Frequently Asked Questions
- Why not just focus on your existing ministry?
- Why Spain?
- What exactly are you hoping to build in Spain?
- What does the spiritual landscape look like?
- Are there any positive indicators for an outreach to Spaniards?
- Are there any guarantees that this outreach to Spain will succeed?
- Why the name “Four Winds Coffee & Tea”?
- How are you going to staff the outreach?
- What level of funding do you require?
Why not just focus on your existing ministry?
The Christ Center/ Four Winds Coffee and Tea is an inter-denominational, not-for-profit meeting place with a revenue generating coffeehouse which currently serves all the various Christian outreaches to the Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado.
The idea of planting another ministry modeled on the Christ Center in a different location is not new. We have always believed that if this ministry fulfills a need here in Grand Junction, that it would in all likelihood be possible to replicate it elsewhere with appropriate adjustments.
Two of the six core values of our ministry are to:
Live on the edge of God’s grace; and to
Pray and ask
It was through faith in God’s provision and relying on these core values that the local Christ Center was established.
After ten years of building a “spiritual well” in Grand Junction, and seeing this “well” being used by God, we have been called to build a similar “well” at the University of Málaga in Spain.
The Christian faith is at its core a faith in action. Inaction, leads to stagnation which leads to death.
Planting this new ministry in Málaga will force us back to the above-mentioned core values. God has planted the dire needs of Málaga’s student community firmly in our hearts and we believe that to NOT pursue this ministry would be a dereliction of our call.
There are a number of tantalizing and pragmatic reasons for reaching out to Spain:
Spanish: We have a growing Spanish population here in America. That means we have some people among us who already have the language skills – that first “weapon” with which to engage the battle for the hearts and minds of the Spanish people. If some Americans of Anglo decent were to learn Spanish, it would not only be useful “over there”, it would also be useful “over here” when we come back.
Families are already sending their young grads to Spanish speaking countries on this side of the Atlantic for short spiritual sabbaticals, so why not Spain? Spanish is the third most spoken language in the world. People flock to Spain from all over (China, Middle-east, Europe, etc.) to learn Spanish so that they can further their business undertakings in the Spanish speaking world. Should we as believers not also think along those lines? This is especially true for us (if we are forward thinking) since a third of the American population will be Latino by the year 2050.
See the article ¡Evangelicos! in TIME, April 15, 2013 on the rise of the Latino movement in the American protestant church and the initiatives taken by forward thinking churches and denominations. Christianity Today recently started publishing its magazine in Spanish.
Possible labor pool: Local students already travel to Spanish speaking countries to study and to earn credits toward their degrees. Would it be possible to recruit some of them to volunteer at our Spanish outreach if they could earn credits at CMU? How amazing would it be if young believers returned from Spain, their outlook on life forever changed?
Student exchange: What if we similarly offer Spanish students the opportunity to come to the US to do the same thing and spend time being discipled while working at the Four Winds Coffee and Tea in Grand Junction?
Strategic location: Spain is at the bottom of the European continent. It is the vacation spot for many northern Europeans who flee their colder climates for the balmy Mediterranean beaches of the Costa del Sol. There is a ready pool of northern Europeans who could potentially be reached in a place where they are relaxed and open to ideas they might not have time for during their normal work year. Spain is situated a few miles from the African continent and is also a stone’s throw away from the Muslim world. If the Apostle Paul were alive today, he would undoubtedly have planted an outpost in Málaga.
There are also some heartbreaking and compelling reasons to go to Spain:
Dire spiritual need: Among northern Europeans there seems to be an attitude of condescension towards the people of Spain. Spaniards are, therefore, suspicious of outsiders, and as a group they tend to keep to themselves. Add to this deep sense of unworthiness, the fact that the Spanish nation has by and large become “unreached,” or untouched by the good news of Jesus. There are symbols of religion everywhere, but the spiritual emptiness is almost palpable wherever you go.
One can sense the various ways in which materialism has engulfed these people, leaving them empty and in great need. But God is not asleep because He has already begun the task and is currently working a spiritual revival among the lowest of the low in this great country, the Roma – commonly referred to as gypsies. Can we be part of His solution for Spain?
