Check out these Frequently Asked Questions
It’s hard to nail down a typical day, since our participants serve in different churches and local ministries with varied needs and schedules. Each participant is expected to contribute 20+ hours of service to their ministry placement through formal ministry events or informal opportunities (coffee, tapas, hiking, etc.). Spain is very relational so ministry must balance the formal and informal opportunities. On top of these ministry hours, all participants share the following weekly rhythms:
Sunday: Worship at assigned church and time with Spanish family and friends
Monday: Weekly fellowship meeting with our multicultural sponsoring team, SEPAL
Tuesday – Saturday: Spanish language and culture classes, serve in ministries, relational ministry (intentional time with people), participate in youth group or ministry studies
Thursday: Weekly Avance fellowship and training in the mornings
Friday: Day of rest (this may vary due to Spanish class schedule and ministry schedules)
Each placement will be different depending on the needs of the church you’re placed in. As an interdenominational organization we partner with a wide variety of evangelical churches with different styles and forms of worship. We attempt to place you within a congregation that you will be comfortable in spiritually and doctrinally, while also challenged to learn from serving the church in a different context.
We interview families who are a part of the churches that Avance works with and go through a process to make sure they are suitable hosts for our participants. We seek families who are involved with the church, and in some cases, the pastor’s family may host our participants. Furthermore, when possible, we aim to place female participants with families who have daughters and males with families who have sons.
In Spain it is not always easy to find a willing host family. In this case we will look for placement with local Christian college students or other young Spanish adults. We value an intergenerational placement for the breadth of learning and exposure to the culture.
Avance España only requires three months of living with a host family, though we strongly recommend six months. After three months we will work out a plan with the apprentice as to an appropriate living situation based on the goals of the program and needs of the apprentice.
We place our apprentices so that they can serve our local partner ministries led by local leaders. What one apprentice does may vary to another. We hope to match gifts and desires of the apprentice with the needs and vision of the ministry. In most cases apprentices will serve a local church and is likely to dedicate some hours to a secondary partner ministry and/or get involved in a relational ministry that might be: a sports group, music group, local gym, etc. One of our apprentices got to know people at a dance class and another while taking Flamenco guitar lessons.
Although it is important to speak the language to be able to communicate with the locals, it’s ok if you do not know Spanish before coming to Avance, however it is recommended that you come with a B1 level (low intermediate) of speaking Spanish. During the course of the year, we expect our participants to improve 2 levels and be speaking at a C1 level. All participants will be placed in classes according to their level. We expect our participants to dedicate themselves to learning the language and ministering within the language.
We work with a local language school in an urban neighborhood called Learn Spanish Away, run by a Spanish church leader. He has designed language and culture courses tailored for missionaries in the Spanish context. In this way, classes provide you with unique language and contextual awareness for ministry not found in other language schools in Granada. Classes are usually private or small, depending on and tailored towards the learning needs of the participant.
Salary is based on a similar salary of a full-time Spanish Christian worker. As an apprenticeship program, we have a fee that covers materials, visits, events, and conferences. Finally, since Spain is such a relational place, and discipleship is so relational, we require ample ministry funds to be able to invite people out for a coffee or small food (yummy tapas!!!), deepening face-time. Also, since language acquisition is a requirement, ministry funds cover language school fees.
SEPAL España director, Jesús Londoño, calls Spain a pioneering field. With less than 1% of the population of Protestant Evangelicals, there is much work to be done with little resources. It is the perfect field to come in organically and lend a hand to participate in what God is doing in mostly grassroots ministries. We have heard that it takes, on average, about 10 years for a Spaniard without much of a faithful background to acknowledge Christ. In these ten years, one common denominator is having evangelical friends throughout. Might you be one of these friends for a year or two? Ministry is relational and requires a lot of face-time. This means times of sharing coffee or tapas asking about life and sharing yours.