Columbia Pastors Scout Madrid for Missions Opportunities

A five-member team of South Carolina Baptists has returned from a trip to Spain, where they explored ways that churches can partner with international missions workers there.

The 10-day venture in February — coordinated by Jamie Rogers, missions strategist for Columbia Metro Baptist Association, along with Tim Rice of SCBaptists’ Send Team — was in connection with an emerging partnership with Madrid.

“The trip,” Rice said, “was a combination of visioning, to talk with missions leaders, and seeing areas where mission teams are needed.

“We hope they (teams) will lead their churches to pray more earnestly for the missionaries in Spain,” Rice said. “We hope they will get connected with the missionaries and begin to exchange prayer requests. Then, ultimately, they will send mission teams to Spain.”

The group also included three Columbia-area pastors — Kenny Robertson, missions pastor at North Trenholm Baptist Church; Jakob Elliott, pastor of First Baptist Church, Kershaw; and Jonathan St. Clair, missions pastor at Riverland Hills Baptist Church.

Steve Marlin, the Madrid city leader with the International Mission Board’s European Affinity group, not only showed them his city, but he also took them to the towns of Avila, Toledo and Segovia. Rogers hopes future teams will be able to establish a church in at least one of the towns surrounding Madrid.

Rogers said this trip — the first since Columbia Metro established a five-year partnership last October — went “better than anticipated, and we had great expectations!”

“We were able to take in so many sights, meet so many awesome people, and learned even more about the need for the gospel among the people of western Europe,” he said, noting that about one in every 200 people encountered may know Jesus.

Columbia Metro has committed to send at least four short-term teams to Madrid the next five years, Rogers added.

“This trip was technically a vision trip, so we weren’t sure how many gospel-sharing opportunities we’d have,” he said, “but when you have evangelists on your trip, it’s not hard to find those, and God presented us with several.”

The team visited two fledgling congregations, and St. Clair, whose family served as missionaries in Spain for three years, spoke at one near a college campus.

“I was most surprised by just how international and culturally diverse Madrid is as a city,” observed Elliott, for whom this was his first international trip.

“During our time there, we met people from South America, North and West Africa, Asia, and all over Europe who had made Madrid their home,” Elliott said. “This certainly makes Madrid a strategic location for taking the gospel to the nations.”

Upcoming trips are slated for May 22-30 and Sept. 28-Oct. 12. For more details, contact CMBA at (803) 619-7110.