Kingdom of Spain
October 15-16

click to enlarge


Area 504,783 The major part of the Iberian peninsula and Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. Also included are the Canary Islands off north-west Africa and the enclaves of Ceuta and Mellila on the North African coast.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 39,759,775 +0.03% 79 per sq. km.
2010 39,223,193 -0.19% 78 per sq. km.
2025 36,798,293 -0.52% 73 per sq. km.

Capital Madrid 5 mill. Other major cities: Barcelona 4.2m; Valencia 1,375,000; Sevilla 1.05m; Bilbao 1m. Urbanites 78%.


Indigenous 98%.

Spanish 90.3%. Major languages: Castilian 29m; Catalan 6.7m; Galician 3m; Asturian 450,000; Extremaduran 200,000; Aragonese 30,000.

Basque 5.7%. Euskera is the primary language of 42% of the 1.1m Basques in the Basque Autonomous Region. All Basques 2.2m.

Other 2%. Roma (Gypsy) 600,000+.

Foreign 2%.s North African/Arab 450,000; Latin American 160,000; EU citizens 100,000; Chinese 30,000; Iranian 15,000.

Literacy 97%. Official language Castilian. Catalan, Galician and Basque are the official languages in the respective autonomous regions. Spanish is the first language of 340 million people; the world's third most widely-used language. All languages 14. Languages with Scriptures 4Bi 1NT 3por 4w.i.p.


The mightiest economic power in the world in the 16th Century followed by three centuries of decline and economic stagnation until entry into the EU in 1986. Integration into Europe has transformed the country into a modern, confident, industrial power with rapidly rising living standards. Main sources of income are tourism and industry. HDI 0.894; 21st/174. Public debt 55% of GNP. Income/person $14,490 (46% of USA).


Spain's tumultuous past moulds the present. The Muslim Moorish occupation lasted 700 years, ending in 1492. The world-wide Spanish empire lasted for three centuries. The last two centuries have been marked by instability, civil wars and dictatorships; the latter under General Franco lasted from 1939 to 1975. Constitutional monarchy with an effective multi-party democracy. Wide powers have been given to 17 autonomous communities as a means of preserving national unity. The left-wing Basque ETA terrorist campaign for full Basque independence has plagued Spain and divided the Basque community since 1961.


During Franco's dictatorship, Catholicism was the state religion. Non-Catholics, especially Evangelicals, were subject to discrimination and even persecution. The 1978 constitution guaranteed equality of rights for all ideologies and religions, though Catholicism remains the official religion. Equality for Evangelicals, Muslims and Jews was only established in 1992. There are still evidences of covert discrimination against religious minorities. Over 30% of the population, though baptized Catholic, no longer claim any link with Catholicism and a further 40-50% are inactive.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 67.77 26,945,200 -2.7%
non-Religious/other 30.89 12,281,794 +8.1%
Muslim 1.20 477,117 +3.7%
Jewish 0.13 51,688 +5.4%
Buddhist 0.01 3,976 n.a.

Note: Denominational figures have been revised downwards from those used in the 1993 edition of Operation World.

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 130 0.42 169 +2.1%
Independent 50 0.05 19 +2.9%
Anglican 1 0.07 29 +2.9%
Catholic 3 66.70 26,519 -2.9%
Orthodox 1 0.01 4 +4.6%
Marginal 8 0.52 206 -0.1%
Unaffiliated   0.63 250 n.a.
Doubly affiliated   -0.63 -250 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Adherents
Catholic C 21,500 8,705,714 33,517,000
Jehovah's Witnesses M 1,313 102,853 156,000
Filadelfia Evang P 613 30,000 60,000
Latter-day Saints (Morm) M 180 24,476 35,000
Christian Brethren P 140 11,000 18,000
Baptist Union P 73 8,365 14,000
Seventh-day Adventist P 68 6,945 13,000
Spanish Evangelical P 40 2,700 10,000
Assemblies of God P 140 6,000 8,500
Fed of Spanish Pente P 65 2,800 4,060
Other denoms [182]   884 48,000 110,000
Disaffiliated C   -3,500,000 -7,000,000
Doubly affiliated     -182,000 -250,000
Total Christians [192]   25,016 5,266,500 26,695,500

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 0.4 174 +2.3%
Charismatic 1.1 447 -0.7%
  Pentecostal 0.2 97 +3.2%

Missionaries from Spain
P,I,A 416 in 43 agencies. Spain 129; Argentina 38, Italy 17, Mexico 14, all Middle East 29, Portugal 32.

Missionaries to Spain
P,I,A 1,266 in 182 agencies from 38 countries: USA 499, UK 149, Brazil 60, Germany 55, Canada 52, Mexico 37, Korea 25.

click for legend

Answers to Prayer

1 The transformation of Spain since 1974 is astonishing – from dictatorship to liberty, poverty to wealth, isolation to integration into Europe and religious discrimination to rampant secularism.

2 The people movement among Spain's despised marginalized Roma (Gypsies) since 1966. The Filadelfia movement has become the largest evangelical body in the country.

