Whereas the Catholic bishops have only recently proclaimed themselves committed to a "new evangelization" of the continent, the evangelical churches of the region have been conducting enormously successful evangelization programs for decades. Throughout the past twenty years, evangelical churches and members have been increasing rapidly, and their rates of increase show no sign of slowing. Data collected between 1967 and 1980 in Venezuela suggest that adherents of the evangelical movement in that country increased from some 47,000 to 500,000 members over that thirteen-year period. 1 Although no data are available, the evangelical community is believed to have grown even faster since the 1980s. By far the fastest-growing portion of the evangelical community is converts to Pentecostal churches. The notably increased social presence of the evangelical movement in Venezuela may be gauged by the increasing role of evangelicals in politics and the increasingly bold plans and projections produced by local evangelical umbrella organizations. 2 Venezuelan evangelical churches grew out of British and North American mission efforts dating back to the end of the nineteenth century, but the great majority of churches are now completely independent of the original missions and fully national in terms of their financial and personal resources. 3 They act independently within the local religious context and shape their future in terms of the constraints and possibilities of their local cultural and social backgrounds.