About the Center for the Study of Global Christianity

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity collates and analyzes data on church membership and Christian activities collected around the world by denominations. Combining this with other relevant data, the Center provides a reliable view of global Christianity available to various constituents for research and strategic planning.
 

Faculty and Staff

Todd M. JohnsonTodd M. Johnson, PhD, Director

Todd M. Johnson is Associate Professor of Global Christianity and Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Johnson is visiting Research Fellow at Boston University’s Institute for Culture, Religion and World Affairs leading a research project on international religious demography. He is co-editor of the Atlas of Global Christianity (Edinburgh University Press) and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed.) and World Christian Trends (William Carey Library). He is editor of the World Christian Database (Brill) and co-editor of the World Religion Database (Brill).

Gina BellofattoGina A. Zurlo, MA, Assistant Director

Gina A. Zurlo is Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity and a PhD student at Boston University. Her studies focus on international religious demography, world Christianity, and the history of religious demography and American sociology. She is also a Research Associate at Boston University’s Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs, specializing in Jewish demography. She was the Senior Editorial Assistant on the Atlas of Global Christianity (Edinburgh University Press, 2009) and her demographic research contributes to the World Christian Database (Brill, 2007) and World Religion Database (Brill, 2008).

Albert W. HickmanAlbert W. Hickman, MS, MA, Senior Research Associate

Albert (Bert) Hickman is a research associate in Global Christianity at the Center for the Study of Global Christianity and an associate editor of the Atlas of Global Christianity. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, he also interned at the Center while a student. Before coming to New England he worked in engineering and environmental health in Texas. Being able to use his research and writing skills in a setting that benefits the Church and advances the gospel is a great joy to him.

Peter F. CrossingPeter F. Crossing, Data Analyst

Peter F. Crossing's background as a professional forester in Australia has proven useful when when re-applied to the task of tracking disciples of Jesus Christ in all nations. He has a Diploma of Theology (Missiology) from the Australian College of Theology at WEC's Missionary Training College and has gained further computer mapping and database expertise through work at the Sydney Centre for World Mission, the National Church Life Survey, and Mapinfo Australia. These positions led to a role as data analyst for the World Christian Database, from which came the World Christian Encyclopedia, World Christian Trends and now the Atlas of Global Christianity. He is married with two daughters and a son and lives near Sydney, telecommuting daily to Boston's Center for the Study of Global Christianity.
 

Bradley A. CoonBradley A. Coon, Research Associate

Bradley A. Coon is a research associate at the Center for the Study of Global Christianity and was the Information Designer for the Atlas of Global Christianity. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Religion and a Doctor of Ministry in Global Christianity and World Evangelization at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He works in the seminary's stewardship office as a Special Grant and Advancement Systems Manager. He lives with his wife in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
 

Christopher R. Guidry

Christopher R. Guidry, Research Associate

A graduate of the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, immersed in print production experience at Last Days Ministries (LDM), and secunded from Youth With A Mission (YWAM), Christopher R. Guidry started in a 3-month position scanning images for Dr. Johnson and Dr. Barrett in the fall of 1996 for the World Christian Encyclopedia. Over the next six years, Chris migrated into page layout, print production, and other technical aspects of developing such data-heavy works. Highlights of his time include service as the associate editor of World Christian Trends, page layout for the Atlas of Global Christianity, and production assistance on various other publications. Chris, his wife, Jeanine, and their three dogs live in Richmond, Virginia.
 

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History

Acknowledged as one of the world’s most definitive sources of empirical information on Christianity, the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary serves as a resource for faculty, students, alumni, visiting religion scholars, church leaders, missiologists and journalists. Interdisciplinary in nature, the CSGC integrates religion, history, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, missiology, demography and other disciplines in the study of global Christianity.

David B. Barrett

The origins of CSGC lie in the work of the Rev. Dr. David B. Barrett, an Anglican missionary who arrived in Kenya in 1957 to conduct a field survey of church affiliations in that country. Barrett’s work expanded to encompass religious affiliation of all kinds, throughout Africa and eventually worldwide. In the process, he established the World Evangelization Research Center (WERC) in Nairobi in 1965.

One product of Barrett’s research was the World Christian Encyclopedia (WCE), the first edition of which was over ten years in the making. Published in 1982 and containing information on some 22,000 Christian denominations worldwide, the WCE was hailed as a vital resource.

In Memoriam: David Barrett

Virginia and the Global Evangelization Movement

At the invitation of the Southern Baptist Foreign (now International) Mission Board, Barrett and WERC moved to Richmond, Virginia, in 1985. Led by a desire to maintain his independence as a researcher, Barrett established the Global Evangelization Movement (GEM), of which WERC became a part.  Meanwhile in 1989, Todd Johnson, a missionary researcher and doctoral candidate, had joined WERC and would serve as both a co-author for a second edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia and director of WERC.

Following the publication of the second edition of the WCE and its companion volume World Christian Trends (WCT) in 2001, the Rev. Richard Haney (a Richmond pastor and GEM board member) sensed that WERC’s mission might be accomplished more effectively as part of an academic institution. Haney’s friendship with the Rev. Doug Birdsall, director of the seminary’s J Christy Wilson Jr Center for World Missions, set in motion the events leading to the creation of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.

The Current Status of the CSGC

Dr. Johnson moved to the Gordon-Conwell campus in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, in 2003 as director of the new CSGC. (Although the intent at the time was for Dr. Barrett to follow some months later, he continued to work from Richmond.) This same period saw the launch of the World Christian Database (WCD), an online collection of the data from the WCE and WCT. Information in the WCD is updated on an ongoing basis, and updates are published four times per year. To complement the WCD, the CSGC subsequently launched the World Religion Database in partnership with Boston University. More recently, the December 2009 publication of the Atlas of Global Christianity, which documents the shift of Christianity from the North to the Global South over the 20th century, has been greeted with enthusiasm by scholars and Christian leaders from around the world.
 

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Center for the Study of Global Christianity
130 Essex St. | South Hamilton, MA 01982
Phone: 978-468-2750 | Fax: 978-468-1549 | info@globalchristianity.org