Study of Global Christianity

The Study of Global Christianity issue network1 collates and analyzes the massive amount of data on church membership and evangelistic activities collected by 45,000 Christian denominations in 234 countries. This analysis is put in the context of other religions and demographic data to provide an authoritative view of global Christianity and its worldwide mission. What follows are some of the current projects from our centers and organizations:

Christianity in its Global Context, 1970–2020. This 80-page report provides current data on Christianity in its various religious and social contexts around the world: past, present, and future. A summary of key findings was published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research in July 2013.

Lausanne and World Evangelical Alliance projects

  • Lausanne Global Analysis. We are working with a small team to produce timely analyses on progress related to The Cape Town Commitment.
  • Lausanne Global Researchers Network. We are assisting in planning the next meeting in May 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Evangelicals Around the World: A Global Handbook for the 21st Century (Nelson, 2015). We are contributing articles and oversight for this handbook to be published in 2015 before the next World Evangelical Alliance assembly.

Communications on global Christianity and global mission

  • Create International aims to communicate the gospel to unreached people groups in a way it can be culturally understood and widely distributed. Create International also trains missionaries and mobilizes the global church to engage in missions using videos that present global statistics and stories from the field. A current project, the video pack Engage (in English and soon available to Brazilian churches in Portuguese), is designed to inform and motivate a new generation to participate in the world of missions.
  • The Operation World team continues its commitment to research that inspires prayer, and prayer that inspires action. The team is working on a simplified English version of the latest edition of Operation World (primarily for non-native English speakers and for translation), and hopes to also produce another children’s edition.
  • The Center of the Study of Global Christianity has links to a large number of past and current publications and citations at its website, www.globalchristianity.org.
  • In partnership with the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University, we have published two books on counting religionists around the world: The World’s Religions in Figures: An Introduction to International Religious Demography (Johnson and Grim; Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) and Yearbook of International Religious Demography 2014 (Grim, Johnson, Skirbekk, and Zurlo; Brill, 2014), the first in a series of annual yearbooks.

In the future, our organizations hope to produce a 3rd edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia (Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary), the 8th edition of Operation World, and dozens of new media and research products (Create International, SEPAL) presenting the status of global Christianity and world evangelization while mobilizing Christians for informed prayer and mission.

Endnotes

1 Todd Johnson, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, MA, USA
Gina Zurlo, Boston University School of Theology, Boston, MA, USA
Molly Wall, Operation World, UK
Ludmila Ghil, Create International, SEPAL, Brazil

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