will do…in barcelona?
A. That’s a great question! From my time visiting and living there in the past, I (being Derek) am convinced that that in order to bypass so many hang ups and roadblocks that a typical church setting presents, we will have to find creative, rather deconstructed forms of engagement and “being the body.” Because of their history and cultural experience with “The Church” most would never attend a typical church if you invited them. (That’s increasingly true in the U.S. as well.) So as the Lord had been teaching us about what’s essential to being His body, as well as what’s negotiable, we feel led to dreaming of and work towards planting and cultivating a network of interconnected house/micro churches throughout the city. We’d love to see a church in each neighborhood in Barcelona that is structured to multiply and adapt rapidly. In this way, the church will be able to take on the unique character of the Catalan people, as well as the individuals leading and guiding each church. We believe that this, along with a robust ethic of outreach and engagement, will be a radical new movement in the city of Barcelona, one that can both responsively and aggressively love the people in that city. To sum that up; we will, in the words of Avant, focus on evangelism, disciple making, leading to house/micro church planting.
We will pursue the above goal largely through the following:
//Agape+// We have a partnership with a local organization called AGAPE+ (or Agape Mas), a division of CRU (the ministry formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ, currently known as AGAPE in Europe). Agape+ works for the rehabilitation and reintegration of people of exclusion, namely the homeless. This will be a great way for us to begin getting to know and serve the city.
//Worship & Prayer// We’ve been increasingly growing to love the powerful way the Lord gives life to His people through fervent worship and prayer together. We plan to host consistent times of worship and prayer seeking to excite and unite the diversity of believers in interceding for great move of the Spirit in that city.
//Missional Third-Space// We have been a part of, are products of, and have seen many times over, the power of a public, intentional, community-centered space devoted to cultivating the kingdom. This will likely take the form of a coffee shop/arts space able to host and act as a hub of ministry.