A Pastor Who Looks Like Us

A Spanish pastor’s godly lifestyle speaks volumes to a community skeptical of the church.

From Message magazine issue "'I Will Build My Church'"

“How can that man be a pastor?” Isabel asked in amazement.

“He looks like just a normal guy!”

Isabel sat beside ABWE missionary Rosalie Duryee, overlooking the soccer field where their sons’ team practiced.

Like many Spaniards of her generation, Isabel had been raised as a cultural Catholic but came to see the Church as irrelevant. She was intrigued to hear that Rosalie and her husband Chris served as evangelical church planters. She was even more fascinated by the Spanish pastor they assisted: Live Global partner Miguel Ángel Pozo.

“I know him! His daughter is in my son’s class, and I see him at school pickup,” Isabel exclaimed. “But he doesn’t look like a pastor.”

Rosalie explained how this outgoing family man, who wore t-shirts rather than a clerical collar, qualified for church leadership. Miguel Ángel had been recruited in seminary by ABWE missionary Rich Brown to serve in a church plant. Rich mentored and discipled Miguel Ángel, and in September 2021, installed him as lead pastor. Of greater importance than his training, Miguel Ángel met the biblical qualifications for a pastor: he was a man of integrity, self-controlled, respectful, hospitable, mature in his faith, able to teach, and leading his family well.

Isabel, who had been mistreated as a young girl by her Catholic school teachers, was struck by these high standards and resonated with them.

Traditionally, in Spain, the priesthood served as the social barometer in a community. The lifestyle of clergymen can speak volumes. So after that conversation on the sidelines, Isabel continued observing Miguel Ángel’s life.

“Many Spaniards still watch priests as religious leaders, but now they watch them with disdain and skepticism. Many have lost respect in the community,” Rosalie explained. “But an evangelical Spanish pastor can earn that respect by demonstrating holy character. So having an evangelical pastor in the community is a really important witness.”

The need for pastors is critical. According to research firm Decision, 92 percent of Spanish towns—representing over 10 million people—have no evangelical church.

“We praise God for pastors like Miguel Ángel and long for more like him,” Rosalie continued. “People like Isabel are watching, slowly becoming more open as they see the gospel lived out by godly leaders.”

Pray for Isabel and Spaniards like her to be drawn to Christ through the witness and conduct of more godly pastors like Miguel Ángel.

Editor’s Note: Isabel’s name has been changed for privacy.