Sunday, 10 August 2014
Spain Is a Cemetery for Preachers, Evangelists, Missionaries, Says Assemblies of God Pastor
continues to thrive despite being known as a dead end for
Protestant churches, said Juan Carlos Escobar, general
superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Spain.
Escobar's message on church planting was part of the
denomination's 100th anniversary celebration taking place in
Springfield, Missouri, this week. He noted that the country's
religious landscape has shifted over several decades and will do
so as the Assemblies of God intends to plant a total of 1,000
churches by 2020.
"It's true, Spain and other countries are cemeteries for
preachers, evangelists and missionaries. However, they are not
cemeteries of death but they are breeding grounds for the
Gospel," said Escobar.
He added, "The power of the resurrection has activated itself in
what some have called a dry and thirsty land in Spain over the
last 25 years. We have seen an incredible growth, it hasn't been
explosive, but it has sustained. Something tells me that Spain is
in the heart of God."
According to 2013 statistics, Roman Catholicism remains the
largest religion in Spain with 70.9 percent of the population
identifying with the faith. Evangelical Christians, however, make
up less than one percent of the country's nearly 50 million
population. Compare that to the non-religious in Spain, which
account for 24.6 percent of the population.
Escobar noted that the denomination's vision to plant churches
in Spain began in 2010. Since then, 850 individuals have been
trained and prepared to plant 300 congregations.
"By 2010, the Assemblies of God had a growth each decade of
about 100 percent … the biggest spiritual warfare we can do
against the devil is to plant churches," said Escobar. "Every
church that we plant is a center of training and preaching; it's an
agency of God. Imagine if we planted one in every town and
In order to continue growing, Escobar noted that churches in
Spain have had to consult with large ministries to implement a
structured plan. He also said they will need to have a 350
percent growth in the next few years in order to reach their goal
Although the denomination is to partially credit for a Christian
revival in Spain, Escobar noted that it began through a divine
"God began raising the Assemblies of God a few decades ago so
that churches throughout various part of the country could begin
to receive an impact ... the current generation of leaders in Spain
have been visited by the Holy Spirit and have shown change in
their character, commitment and service," said Escobar.
However, he also says that the rise of immigrants has
contributed to the Gospel's growth in the European nation.
"Immigration has been important to our country. Currently, about 12 percent of the Spanish population are immigrants and they have been an important influence in our growth," said Escobar.
"We thank God for immigrants because they have caused
positive change and have caused our culture to become
The Assemblies of God 100th anniversary celebration can be
viewed live on 100.ag.org. Event organizers expect an estimated
10.5 million viewers to view the AG's Centennial live on August
10. The Centennial will be also broadcast through Unsión TV to
Latin America, where the Assemblies of God has more than 30
million adherents. Furthermore, LMTV will broadcast the service
throughout Africa, where the AG has over 17 million adherents.