Young people in crisis: Especially heartbreaking is a walk on the campus of the University of Málaga – to see the students and to know that they are struggling. We have been told that tuition fees are high and that the government is cutting services everywhere, including universities.
The Málaga campus resembles a desert when compared to our own CMU. Even for graduates, the future is bleak. The unemployment rate among 18 to 26 year olds is 57% in Spain. It is calamitous. So, the question is: “Is this generation going to be lost, or can we become God’s instruments in making the university generation a leverage point for good in that country?”
Spiritual desperation is graphically depicted on the University’s Fine Arts Building.
“Who needs art when you can make love”
What exactly are you hoping to build in Spain?
We are working to build the following on the Málaga University campus:
A John 4 “well,” staffed in part by American missionaries – a place where people will meet Jesus in a neutral non-threatening place much like the Samaritan woman did.
A personal, intimate, social space where Spaniards can relax and build relationships with followers of Jesus
A platform with which to support the local campus ministers. There is one full time ministry with two campus ministers on this campus of 37,000 students.
A cultural bridge where American staff and volunteer workers (missionaries) can cross paths with Spaniards through immersion, and hopefully, in the future, where Spaniards can engage the US culture by working at the Four Winds Coffee and Tea in Grand Junction
An English language “classroom” where young American believers can live the lives of Jesus followers while equipping Spaniards with a tool for economic survival – i.e. the English language
A place of employment for Spaniards in a country wrecked by economic melt-down
A catalyst for engagement between the local church and the university – much as we have done here in Grand Junction.
What does the spiritual landscape look like in Spain?
There is a sense of deep spiritual poverty and real economic hardship. The Spanish by and large are inward looking, almost insular.
This is a country with a very rich history and an amazing cultural heritage. It was first established by the Phoenicians, governed by Rome for a few centuries, and then became the rich domain of a sophisticated and educated Moorish empire for 700 years while the rest of Europe slumbered through the dark Middle Ages.
After the fall of the Moorish dynasty, Spanish monarchs ruled a vast empire for almost 300 years beginning with the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. Imagine standing in the very room where Christopher Columbus was first commissioned to go and explore the new world, and where he reported back to the two royals after his first quest.
Spending just a few hours in the Prado Museum in Madrid will impress upon you the fact that this country and its people were once at the very apex of the cultured and civilized world.
A look at the sophisticated architecture of the Moors leaves one breathless. Such dynamic proportions, astonishing geometry and sheer delicate beauty are bound to inspire. There are the amazing Roman ruins, amphitheatres, aqueducts, and much more. The landscape is full of reminders of the ancients who accomplished amazing feats here in the areas of construction and engineering.
For this proud people with such a rich history, it must be a particularly bitter pill to be in such dire straits today.
A great construction boom during the first few years of this century has imploded. The streets are filled with people protesting various austerity measures adopted by the Spanish government in response to pressure from the European Community. The unemployment rate is at 27% (or a staggering 57% for those between 18 and 26).
Secular materialism has taken its toll. Absolute truth is rejected, especially by the younger generation. Drugs, gambling and sexual ethics have become huge societal problems. Only 14% of the young people describe themselves as religious.
On the university campuses the situation is bleak. Materialism and hedonism run rampant. Young people distrust organized religion and, like here, they value “experience” and will need to be approached relationally and authentically. A major student ministry group reaches about 400 students across all of Spain – four hundred out of the 1.0 million students in that country, or 0.04% of the total student population. Operation World, 2010.
Are there any positive indicators for an outreach to Spaniards?
In human terms, this question has to be answered in the negative. But for God nothing is impossible and He is creating circumstances in Spain today which are making Spaniards re-think the way things been done in the past.
Spain is very much part of the new digital age. Cell phones are everywhere. This tech savvy trait would be an effective way to reach Spaniards with the good news.
All Spaniards and especially the young ones, are sociable. It is amazing to watch small groups of energetic and chatty people move about in the early evening from one Tapas bar to the next to drink a beer and to communally eat successive appetizer-type plates of food.
