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Scott and Marisa Smith have been ministering for over 40 years to the people of Spain where only 0.4% of the population is evangelical. Though facing many challenges in this western European country, they now are experiencing God’s moving in Spain as never before.
Scott and Marisa have been church planters for most of those years, starting four churches that they pastored themselves and have been vitally involved in the planting of around 45 others throughout the nation. The Smiths find themselves in a position to accelerate and facilitate the birth of new congregations on Spanish soil. “Reach Out 2020” is an ambitious project that the Assemblies of God of Spain has put in motion to quadruple the number of churches in the denomination from 250 churches existing in 2010 to 1,000 by the end of the decade. “This is totally feasible”, says Scott, “if each church ‘mothers’ three other churches. Marisa and I are going to dedicate these final years of our ministry to this God-inspired project.”
“Reach Out 2020” has two components — “More churches” and “Better churches”.
“More churches” involves the tremendous effort necessary to achieve the goal of establishing 1,000 churches. The Smiths are actively recruiting and assisting construction teams and street evangelism teams, both from the States and Spain, in order to aid these nascent churches get established in a building, their presence known in their communities, and to see new members added as a result of street evangelism. They also are able to funnel offerings given from the American churches to accelerate the church planting efforts in Spain.
The “Better churches” program is needed to enable the existing congregations to successfully manage the multiplication. The Smiths organize leadership seminars for pastors and local church boards. Every year they coordinate Lay Leadership Summits in different regions of Spain to improve the basic, practical ministries in the churches. They also mentor young ministers using Voice Over Internet Programs and invite speakers from the States to teach on specific areas of need in the Spanish congregations.
For many years now, Marisa has served as the President of the Bible school board in Spain. The Bible school is an essential aspect of the preparation of church leaders. At the present time, it is functioning at full capacity.
The Bible school recently completed phase one of a massive rebuilding project. The main building of the school had to be totally renovated to bring it up to existing code. Ramps had to be put in, the whole facility had to be rewired, and an elevator had to be installed along with many other safety features required by the Spanish government for a residence Bible school. Thanks to Tom Paino and ActionNow along with the sacrificial giving of many churches and individuals, the $1 million project was completed and dedicated in 2015.
The desire of the Smiths to enrich and enhance the ministries of individual congregations in Spain has led them to be involved in ministries on a national level. Currently, they are developing an emphasis on the arts in the church and in evangelism. For the last four years they have organized seminars to incorporate art in ministries and expositions at the Spanish General Council of sculpture, painting, photography and poetry. The reception has been stunning.
In 1985 the Smiths pioneered a church in Valladolid, Spain a city of 400,000 people. Then in 1999 they started another church in Palencia, a city of about 80,000 people. Opening a storefront church, they began having services, preaching in the street, handing out tracts in the market place and engaging in one-on-one personal witnessing. Both congregations were turned over to young Spanish couples to pastor.
The Smiths organized the National Youth Department of the Spanish Assemblies of God which hosts an annual Youth Congress. Not only would these young people enjoy teaching and worship but the afternoons were dedicated to street evangelism, taking the message to the streets. They also started a yearly retreat for youth pastors and leaders throughout the country.
In 1995 the Smiths’ youth ministries expanded to include a “P.K. Retreat” designed exclusively for the children of the Assemblies of God ministers in Spain. The Preachers Kids Association now has more than 150 members and ministers in different ways to the special needs of these young people.
Looking beyond the boundaries of Spain, Rev. Smith helped organize and served as President of the Department of Foreign Missions for the Spanish church. Traveling to some of the poorest countries in the world such as Albania, Croatia, and Romania, the Smiths led Spanish teams of medical professionals, construction workers and lay people to work in clinics, orphanages and street evangelism programs. The Assemblies of God of Spain, in spite of its limited numbers, now supports eight full-time Spanish missionary families
From 1978—1980 the Smiths were in Santa Rosa, CA working at Christian Life Center as Singles Pastors with Fred Muster. In 1980 they moved to the Bible school in Madrid with the Missions Abroad Placement Service, (MAPS) where they served as dean of men and women and planted a church. In 1985 they began their first term as appointed missionaries to Spain.
A native of Northern California, Scott first went to Spain in 1975 from the town of Red Bluff to work in a Teen Challenge coffee house outreach, where he met Marisa, a Basque from the large Spanish city of Bilbao. He returned to the Barcelona area in 1977 to start a church and one month after inaugurating that church, Scott and Marisa were married in it.
Scott and Marisa Smith are excited to be a part of what God is doing in building His church in Spain.