Missions with Spanish and Portuguese Accents

More than twenty years ago, I was given the opportunity to be a part of a delegation of North American observers to a historic interdenominational missions congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

It was called by the Spanish and Portuguese acronym, “COMIBAM ‘87” (“Comibam” meaning “Congreso Misionero Ibero-Americano” or the “Ibero-American Missions Congress”). More than three thousand participants from the wider world of “Ibero-America,” including all of the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries of the Americas, as well as the colonial “mother” countries of Spain and Portugal, came together.

Looking back and looking around, we can thank God for what was “then” (1987) and what is “now” (2008). These following seven areas of our Ibero-American world evangelization partners hold great potential for what “will be” in the years to come:


Then (1987) 

Now (2008)

Personnel  limited full-time missionary personnel  a growing percentage of missionaries from Ibero-America 
Pioneers mission to unreached people groups was a dream for most  dedicated personnel opening up and remaining in “restricted access” nations and among unreached people groups 
Parishes  some local churches involved in world missions an explosion of supporting congregations who are praying, giving, and going into world missions
Partners  around sixty Ibero-American sending organizations, with around 1,600 cross-cultural missionaries  more than four hundred sending organizations and ten thousand missionaries 
Publications  few Spanish and Portuguese-language missions resources  a proliferation of printed and electronic missions training resources. In my own denomination, we have just mailed my own www.Creyenteglobal.com (the Spanish version of my www.Globalbeliever.com) to over 1,200 pastors and local congregations in the US and Puerto Rico alone. 
Professors (Trainers)/Promoters  only a handful of trained missions teachers/mobilizers  a wider array of Hispanic/Latino missions veterans with professional training in missiology and intercultural ministry 
Prayer/Missionary Passion  mainly focused on evangelism in Hispanic/Latino culture  a “white hot” missionary fervor for “the ends of the earth”  

As a teenager, I had my first short-term missions experience into the heart of Mexico. Now, after scores of missions experiences across Ibero-America, including my own missionary leadership in Spain and Portugal, I can say that “missions with Spanish and Portuguese accents” will be one of the defining trends in the future of world missions. Additional trends and information can be found at such sites as: www.comibam.org and www.comhina.org.

Dr. Grant McClung, president of Missions Resource Group, is a member of the U.S. Lausanne Advisory Committee and missiological advisor to the World Mission Commission of the Pentecostal World Fellowship.