Here are a couple of blog posts which were written after the summer which were lost but now have been found!
God guiding us to a place
When we moved to Málaga one year ago we always had the intention that our first home here would be a stepping stone, a landing strip in a new country and culture. God has blessed us much more than we could imagine with that first home, we have great neighbours and have made good friends there. We’re close to the children’s school and genuinely love the house. However, we’re on the outskirts of the city and always felt drawn to be closer. We never had in mind that we wanted to plant a city centre church that would reach the various areas of the city but rather plant multiple local church communities that together, as a connected network, would affect the whole city. So we have been seeking God since we got here as to where that first community that he wants us to make disciples in. We now feel convinced it is an area called El Palo in the east of Málaga.
Increasingly we have made connections in that part of the city and feel a real spiritual draw to it. It is by no means the most attractive part of the city (and by no means the least) and many of our neighbours and friends cannot understand why we would want to move there but The Spirit has put a real love for the area and its people in our hearts. We also felt some prophetic prompting to move into this area (for example a prophetic word about looking for a place called ‘the finger’ as somewhere to live, El Dedo, which means ‘the finger’ in Spanish is an area in El Palo) and have talked it over with those we seek counsel and guidance from. Last week we visited what is the only evangelical church that we know of in the area. We spent the morning worshiping with a faith-filled and enthusiastic congregation of less than 20 in a district of more than 60,000 people! We are grateful for what God is doing in and through these faithful brothers and sisters but it highlighted to us the need for gospel sharing, disciple making and church planting in this area of Málaga. More recently we have met two American missionary families who have felt similarly called to El Palo with a very similar vision and similar values to us.
It feels as though God is starting to move in El Palo and is inviting us to be part of what He is doing. As we seek to move into El Palo (The Reays will be moving there in October) and enter in to this new season we want to invite a group of prayer warriors to come out and join us for the weekend of 30th November to the 2nd December to prepare the ground with prayer, to engage in spiritual warfare with the cultural and historic strongholds that have made this such a hard mission field in the past, to petition God for breakthrough in this area, to make a bold statement of faith in the face of the lies of the enemy and to seek God’s guidance as we move forward. If you feel that you join with us in El Palo for a weekend of prayer and spiritual warfare, to have a stake in what God is doing and help take ground for the kingdom of God we want you to come. Click on the link before to go to our Eventbrite page where you can sign up and find out more information about accommodation. As with everything in Andalucía there will, of course, be time for enjoying good food and chatting to friends old and new, although we can’t promise a whole lot of sunshine in December!
God guiding us to a way to reach people
We came to Málaga for one key reason, to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Through that we expect to see churches planted. Our mission is to make disciples, to see people saved through faith in Jesus and to help them grow in the fulness of life in Him.
As a family we have a deep desire to see New Testament style church communities planted throughout Andalucía, we hunger for genuine community, genuine discipleship, effective outreach, miraculous authentication of the gospel and community changing breakthrough of the quality we read about in Acts. We have been very influenced over the last year or two by what we are seeing God doing in primitive, simple church structures in disciple-making movements across the globe. These movements have a strong emphasis on finding receptive people, discipling these people to a place of saving faith and continuing to disciple them, supporting and equipping them to discover God’s truth primarily through the bible themselves rather than didactic teaching and the quick releasing of leaders to establish new discipling communities. This looks quite different to what we have experienced in the UK but the values and gospel that define it will be the same. We’ve been greatly encouraged by those with responsibility in leading the Relational Mission of churches speaking of a need to contextualise our values and express them in culturally appropriate way if we are to see natively lead church plants established.
A key outreach strategy in disciple making movements is the discovery bible study. This is essentially helping people who the Holy Spirit is working in and are open to the gospel to ‘discover’ the message of the gospel through studying the bible. This has the advantage (especially in a culture steeped in a tradition of the priest being the conduit of knowledge about God) of helping people to recognise the gospel straight from scripture and placing a heavy emphasis on not only understanding but obeying and applying the bible from the start. It also helps equip people to pursue a relationship with God, learning to hear His voice through the bible rather than relying on ‘educated’ leaders. Off course careful leadership and discipling is needed to prevent people going doctrinally off course but we are really excited about using this technique here. We already have one lady from a catholic background who would like to study the bible in this way with Sarah and are trusting God to give us more.
Our hope and prayer is that God leads us to people he is preparing and that we are able to bring these folk to faith and disciple them, to make disciples that make disciples. Through this we hope to see multiplying network of interconnected communities throughout the city and the surrounding villages. It will feel uncomfortable at times, it will look different to what we are used to and we’ll have a lot to learn but ultimately we have faith that, if we are obedient to His leading, God can use us in our weakness to change lives and glorify His name here.
Please keep praying for us a we pursue the Spirit’s leading in this next season, send us prophetic words and encouragements if you feel led or join us for an event in the city. If you feel excited by this why not ask God if He is calling you to be part of it with us and get in touch.