Spain is the crossroads between Europe and North Africa. With 44 million people, 78% are nominally Roman Catholic (with 1/4 attending Mass once a month) in the midst of an increasingly secular environment (non-religious number about 32%). There are 1 million Muslims, with the recent wave of immigration accounting for rapid growth, although some Muslims are descended from the Moors, who have been in Spain since the 8th century. Protestants number approximately 50,000, or 5% of the Muslim population.
Muslim occupation began in the 8th century and lasted 700 years. For a time the Muslim population outnumbered Catholic. When the small Catholic population re-conquered the country in 1492, it marked the beginning of the Spanish Empire, but also the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition lasted 400 years in an attempt to unite the Kingdom under Roman Catholicism, and was directed against Jews, Muslims and Protestants, resulting in the obliteration of the small Protestant movement. Thus Spain was never impacted by the Reformation. In the last 100 years Spain has suffered civil war and oppressive rule by a number of dictatorships, the last being General Franco. Since 1975 a more democratic form of government has emerged and freedom of religion was guaranteed in 1992. Since joining the EU (1986), Spain’s economy has flourished. However the hoped for growth of Christianity has not been realized.
The OC Spain team is rebuilding, with three Latin American couples and an American woman living in Granada, and two Brazilian sisters living in Barcelona. The team is working to see worshipping communities established in Guadix, and the 15 surrounding communities, none of which have an evangelical presence. Their prayer is that this will serve as a church planting model for Spain.
Vision & Strategy Statement