Spain was considered one of the most Catholic countries, but today less than 17% of Spanish people attend mass. The Catholic feasts or rituals no longer have spiritual meaning for most young people.
In the 16th century (during the Inquisition), leaders tortured or killed thousands suspected of heresy, and forced hundreds of thousands of Jews, Muslims, and Protestants to either convert or leave. Pray for full repentance, and that the shame on Christianity may be lifted. Pray for renewal that breathes new life into the Catholic Church.
Spain’s modern transformation is not all positive. Secular materialism brought religious freedom and economic advancement, but it has also struck a crushing blow to traditional foundations of society and created a spiritual vacuum that is being filled with many dangerous elements.
- 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. Cocaine dominates the drug trade, but heroin wreaks particular havoc on the health of users. As yet, there are no signs of drug abuse or addiction abating.
- 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. Bookmakers and gambling companies press in harder on the lucrative Spanish market, well aware of the breadth of addiction.
Evangelical numbers have grown, but not as fast or in the ways hoped for. Many evangelical churches are concentrated in Catalonia (especially Barcelona), along the east coast, in Andalucía and in the areas around Madrid.
There is a considerable increase in missionaries and agencies since 1978, probably numbering over 1,000 today. But some areas remain largely unreached. Proliferation of agencies and lack of coordination are issues for concern.
Latin Americans are present in great numbers. Careful and conservative estimates state that 48% (others suggest up to 80%) of all new churches are planted by Latinos – missionaries, tentmakers and economic migrants. This claim is contested by others, but there is no denying the massive missional impact of Latinos upon Spain. Some larger missions are AoG, WEC, YWAM, CB, ECM, OM, TEAM, GEM, ABWE, OMS and WH.
From Operation World, 7th Edition, by Jason Mandryk. Copyright (c) 2010 by Jason Mandryk. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, USA. www.ivpress.com