Each year, Movement Day features speakers who come to educate, inspire, challenge, and encourage city leaders. Learn more about the world-renowned speakers, topic experts and practitioners scheduled to share about global issues and key urban population groups at Movement Day Global Cities 2016.
This month, we caught up with Javier Garcia, Director of Agape Europe, the Western European branch of Campus Crusade For Christ International. He has partnered with organizations like Athletes in Action, Family Life Ministry, and the Executives Ministry (Synesis) and has spent time in high school and campus ministry. Javier currently resides in Barcelona, Spain where he works to advance gospel movement in a way that is mission oriented and relevant to his community.
Q: You have served as the National Director of Agape Spain for 18 years. Would you be willing to share with us a little bit about what that role entails?
My role as Agape Spain National Director was to lead the organization towards the fulfilment of its mission and objectives. Agape is an entity that works with full time staff, and volunteers, to fulfill the mission of making Jesus known in our cities and our whole country.
Q: How would you describe the current gospel landscape of Spain?
We live in an increasingly secularized society where faith is experienced in a space that is removed from traditional institutions. However, statistics also tell us that the number of believers living within our communities has not decreased. These realities seem to indicate that we are in the midst of a paradigm change in which faith is lived and expressed differently than it has been before.
Spain has recently found itself facing challenges that result from serious inequality within our society. This reality of inequality has the largest impact on our youth. This is creating a strong sense of instability amongst our youth, who are grappling with insecurity and fear for their future.
Q: What urban issues are the people of Spain facing on a daily basis?
As with any other European city, the daily life of Spanish cities is impacted by all issues related to the process of globalization. How do we continue to become and be a multicultural, multireligious and multiethnic society and contend with all the challenges that accompany this process?
Additional challenges facing the people of Spain include the economic and social inequality that I have already referenced which often gives rise to street demonstrations and protests. In many instances, corruption and lack of ethics have given rise to a sense of indignation in Spanish society.
Poverty used to be something to be seen from afar, but this reality is now affecting a growing number of families. These challenges are compounded by the scarce influence of an evangelical minority within Spain, and the lost of credibility of the institutional church. This has resulted in the emergence of a sort of vacuum in which people are looking for answers that never seem to come.
Q: Your role sees you involved in a number of ministry opportunities that bring you into the fields of medicine, business, publishing, evangelism, and ecumenical dialogue. Would you mind sharing a little bit about these ministries and the gospel movement that you are witnessing within these various spheres?
Globalization is accompanied by a growing tendency to look for security in the life of communities with which you feel you can identify. These communities may be in the form of ethnic groups or may relate to a profession or a common interest (sports, music, nature etc.). These various communities may be opportunities through which to connect with the different identities of those by whom I am surrounded, and provide the means to establish a dialogue about their interests. It is for this reason that I approach the city in the awareness of the different fields and spheres within which communication bridges need to be established as opportunities to influence with the message of Jesus.
Q: How can the broader Movement Day community support those working to bring about gospel movement in Spain?
I believe it is crucial that new movements rise to inspire and conflate the different Christian resources and capacities existing in the cities. Unfortunately, the lack of communication between Christian communities, and the resources currently available, are limiting our effectiveness and possibility of relevance with our message in the cities in which we live. Movement Day can contribute not only to build awareness of this need, but also to launch strategies that could favor such an important collaboration.
Q: What are you most looking forward to for Movement Day Global Cities 2016?
There is no doubt that cities serve as our present reality and also as our future. Christians living in cities should be capable to react and understand the needs and challenges therein. What I’m looking forward to is the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others — to understand and connect with them. We are all called to fulfill our mission in this world; that mission includes cities – and I’m the first one who needs to learn how to do it.
Q: What do you hope to share with leaders at Movement Day Global Cities (MDGC) this fall?
I will focus on how important it is to understand the times in which we are living – how important it is to discover the challenges and opportunities they offer us – in order to have a more relevant mission in our cities. I will use the plenary session time to go deeper into this matter.