Ed Stetzer Interviews João Mordomo on the Gospel, the Church in Brazil, and Business as Mission

Last week, we launched a new column called The Lausanne Link. It was less than a year ago that I took on the role of Regional Director for North America for Lausanne International. We will of course be sharing what’s going on with Lausanne North America (check out our website to stay up to date on that as well), but the more I have gotten to know many connected with Lausanne International, the more I’ve appreciate the great history and continued gospel passion the network possesses. So we are launching a new column where you will meet some of the key Lausanne players and hear what God is up to globally.
Today, I’m glad to welcome João Mordomo, Co-Founder and Sr. Vice President of Crossover (CCI) Global, to The Exchange. He also serves as Catalyst (Senior Associate) for Business as Mission for the Lausanne Movement and Co-Chair of BAM Global.

Ed: How long have you been involved in Lausanne International and what is your current role?

JoãoIn 2003, Mats Tunehag invited me to participate in the brand new “Business as Mission” issue group leading up to the 2004 Lausanne Forum in Thailand. One of the main outcomes of that process and Forum was the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission.

The issue network itself began to gain significant traction after the Forum, and Mats served as the Senior Associate (now called Catalyst) for BAM for many years. In 2011, Mats invited me to join the leadership and planning team for a global BAM Congress in 2013, also in Thailand. The damage was done (i.e. BAM had me whether it wanted me or not!) and I was invited by Lausanne to join Mats as a co-Catalyst, a role I assumed officially in 2016. Jo Plummer had been instrumental in the growing BAM movement since the early 2000s and also joined as co-Catalyst in 2016. She and I continue in these roles today.

Ed: Tell me about your current roll and what you do.

JoãoAs a co-catalyst for BAM, I have the great joy and privilege of providing service and leadership to a growing global BAM movement that gathers, encourages, and trains BAM practitioners through thematic, regional, and global events.

Additionally, we seek to discover BAM best practices through research and reporting, as well as develop and share new resources. We now have nearly 30 reports on themes related to BAM (e.g. “BAM Incubation,” “BAM In and From China,” “BAM and Mission Agencies,” etc.) and wealth creation for holistic transformation (e.g., “Wealth Creation and the Poor,” “Wealth Creation and the Stewardship of Creation,” “Wealth Creation: Biblical Views and Perspectives,” etc.). They all can be accessed free of charge at www.bamglobal.org.

Ed: Tell me about the gospel and the church in your part of the world.

JoãoLike most catalysts, I am based in one location, but often find myself not there! I live in the south of Brazil in a beautiful, temperate region, with my amazing wife and two kids, so I only leave when I have to. That means I get to hang around enough to observe what’s happening with respect to the church and gospel in Brazil and, in all honestly, it’s a mixed bag.

In 1970, less than 5% of Brazilians were evangelicals. Today, according to the Brazilian census bureau (IBGE), it’s around 25%. Admittedly, their definition of “evangelical” includes marginal groups, but the figure still represents phenomenal church growth over recent decades. This quick growth of traditional denominations and, even more so, of Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal groups has come at a price. The church has grown wide, but, in most cases, not deep.

A weak theological foundation has left many evangelicals susceptible to prosperity theology. In fact, many traditional churches flirt with prosperity theology as well. I suppose this isn’t surprising in light of the challenges related to poverty and inequality, and the economic and political uncertainties Brazil seems to face perpetually.

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SOURCE: Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer