Luis Palau Campaign in Madrid
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Festi-Madrid, Luis Palau, June 25, 2005

Johnson Journal

   35,000 people filled up the plaza on Friday night, and about 39,000 on Saturday.  There were lots more people on the street across from the plaza, and others out on the balconies of their apartments listening.  5000 decision cards were filled out, 3000 indicating that a person accepted Christ as Lord.  As a counselor I was privileged to help lead Elijo to Christ, and I also worked behind a table attending many of the 2000 plus counselors with materials and answering questions. 
     Luis Palau wants to do campaigns differently.  He likes to take the event to the people, to a central part of a city, rather than inviting people to a stadium.  He wants to stop traffic, get the city's attention, and in fact a portion of busy Calle Alcalá was closed.  An artist called El Puma sang before Palau spoke, introduced Palau, and it was made clear that he would come back to sing after Palau.   To the secular guy out in the plaza, it has the appearance of a big party, he´s supposed to be attracted and want to stay around.  The audio and visual production is first rate, the music as good as what I've seen at many secular concerts (El Puma, Lole Montoya, Yuri). 
     There was over 3 hours of music before Palau even started talking, and he didn't give the invitation until midnight.   That's supposed to be a good hour for Madrileños, but I heard a lot of negative comments from the counselors.  The event is set up so that it appears the message is secondary to the concert, the party.  That's in appearance only, the gospel is clearly preached.  The organization, from the time the Palau people hit town months earlier, is set up to make the gospel message and it's follow up a priority.
     Palau wants to get into the press, and he was at least partially successful.  He made most of the major newspapers, and reviews were generally positive.  I picked up a copy of "El Mundo" today, and the title was "Todos a rezar and bailar en Las Ventas"  (Everybody praying and dancing in Las Ventas:  the plaza where it was held)  This translated excerpt gives you a pretty clear picture of the place of evangelicals in Spain:  "There are not many believers in the Evangelical Church of Spain (capital letters are theirs), but more than it would seem.  The majority of Spanish believers are gypsies that transmit their faith fervently from parents to their children.  South American immigrants have come to the event in mass.  This church is much more acceptable in Latin America."  Synopsis: real Spaniards are not evangelicals. 
     The collateral blessing of an event like this is very important: the training church members receive, the chance for churches to work together, the excitement generated, the motivation to evangelize, conversations that result.  After getting to bed at 3:00 AM Friday I didn't have energy to go to Festi-Madrid Saturday, so I got together with several neighbors today.  I was able to talk with each one about where I was and what I was doing last night.  Not one knew what was happening, who Luis Palau is, or the basic gospel message.  But they know more now.