Juan Carlos Expósito belongs to the Assemblies of God of Andalusia in the southern region of Spain. He has been serving his church for some time but he became involved in the challenge of planting new churches with his local church a few years ago.
“When we started the church planting vision, we were in four areas. Now we are in 22 different places,” he says. “We assumed the responsibility we have as believers to preach the gospel and we did it in an intentional way.”
It has been vitally important to Juan Carlos to motivate the members of his church and the leadership with the vision of planting new churches. He works to ensure that all their efforts in the communities revolve around church planting and outreach including social activities, counseling, work with children, battered women, etc.
One of the main challenges facing Spain is the lack of workers, says Juan Carlos, since not everyone is willing to assume the dedication of being committed to church planting.
Another challenge has been that Catholicism is ingrained as part of the culture—many people do not want to develop a close relationship with Jesus Christ because it would imply renouncing their customs and religious culture. However, Juan Carlos and his team continue with the vision of evangelizing intentionally to reach the places where they do not know about Jesus Christ.
“We decided to go into a marginalized neighborhood with families that struggle with drug addiction,” Juan Carlos shares. They managed to establish a home group in that area and a woman came whose son was murdered earlier that year. She was full of hate and wanted to take revenge on the family who killed her son. Her situation at home was made more difficult because of her alcoholic husband. This woman went to Juan Carlos’ small group and heard about Jesus Christ. “She gave her life to the Lord and was baptized!” says Juan Carlos.
As people continue turning to God, Juan Carlos and the leaders of the small groups are discipling them and teaching them how to share the gospel with others. The result of this vision has been to go to more communities and multiplying their efforts to spread the gospel.