I’m fascinated by people who travel for purpose, not just for pleasure. One night, David Barrett realized his purpose. He says, “I woke up in the middle of the night and became convinced that Christ was present. I can’t explain it. I heard Christ say, ‘You ought to go to the ends of the world.'”
From there he spent the next 40 years single-handedly compiling the first and only complete list of Earth’s 10,000 existing religions and 33,830 denominations of Christianity. A mission which led him to all 238 countries around the world.
His life’s work was compiled into the 2600-page award-winning World Christian Encyclopedia and World Christian Trends, first published by Barrett in 1982 and revised in 2001 by Barrett, George Thomas Kurian, and Todd M. Johnson. The encyclopedia has since evolved into the World Christian Encyclopedia, an online tool run by Johnson.
The Rev. Dr. David B. Barrett received his B.A. in aeronautics from Cambridge University before beginning his career at Britain’s Royal Aircraft Establishment in 1948. He went on to receive his M.A. from Cambridge in 1952. At the RAE, he performed aircraft design and flight research until they reassigned him to missile and bomb design. At that point he left to train for the priesthood in the Church of England. He was ordained a deacon in 1954 and a priest in 1955, and was appointed as missionary through the Church Missionary Society in 1956. He passed away on August 4, 2011 in Richmond, Virginia at age 83 after a brief illness.