Having been all over Europe as a missionary for the last 25+ years, it’s been interesting to see how people respond to God and the Gospel. While Europe is truly a small part of the globe, each country within the continent is very ,very diverse with varying histories.
When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, Eastern Europe and Russia were thirsty, no…desperate, for hope. They had lived so many years in a political, spiritual and emotional vacuum, that to suddenly be open to the outside world, made them fertile ground for the Gospel. For many years after the fall of communism, people flocked to the churches because Christ provided a hope, a purpose, they had never experienced.
Western Europe on the other hand had experienced religious freedom for years and had already grown calloused to God; they had their freedom and didn’t feel a sense of spiritual or deeply rooted need for something bigger than themselves. Of course, I’m speaking in general terms, but as far as Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia are concerned – those countries without a Catholic base, religion was not a priority, perhaps even a nuisance.
In countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal and other countries with deep roots in the Catholic tradition, the church was mainly filled with the older generations, they were and are dying out because youth see little need for religion as a rule.
Spain is no different. Although the church runs deep, so does the corruption that it brought. This hasn’t settled well with this generation and many people are walking away from God, having confused Him with the church and its mistakes. That’s easy to do not matter what church you belong to, but spirituality has left such a bad taste in the mouth of Spaniards, that just bringing up the subject, instantly chills the conversation.
That’s why Edge has adopted the approach that it has; we are not invasive with the Gospel, but we firmly believe in using friendship and the arts to create a bridge to people who would otherwise be turned off by God or what they confuse with God.
Billy Graham ministries, now led by his son Franklin was used by the Lord to do amazing things recently in Barcelona. Take a look at the video here.
To be at work in Spain for so long and feel like so little is changing, it’s moments like these, where we see the fruit from seeds God has planted – seeds all of us in Spain are planting, one prayer and one friendship at a time.