Sun, sand and a beautiful historic city, there are worse places to go church planting! Málaga is the 6th largest city in Spain with a population of around 600,000. It is situated on the coast in the very south of Spain in the region of Andalusia and has beautiful historic centre around which a much larger metropolitan area has grown. Tourism and technology are the main industries and to many brits it will be familiar as a holiday destination, although most of the tourist hotspots are spread further along the coast. Málaga is a very friendly place with an outdoor lifestyle and community living are both essential parts of the culture (along with pride in local heroes Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas!). In recent years Spain has suffered from serious economic recession and very high unemployment rates and although Málaga itself is quite an affluent area it has also suffered. Youth unemployment rates are some of the highest in Europe and increasingly the young people are looking to move abroad to gain work opportunities. This has all caused much political instability with the rise of new parties and an inability to form stable government.
While many think of Spain as a catholic country in truth it has in recent times become an increasingly secular country and is desperately in need of evangelisation. Less than 1% of the population are evangelical Christians and many of these are people who are not native. There is a great need to share the gospel with native Spanish people and to establish churches that can plant and reach untouched areas, there continue to be many smaller towns where there is no Christian presence. Many of the challenges facing the church in Spain are summed up well in this interview with a veteran church planter https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-gospel-in-spain.
The challenges to church planting in Spain are great but we have been encouraged with a prophecy of God using us to break up hard ground with a hammer representing the word of God. We believe that however hard the culture is the power of God is greater. We also recognise the economic challenges that face us as a family with work hard to find (not to mention the uncertainty around Brexit) but continue to believe that God is our provider.