What I’m Excited About as a Pastor in Europe


When people think of Great Commission work in Europe, they often hear how slow, discouraging, and challenging it is. As a pastor in Southern Spain for the past decade, I understand because it often is all of those things.

And yet, I’m encouraged by what’s going on in other parts of Spain and throughout Europe. I hope my reflections remind you to pray for Europe.

    A few months ago, while evangelizing in the streets of Seville, I met a young Spaniard who grew up in a nonreligious home. I asked him why he believed there were so many religions in the world. His answer surprised me. He said he had been seeking answers in many religious books, but began reading the Bible a couple of years ago and started believing what the Bible says about salvation by faith alone. When I told him that was one of the solas of the protestant reformation he told me, “I’ve been a Protestant for two years and didn’t even know it!”

    Just recently, our church baptized a young Hungarian lady who was a former atheist. She came to Seville to work as an au pair in October 2023. She decided to visit our church because she felt lost and anxious for attention and approval. She was encouraged by her Christian sister to visit an evangelical church. She was hesitant, but when she finally stopped by she was surprised by the hospitality and joy of our church family. God saved her as she heard the gospel week after week during our international Bible study and church gatherings. She’s now part of our church family. I’m seeing this happening frequently in Seville and other parts of Spain. 

    A century ago, Europeans who grew up Roman Catholic began seeking answers in science. More recently, secular Europeans have looked to self and experience to answer existential questions. These things haven’t provided answers. I regularly meet young men and women who were once atheists and agnostics but are now vibrant disciples of Christ. We have a great opportunity to bring the gospel to this generation of Europeans who have little-to-no knowledge of the Bible. Please pray that God would save more young Europeans. 

    Alex is a Colombian church planter in the city of Huelva, Spain. Before the pandemic, he had been sent by an apostolic/prosperity denomination from his homeland to plant a church. Once the Spanish government decreed a nationwide lockdown, he began watching sermons on YouTube from godly, reformed pastors from the Spanish-speaking world. After a while, Alex realized he had been pastoring his church as an unbeliever; he realized he’d been preaching everything but the gospel. He resigned from his denomination and reached out to me. He wanted to be equipped and supported by a like-minded pastor so he could lead his church to health. He wants his church to be a beacon of the and the love in his small city on the Southern coast of Spain. I hear stories like this regularly.

    I have the privilege of leading Simeon Trust workshops in Spain and other parts of Europe. During these workshops, we equip pastors to preach God’s Word expositionally. I’m truly amazed at the amount of pastors—from Baptists to Pentecostals to brothers in other denominations—who have discovered the gospel and are excited to learn faithful exposition. By God’s grace, more churches are becoming aware that what churches in Europe need is not more tradition, but more gospel. They’re learning that the gospel is God’s central story and that Scripture is not merely a book full of tips on how to live a moral life. They’re preaching that Christ’s death and resurrection gives the power to save the lost and power for the believer to walk in this world. 

    I’m excited to see more pastors and churches in Europe embracing expositional, gospel-centered sermons as the norm. Both unbelievers and believers need to hear the gospel proclaimed from our pulpits and throughout our churches members’ lives. Please pray that God will continue to awaken more churches in Europe to the gospel. 

    The missions landscape has been shifting. Europe was once the leading force of Protestant missions to Asia, Africa, and America. Thriving European churches combined their resources to finance and send missionaries. They created organizations like the London Missionary Society and China Inland Mission. Europe is now void of the gospel and so it receives missionaries from Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, and all over the world. Churches in North and South America are sending missionaries to bring the gospel back to the continent that jumpstarted the Protestant Reformation. 

    For Spain, this reality as a missionary target isn’t new. 

    In the early 1900s, faithful British brothers joined massive immigration waves from the British Isles to Spain. In Southern Spain, British foreigners found jobs in newly-opened mines and settled in Andalucía, the region where I pastor. Some British pastors joined them and started ethnic British churches. Eventually, those faithful British believers started sharing the gospel with their Roman Catholic neighbors and inviting them to church where they translated the sermons for them. Eventually, enough Spaniards came to Christ so they started Spanish-speaking congregations. This is why many churches in Southern Spain are 100+ years old. 

    Fast forward to the early 2000s. Many historic churches were on the verge of extinction. But thanks to our dear Latin American brothers and sisters immigrating to Spain, old churches were filled and many new churches were planted. There are more evangelical churches in Spain today than ever before. In Spain, immigration has played a beautiful role preserving and advancing the gospel. We’re seeing a similar story play out in the 2020s. I’m excited to see churches from other continents sending their best so we can “re-evangelize” Europe with the gospel.

    God is doing exciting things in Europe. Please pray that God will continue to save more people, awaken more churches, and send more missionaries to fill Europe with the gospel again. 

    Alberto Puente Navarro

    Alberto Puente is one of the pastors of Iglesia Bautista Fe de Sevilla in Spain. He was part of the team that planted this church in March 2012. He is married to Ashley and they have four children: Sergio, Ana, Santiago and Lydia.

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