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. 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 Senior Research Associate 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. At the Center he focuses on collecting and analyzing denominational statistics for the World Christian Database. He also serves as a liaison to groups such as Finishing the Task and the International Society for Urban Missiology.

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, MA, 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 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.
 

Uchenna Anyanwu, B.Sc., M.Sc., Research Assistant

Uchenna holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Building and a Master of Science in Structural Engineering, from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. He is currently studying at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, working to obtain the Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in World Missions and Evangelism (Islamic Studies) degree. Uchenna is from Nigeria and has served in cross-cultural contexts in both Senegal and North Africa for about 13 years. He is a student worker at the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, where he serves as a Research Assistant. Uchenna and his spouse, Dolapo, live in South Hamilton Massachusetts with their two teenage sons.

Mercury Li, Research Assistant

Mercury graduated from a medical school in mainland China. She is pursuing her Master of Divinity and M.A. in Counseling at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Mercury is working as the research assistant at the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, researching Christian denominations around the world. She lives with her husband in Ipswich, where they both serve at a local church. 

 

Center Affiliates

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.

 

Kenneth R. Ross, PhD, Research Associate

Kenneth R. Ross serves as parish minister at Netherlorn in Argyll, Scotland, chairs the Scotland Malawi Partnership and is an Honorary Fellow at the Edinburgh University School of Divinity. He has earlier served as Professor of Theology at the University of Malawi and as General Secretary of the Church of Scotland Board of World Mission. He co-edited the Atlas of Global Christianity (Edinburgh University Press, 2009). His recent publications include Malawi and Scotland: Together in the Talking Place since 1859 (Mzuni Press, 2013) and Roots and Fruits: Retrieving Scotland’s Missionary Story (Regnum, 2014). His work with the Center is focused on co-editing the “Edinburgh Companions to Global Christianity” – a series of books being prepared for publication with Edinburgh University Press.

Michael Jaffarian, Research Associate
Michael and Dawna Jaffarian have been missionaries with WorldVenture since 1983, serving in India, Singapore, Virginia, and England. Michael served as Executive Director of the Singapore Centre for Global Mission and later as Senior Research Associate with Operation World. He served as an Editorial Associate for the second edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia and has now returned to the team as an Associate Editor for the third edition. He is also a Mission Associate with the World Evangelical Alliance and Associate Editor of the North American Mission Handbook. Michael and Dawna now live in and work from their home state of Oregon, where their son Calvin also lives; their daughter Jasmine lives in Texas.
 

Cindy Wu, MA, Research Associate

Cindy M. Wu holds an M.A. in Religion from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, with a concentration in World Missions and Global Christianity. She co-authored Our Global Families: Christians Embracing a Common Identity in a Changing World with Todd M. Johnson (February 2015). She lives in Houston, TX, where she works in educational administration and as a freelance writer for a spiritual transformation ministry. She is also involved in creative social justice advocacy in the Houston community. 

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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