EDITORS’ NOTE: This year’s Week of Prayer for International Missions, Dec. 4-11, focused on eight strategy coordinator missionaries and a church serving as a strategy coordinator, exemplifying the global outreach supported by Southern Baptists’ gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Today’s story concludes the series. Strategy-coordinator missionaries play a key role in reaching the whole world with the Gospel, focusing on people groups and cities by studying cultures, learning languages and developing master plans for reaching every individual with the Gospel.
MADRID, Spain (BP)–The playground’s dust scatters beneath children’s scampering feet as they race for the slide. Mothers stand nearby to monitor the raucous playing, their heads covered with a traditional Muslim scarf. A few loose dogs skid to a stop as they pounce on a ball thrown by their owner. Children’s laughter mingles with chirping birds and chatting parents to create a buzz at the neighborhood playground.
Daniel Peters* strolls among the people in this park, observing their nationalities, listening to their conversations and praying about their needs.
“Anytime I go anywhere, I’m constantly looking and thinking, ‘What are their needs and how can I help meet them?'” Peters says.
Peters is the city strategist for Madrid. His task is to ensure that every people group in the city has a chance to hear the Gospel. Part of his assignment is to aid International Mission Board workers and Great Commission Christians in the city who lead teams focused on particular segments of the city’s 6 million people.
“Professionally, I see myself as someone trying to develop new leaders both within and without our organization,” Peters says. “If I’m able to develop church planters from the North American Mission Board, IMB or Latin America, I feel like I’m doing my job.”
Each week, Peters mentors a leader from one of the three teams he oversees: the university student ministry team, Latin American mobilization team and immigrant and refugee team. He helps them develop a prayer strategy, study the culture and beliefs, and create a plan for getting the Gospel to their people group. He also meets every week with a Spanish friend who is not a believer.
“Everything that happens in Madrid happens over a cup of coffee,” Peters jokes.
He also regularly meets with other Great Commission Christians to discuss strategies for evangelism and starting churches. They talk about outreach events that work and methods that failed. They also discuss ways to turn one house church into two churches that could duplicate into four.
“It’s important to remember it’s hard to multiply by one or zero,” Peters says. “We need to see many groups of churches start to plant other churches. It may look slower in the beginning because we have to add churches before they start multiplying.”
Peters and his wife, Teresa*, have served in Madrid since 2001. He worked as a church planter in Tennessee, Georgia and Texas with the North American Mission Board before they were appointed to serve as church planters in Madrid. He eventually became city strategist as well as leading a team focused on taking the Gospel to Madrid’s professionals. More than 1 million professionals live in Madrid — nearly 20 percent of the population — and fewer than one-half percent of them are believers.
“One large challenge here is not that people do not know about God,” Peters says. “They are culturally religious people. They have many beautiful church buildings and Christian religious festivals.
“However, I see millions of people here who often think religion and ritual are enough; I want them to experience that the only way to the Father is through a relationship with Jesus.”
*Names changed for security reasons.