On February 21, 2013 USA Today carried an article called “The pain in Spain brings barter gains.” It describes a new spirit of cooperation which is being born out of desperation. Spaniards are discovering what community is really about. A new “sharing economy” is developing. People with no access to money have begun to barter with each other.
Goods and services are placed in “community banks” and a payment system without the need for money is developing. For example, I “bank” plumbing services and “withdraw” vegetables from the bartering bank.
The article paints a picture of a society open to radical change, and perhaps also to the love of Jesus.
There are two quotes from the article that are particularly enlightening: “The crisis and social media are changing people’s habits and perceptions so the attachment of people to objects is diminishing,” and “The sharing economy is the gate to a cultural change in which people rediscover the power of getting connected with other fellow citizens not only to consume, but also to produce for each other, educate each other, finance each other.” These changing attitudes sure seem to be an open gate for the Water of Life.
We believe that Spaniards can be reached via their love of community and their openness to the digital world. But, given their mistrust of religion and outsiders, this approach will have to be a patient one, a relational one, and one which has an ample supply of “Jesus Justice” addressing their very real everyday needs.
Are there any guarantees that this outreach to Spain will succeed?
We have not heard the question asked exactly like that but that is the gist of many questions about the viability of a coffeehouse outreach to Spanish students.
The prospects of reaching Spanish students for Christ appear to be bleak. We nevertheless believe that God has called us to be a small part of the spiritual “Reconquista” of Spain via the hearts of the future leaders of that country who are studying at the University of Málaga.
We could easily be led to believe that we do not have the capacity, resources or abilities to accomplish a task of this magnitude.
Luckily, the answer does not lie within us. The current Christ Center ministry was built on the faith and prayers of a small band of women who had special “access” to God’s favor because of their humility and bold prayers.
Walter Wink (The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium) wrote: “History belongs to the intercessors who believe the future into being.”
About intercessory prayer he writes: “This is the politics of hope. Hope envisages its future and then acts as if that future is now irresistible, thus helping to create the reality for which it longs.”
He adds the following words: “Intercessory prayer is spiritual defiance of what is in the way of what God has promised.”
So we meet this challenge through prayerful petitions and hopeful faith that God is powerful to accomplish for His glory that which we can not.
Why the name “Four Winds Coffee and Tea?”
The Christ Center exists primarily for the salvation of, and spiritual growth among students. They are our hope for the future.
The common perspective today is that young people are materialistic and absorbed with self. It is also commonly accepted that the knowledge of the Christian faith is fading with each passing generation. This may well be true.
When we considered a name for the coffee house, we searched the Bible for a picture of God’s power to resurrect a fallen nation or group. We found it in Ezekiel 37 – the vision of the valley of dry bones being resurrected by God and turned into a mighty army.
Ezekiel 37:9, 10: “Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.'” So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.”
It is our hope that we will be able to be a part of a spiritual resurrection of this generation. The name “Four Winds” reminds us of God’s power to do it.
How are you going to staff this outreach?
We plan to staff the new ministry with two full-time and long-term staff members raising their own support. They will be assisted by three medium term American volunteers working at the Cuatro Vientos while earning CMU credits, becoming fluent in Spanish and immersing themselves in the Spanish culture.
We plan to use four permanent Spanish employees, creating both local jobs and a culturally mixed work team.
This model allows our American staff to become integrated with Spanish staff, developing relationships, building trust and “living” their faith. This staffing model will also make it possible for the ministry to become financially self-sufficient in a short period of time.
What Level of Fundraising is Required?
With the assistance of the Business School at CMU we are developing a business plan for the Málaga coffee shop.
We have undertaken three fact finding missions to Málaga.
Based on information accumulated over the last four years, we project that the funding goals for the new Málaga outreach will be:
- Purchase of existing coffee shop $ 490,000
- Purchase of residential unit for volunteers $ 260,000
- Development and legal costs $ 35,000
- Remodeling of facilities $ 20,000
- Start-up and initial operating cost $ 50,000
- Tithing to Grand Junction ministry $ 100,000