Holland is Director of the Latin American Socio-Religious Studies Program (known as PROLADES in Spanish, founded in 1977), with headquarters in San Jose, Costa Rica.  Born in Little Rock, AR, and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Holland, a Presbyterian, has served as a lay missionary in Costa Rica with the non-denominational Latin America Mission (Miami, FL) and IDEA Ministries (Santa Cruz, CA) since 1972. He founded and served as the first director of the Missiological Institute of the Americas (1982), which has since become the Evangelical University of the Americas (UNELA, 1995), where he currently teaches Social Sciences and Religious Studies in Costa Rica and in UNELA extension programs in other countries.

While completing his M.A. program in Missiology (Cultural Anthropology Emphasis) at the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA) in 1969-1971, Holland conducted fieldwork on the Hispanic communities in Southern California and wrote The Religious Dimension in Hispanic Los Angeles: A Protestant Case Study (William Carey Library, 1974). He returned to Fuller Seminary in 1980-1981 for doctoral studies in Missiology (Historical Development of Christianity Emphasis) and wrote his dissertation on "The History of the Protestant Movement in Central America, 1750-1980" (unpublished).  He also studied and taught at the Latin American Biblical Seminary in Costa Rica during the 1970s.

Since 1969 Holland has done fieldwork on the Protestant Movement and New Religious Movements in 20 countries of the Americas, as well as on Hispanic Protestant churches in the USA (1969-1971, 1980-1981 and 1992-1993) and on all ethnic and religious groups in the Los Angeles 5-county region of Southern California (1990-1995).  From 1986 to 1995, Holland served as the chief technical advisor for a major study of the Protestant Movement in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area that was coordinated by VELA Ministries (six volumes of information were published).

Since January 1995 Holland also has been editor of the monthly news journal, MESOAMERICA, published in Costa Rica by the Institute for Central American Studies (ICAS).  In 2000, he began to create and develop the Religion-In-The-Americas (RITA) Database Project (, which now includes information about all known religious groups (Christian and non-Christian) in 50 countries of the Americas plus Spain and Portugal.  In 2001, Holland received an Honorary Doctorate in the Science of Religion from the Evangelical University of the Americas (UNELA) in San Josť, Costa Rica.

Holland has authored and edited dozens of research papers, directories, magazine and encyclopedia articles, and several books, including World Christianity:  Central America and the Caribbean (Monrovia, CA: MARC-World Vision, 1981) and those mentioned above.  He has also translated and edited dozens of articles and book manuscripts for a variety of international organizations, including the International Cooperative Alliance and the Global Water Partnership.  Holland was one of the major contributors to Religions of the World:  A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio Publishers, 2002) and served as an area editor for Latin America.  During 2003, he wrote a series of articles for the Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices, published in 2004 by The Gale Group (Farmington Hills, Michigan).

Currently, Holland is a member of the International Editorial Board for the 2nd edition of Religions of the World:  A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, to be published by ABC-Clio in 2010.  He contributed over 35 articles for this publication for which he was an area editor for Latin America the Caribbean regions.

Last updated on 1 October 2009.