In 1985, Manny and Glenda Fernandez moved to Spain to plant a church in Madrid. Spain was even more spiritually closed at the time than it is today. At that time, Spain’s population was about 40 million (now 47 million) with less than .4% of the population being evangelical Christians — fewer than 200,000 believers! Churches that were decades old had attendances of between 85-100 people. Unfortunately, those numbers have not materially improved.
It wasn’t long before they realized that if they were to simply focus on one church, the impact would only be felt by few. The need to train others who will plant churches became clear. To that end, World Link Ministries (WLM) was founded in 1991 to be a mission-based, spirit-led organization dedicated to training and deploying pastors to spread the Gospel to reach their home countries and regions with the Gospel message.
In 1993, WLM launched SEFOVAN (Spanish acronym for European Seminary of Theological Formation and Evangelization). Beginning with a handful of students, SEFOVAN has now grown to be the largest Christian evangelical seminary in Spain, providing a 4 year degree program which was designed under the guidance of Dr. Roy Zuck of Dallas Theological Seminary. We have a relationship with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, which provides our graduates the opportunity for advanced training.
We have assembled an excellent group of dedicated, talented professors. Under their tutelage, SEFOVAN has graduated over 2,500 students to date, with 150 students currently enrolled full time in our 4 year program. SEFOVAN offers daytime classes, Saturday classes, and remote (Zoom) classes to accommodate students’ needs no matter individual job, family, and location factors. Our students are from all backgrounds—unchurched families, former addiction issues, broken homes, sons and daughters of pastors. We often have married couples in the program who will become a future pastoral team.
After careful screening, admitted students are provided scholarships for the cost of tuition and study materials. Each student is expected to adopt an evangelistic way of life and is required to share the Good News with at least 4 people each week. As church planting will be at the core of their future ministry work, each student must plant at least one church by his/her senior year. We have some students that have planted as many as 43 churches during their time at SEFOVAN!
This last year, SEFOVAN sponsored programs resulting in over seven tons of food being delivered to the needy. In the summer we hold weeklong vacation Bible school for children. SEFOVAN’s staff presents a weekly hour-long radio broadcast about the gospel called “Horizon” which allows us yet another means to reach out to thousands of people hungry for the gospel message. This broadcast has a call-in feature which provides wonderful opportunities for our staff to address specific needs and prayer requests. We also have a prison ministry where we reach visit prisoners each Wednesday to minister to their needs, and we also conduct summer evangelistic campaigns in various European locations.
SEFOVAN has proven to be an invaluable platform for training future leaders to reach the lost. The enthusiasm of our students is not only inspiring, it is infectious. Their energy and zeal to serve the Lord know no bounds. SEFOVAN is literally a launching pad—its work has resulted in graduates serving in countries throughout the globe.
We currently rent space in Madrid for all SEFOVAN activities. We have the computers/technology and the necessary library materials, but we don’t have the proper space for either of those needs. We seek to find a permanent home for SEFOVAN to expand its amazing impact. Please consider how our Lord wants us to reach the nations with the gospel with well-trained leaders, and how you may build an eternal legacy as being part of this great vision.
Please pray for our students, future students and our outstanding staff. Also, please consider how you might help to provide scholarships, teaching materials, and participate in funding a future permanent home for SEFOVAN with the facilities needed to enhance its work.