The modern Kingdom of Spain is a mixture of diverse historical, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds: Castilian-speaking Spaniards, Basques, Catalonians, Valencians, Galicians, and Andalusians. As the Madre Patria (mother country) of the former Spanish empire, Spain is the cultural fountainhead for some 300 million people in well over 20 countries worldwide. Her participation in the European community has created an economic boom that is attracting unprecedented immigration from Latin America and the Eastern bloc countries. Her social entitlement programs and labor opportunities are the envy of many developing countries in the Latin world.
Since the days of the Inquisition, Spain has been considered the special territory of the Roman Catholic Church, though only about 15 percent of the population would consider themselves active. Religious freedom was granted in the Constitution of 1978, but it has taken many years for this new religious freedom to find acceptance and practical enforcement. The cults are very active in Spain, the Jehovah's Witnesses being the largest single cult. Secular humanism, materialism, and moral relativism, however, are the greatest obstacles to gospel ministry. Evangelical Christians account for only about 0.7 percent of the people.
Spain became a new field for Baptist Mid-Missions as a result of the initiative of veteran Africa missionaries, JT & Janet Lyons. Through their ministry, the now-nationalized church in Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid) was founded, along with the current Bible Baptist Seminary of Spain, now located in Azuqueca de Henares (Guadalajara).
Through the efforts of other missionaries arriving in subsequent years, new churches were started in Madrid and other provinces. Currently, church plants are in progress in Azuqueca (adjacent to the seminary) and Santa Marta de Tormes (Salamanca), with new works projected for Segovia and Avila. The present ministry team is working on a five-year strategic plan to train new leaders and to establish a network of new and existing church plants.
Unlike much of the rest of Europe, Spain has had little to celebrate following the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation that rocked most of the continent in the 16th century. Spain’s people are still the least-evangelized Spanish-speakers in the world and, along with Italy, the least-evangelized in all of Europe. Professing evangelical Christians don't reach one-half of one percent of Spain’s population.
The BMM Team Spain presses forward with their common goals of recruiting new career missionaries to open new churches and help graduate at least two more church plants during their next five-year cycle (ending in 2023). New teams are launching plants in two strategic cities of León and La Rioja, but many other teams are needed. Numerous provinces do not even have one independent Baptist church.
In Villaescusa, Zamora, the first-ever residential campus for our fellowship of churches needs professors, funding, and infrastructure. Campus Bible Fellowship shares one worker with the field, but at least two more are needed to vitalize the Spain Team’s student outreach programs. Every summer, the ¡Especially SPAIN! FirstLook program continues to be a fruitful ministry to introduce Spain to missions-minded college-age students.
Our missionaries offer a college internship that gives hands-on experience in the day-to-day workings of church planting in Spain. ¡Especially Spain! is a summer group trip. Participants receive instructional classes on the field of Spain, which help them understand the culture and missionary work ethic and to see Spain as a mission field. To learn more about Especially Spain, click here.