The U-S pursues better relations with Europe; church planters feel the effect of politics.

By November 10, 2004

Spain (MNN)–In the interview, the last prayer request from the church planter stuck out most.

Evangelical Free Church of America’s Tommy Givens and his wife work in Pamplona, Spain. When we spoke to him, the shared key points of his church planting work, and its accompanying training outreach in the country.

However, it was his request for wisdom that shaped this story. Europeans reacted with disbelief at the U-S election results, many of them, bitterly.

According to Givens, many Europeans feel threatened by the association of the present administration with evangelical Christianity. He says the connection makes their work tricky at times, as expatriates. “Because many people think of us as evangelicals, they are immediately turned off and unwilling to consider the possibility that this actually might be something that God would have them listen to.”

However, Givens says while that may apply to general evangelism, there’s an openness in the established church to additional training.

What they’re offering is a mix between apologetics and missions vision. “We look for different ways that we can preach the Gospel and also working quite a bit in training people within the established church to be more effective in their understanding of the Bible and to try and help give them more mission-oriented identity to the church that already exists.”

Of the quarter of the church involved in the additional training program, Givens hopes they will enrich the exisiting church to a dynamic body. He also wants to encourage them to be ready to defend their faith in a public forum.

In the last minutes of the interview, Givens noted that it’s easy to be intimidated when connected with an unpopular worldview. He asked prayer for the indigenous believers that they would stand boldly in their faith. He then asked for wisdom that his team would know how to confront situations that confuse politics with faith, and resist being embroiled in an issue that distracts from purpose.

The simple plea to maintain focus on a calling to help believers in Spain–singular, and passionate–and the point of the whole story.

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