3 Evangelicals have grown in numbers from a paltry 3- 4,000 adult believers in 1900, to 20,000 in 1970, to an estimated small, but significant 96,000 in 2000. There were 300 evangelical congregations in 1970, but 2,000 by 2000 as well as the Filadelfia Roma churches. Churches in Madrid have grown from 18 to 189 over that period.

Challenges for Prayer

1 The Inquisition is a dark shadow lying over Spain. In the name of Christ, the Catholic Church burned at the stake hundreds of thousands of innocent Spanish Jews, Moors and Protestants in the 16th century. This weapon of repression was then used throughout the Americas against the indigenous population. The Church became associated with bigotry and tyranny, and also was tainted by association with the Franco dictatorship. Pray that this stain on the Spanish nation may be fully repented of and renounced and the shame on Christianity diminished.

2 The Catholic Church is in serious crisis. Its loss of numbers and influence and the widespread mistrust of it as an institution has had a demoralizing effect. Few applicants for the priesthood has caused the average age of priests to rise to 57. There were 23,000 seminarians in 1960 but less than 2,000 in 1999. The charismatic movement has grown, but is small with about 30-35,000 active members in 650 groups. Yet the centuries of control and instruction have inoculated most people against considering a more biblical Christianity. Pray that the legacy of bondage and blindness may be removed.

3 There is a spiritual vacuum which is being filled by:

a) Secularism and materialism. There has not been the longed-for turning to a personal relationship to Christ as religious freedom has increased.

b) Foreign cults. There are more Jehovah's Witnesses than Evangelicals, and Mormon numbers have rapidly increased – in contrast to a painfully slow Evangelical growth.

c) The occult. Mediums, witchcraft, astrology, parapsychology and Satanism have a high profile.

d) Drugs. There are reckoned to be 300,000 addicted to heroin and cocaine, a major factor in the AIDS epidemic. In 2000 there were estimated to be 120,000 carrying the HIV virus (0.6% of the population)), and AIDS victims are more numerous than in any other European country. RETO, REMAR (Pentecostal) and Betel (WEC-related) have had success in rehabilitating drug addicts in centres in many parts of the country. RETO has 50 rehabilitation centres and ministry in 10 countries, REMAR has communities in 165 Spanish towns and works in 57 countries. The Betel converts have planted 10 churches and have extended their ministry to over 10 other countries.

e) Gambling. This is a major obsession, with 11% of private-sector spending misused at great social cost to families.

Pray for spiritual power, love and wisdom for all seeking to minister to these people bound by Satan's wiles.

4 The growth of Evangelicals has been steady, but not as fast as expected. The 6,000 Protestant church members in 1932 had increased to 20,000 in 1963, 36,000 in 1980 and 96,000 in 2000, yet they are very unevenly distributed. Most churches are concentrated in Catalonia (especially Barcelona), Andalucia and, to a lesser extent, the areas around Madrid. A third of these are Roma who are culturally isolated. Pray for:

a) Revival. Spain has never experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in revival.

b) Freedom from the effects of being a despised and rejected minority in order to make full use of today's freedom and equality by vigorous outreach.

c) Spanish evangelical churches to lose their 'foreign-ness'. Many missionaries have unwittingly imported their national and doctrinal idiosyncrasies and tried to control the churches they planted, stunting indigenous expression and leadership.

d) Greater cooperation between denominations in fellowship and evangelism. There is an individualistic independence and mistrust of others that has long inhibited cooperation. FEREDE has become a key network hub for evangelical denominations to give focus in ministry and to speak for Evangelicals to the government.

5 Vision for the future has been lacking because of the fragmented world of Evangelicals. Pray for effective, culturally appropriate methods of outreach and for nation-wide evangelistic strategies to be developed. The effective use of orchestras and musical performances in public and on television by Evangelicals has been one notable avenue used since 1995. Women Aglow in Spain has grown steadily since 1975 – many women have come to Christ and joined evangelical churches. Pray also for the growth of missions vision. The Llamada conferences every three years and the ministry of OM, WEC, WH and Latin American missions have inspired young people to go to the Middle East and Africa, in spite of the shortage of sending structures and supportive churches. Pray for the vision to mature. Pray also for the growth and development of Spanish mission agencies.

6 Leadership training. The small size of the evangelical community and the high level of unemployment make it difficult for small congregations to support full-time workers or for Christians to commit themselves to the work of the Lord. In 1990 there were about 1,350 pastoral workers – but only a minority working full-time in the ministry. Many young people have been enthused for Christian service and missions through the ministry of OM and YWAM. There are 15 seminaries and Bible schools – one of each initiated by GEM. TEAM, in partnership with World Link Ministries, has launched an extension seminary specifically to train church planters which has proved unusually successful. TEAM, OMS, AoG(ICI), the Baptist Union and Open Bible Standard Mission(INSTE) run TEE programmes. Pray that from this input there might be a good supply of godly men and women to further the gospel in Spain and beyond.

