Abstract: This article focuses on networks of South-American preachers, led by charismatic characters such as the Argentinean pastor Carlos Annacondia, who export themselves not only to countries within the Americas but also to Europe. The prevailing justification among Latin-American Evangelicals for undertaking this ‘reverse mission’ (Freston) is in the view that especially the ‘old’ Roman Catholic Europe is spiritually ‘cooled down’ and that the time is ripe for re-evangelizing it. This study analyzes the way in which network-based charismatic entrepreneurship has encouraged transnational imaginaries of re-conquering Europe spiritually, more specifically in terms of the meanings the members of these networks attribute to the ‘spiritual re-conquest’. I conclude by suggesting that, similar to flows from other regions in the global South, such as Africa, the much vaunted ‘reverse mission’ to Europe is vested with meanings that transcend the spiritual re-conquest as such. In the case of Latin America, this article argues, the chief motivation is symbolic: to strengthen the status of local churches and their leaders against the backdrop of a highly competitive religious market on the Latin-American sub-continent.
Abstract: Researchers usually address the political aspect of Evangelical groups by highlighting their involvement in party politics: their ability to create new organisations or form alliances with existing ones, introducing into the electoral field the assumption of a more or less homogeneous or easily influenced ‘Christian vote’. However, historical experience in Argentina shows that launching into politics is full of obstacles. Some of the most important innovations introduced by Neo-Pentecostalism – as the fastest-growing expression of the Evangelical world – are linked to the consolidation of megachurches in middle- and high-class neighbourhoods and the training of Evangelical leaders on a large scale. Both these innovations develop in correlation with a shift of the Gospel towards the ‘world’ and the need for social change; that is, a Christian call to transform the environment. This article aims to explore the political implications of Evangelical leadership in megachurches located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This work is based on original materials, compiled for a research project using ethnographic techniques such as participant observation, in-depth interviews and documentation review.