7 There has been a considerable increase in missionaries and agencies since 1975, yet unoccupied areas are numerous. Two-thirds of the missionary force is concentrated in Madrid or around Barcelona. Proliferation of agencies and lack of coordination are issues for concern. Pray for:

a) Missionaries to be called to less evangelized areas, such as Castilla Leon, parts of Andalucía, the northern provinces of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque country.

b) Good relations between expatriate and national workers. Missionaries and nationals are about equal in number, but most missionaries have the financial freedom to work full-time, which many of the nationals cannot do. The potential for pain in relationships is obvious.

c) Missionaries to be able to integrate fully into Spanish culture and life. Many new missionaries remain aloof and need pastoral care and encouragement to adapt and become effective church planters. There is much pioneer evangelism, but little fruit in churches planted.

Some larger missions are: AoG (81), WEC (52), YWAM (50), IMB-SBC (45), Christian Brethren (42), ECM (41), OM (34), TEAM (33), Finnish Free Mission (30), GEM (27), OMS (24), GMU (23), CAMI (21), ABWE (18), WH (18), WT (16), SEND (14), UFM (13).

8 The need of Spain is enormous:

a) Over 13 million live in towns, villages and districts where there is no evangelical church.

b) Of the 17 regions, three have less than 20 Protestant churches – Cantabria (14), Lo Rioja (8) and Navarra (10). Galicia is less than 0.2%, and Extremadura 0.1%, evangelical.

c) Of the 52 provinces, 28 have fewer than 1,000 evangelical believers.

d) The one million students are largely unevangelized. In 1967 there were but 12 known evangelical students in universities. In 2000 there were over 500 linked with IFES groups served by 9 staff workers. There are 15 university towns without an evangelical student witness. Pray for the consolidation of existing work and expansion to other campuses and to secondary schools.

9 The less evangelized minorities:

a) The Basques – an ancient and proud people without a single Euskera-speaking Protestant church. The ETA movement has terrorized and polarized society in the Basque region. The 100 evangelical churches in the four provinces where Basques live (Guipúzcoa, Vizcaya, Alava and Navarra) are Spanish-speaking. There are about 50 scattered Basque evangelical believers who find it difficult to worship or witness in their own language. Only the beginnings of evangelistic and literature ministries have been made. The differing dialects in an already difficult language complicate the task. There is an almost complete lack of evangelistic and teaching materials available – and at a time when Euskera is widely used in the education system. Pray for those involved in ministry – AoG, CAMI, Baptists, YWAM and WEC. Pray that the centuries-old suspicions, fears and reserve of the Basque people may be broken down.

b) The Muslims number around 450,000. The Moors ruled much of Spain for 700 years and Muslims long to win back what they lost. Saudi Arabia funded the building of Europe's largest mosque in Madrid. South Spain is a key base area for 16 agencies committed to evangelizing North Africa. Pray for the Malaga Media Centre (GMU) and the Ibero-American Institute of Islamic Studies (PMI). Pray for effective partnering in ministry to Muslims.

c) There is a large inflow of North and West Africans in southern Spain. Many make the hazardous crossing of the Straits of Gibraltar; over 3,000 drowned in the 1990s attempting this. There may be 250,000 illegal immigrants in southern Spain; they are often exploited and abused.

d) Chinese numbers have increased. COCM has planted one Church of 200 believers in Barcelona.

10 The Canary Islands form an archipelago of seven larger islands off Africa's north-west coast. Among the 1,630,000 inhabitants are but 3,600 believers in 75 small churches and fellowships – most being on the two larger islands and over half being Assemblies of God. There is need for more evangelism on the smaller islands of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gomera, La Palma and Hierro and for more teaching for the scattered groups of believers.

11 Ceuta (65,000) and Melilla (57,000) are two city enclaves on Morocco's north coast. Nearly 40% of the population is Muslim, half speaking Cherja, a Berber language. There are 2 small evangelical churches (one Arabic- and one Spanish-speaking) in Ceuta plus a REMAR and a Betel Centre, and one church in Melilla. Pray for these cities to be effective means of bringing the gospel to North Africa.

12 Christian help ministries. Pray for the effectiveness of these ministries:

a) Christian literature has been a major factor in church growth, yet the Spanish are poor readers, making literature work expensive and bookstores hard to finance. Pray for the 21 bookstores; CLC has 4 centres and a distribution network serving evangelical bookstores throughout Spain. Christian books are both imported and published in Spain, but too few are written by and for Spaniards.

b) Pocket Testament League has impacted Spain through literature, well-publicized research and promotion of missions vision.

c) Christian radio. By 1997 there were 25 local radio stations run by Evangelicals, 17 of them by Radio Amistad (CoG). For several years the authorities have singled out evangelical stations for closure and 10 were shut down in 1999. Pray that this discriminatory process may be halted. REMAR has 3 radio stations. TWR broadcasts in Spanish from Monte Carlo.

d) Christian TV. A Christian channel has been launched in Madrid, and nation-wide coverage is planned. REMAR has two local television channels.

Internet Links

| Top | Home | Pray Today | Prayer Resources | Updates | OW Team | Contact Us | Policy | Tech Support |