“It was the first time I realized that painting could capture the Word of God, speak into people’s lives and give me the opportunity to share my faith.”

Janice T. (Alliance & Short-term team member)


Every day all around the globe, artists on mission are creating, cultivating, and contributing in their communities. As they seek to see their art used in the work the Lord is doing, we want to share their stories to encourage and inspire.
This blog is a place to read those stories, giving you a glimpse into how the Lord is using the arts around the world.
Tuesday, 03 August 2021 22:34

An Interview with Colin Harbinson: Beginnings

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Recently, we had the chance to catch up with our dear friend, Colin Harbinson. Colin has been involved with OM for a number of years now, and he has some exciting endeavors going on. Colin is in the process of turning his beloved play, Toymaker and Son, into a children’s book. In honor of the publication of this beautiful story, we wanted to take some time to acquaint you with Colin and his lifetime of ministry.

Originally from London, England, Colin has partnered with ministries such as Operation Mobilization, Youth with a Mission (YWAM), Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Lausanne Movement, InterVarsity, the World Evangelical Alliance, and Belhaven University over a period of 55 years. In doing so, he has always championed the arts as a means through which God can open otherwise closed doors. His work in missions and academics has taken him all over the world as the Holy Spirit has moved in remarkable ways.

Colin first partnered with OM in 2007, when Bill Drake and G. Carson came to Belhaven University and asked him to visit OMUSA in Tyrone. While there, he was asked to speak in the weekly chapel service. He was then approached by Peter Maiden, who had heard the recording of his chapel talk, to give a keynote at OM’s International Leadership Meeting in 2008 in Germany. He agreed, and he spoke about the arts from a biblical perspective to the OM leaders. He challenged them to “create space for the arts,” casting the vision of the role OM could play in arts ministry if they were willing to take the plunge. Colin was thrilled by the overwhelming response he experienced from the OM leaders. This launched many more visits to Tyrone to meet with Bill and the leaders of the current arts ministries. It was just a year later (2009) that OM Arts (now Inspiro Arts Alliance) was founded.

For Colin, opportunities like this had not always been on the table. Growing up in England, he was a part of a body of believers that taught that the arts were worldly and provided no place for creative expression. When he went to university in 1965, he was introduced to Christian Rock and even learned to play the drums over the weekend when a fellow student asked him to fill in for the drummer in his rock band. Colin says, “God had placed creativity within me, but I’d never had the opportunity to explore it.”

Throughout his time at university, he continued to grow in his love and appreciation for the arts. He took a Music and Movement class, and though it was strange at first, found that this and other experiences allowed him to “express things he hadn’t been able to before.” He went on to teach, using the arts as he did so. In 1978, he founded his own dance company called Lord of the Dance.

He was serving as the acting headmaster of a public school when he was contacted by YWAM about coming on as the headmaster of their school. Initially, deterred by the daunting task of raising his own salary and living in community, he told them no. However, the Lord continued working on his heart, and a year later, he joined with the task of leading and developing the arts in missions. Being a part of YWAM allowed Colin and his wife, Maureen, to focus on global ministry, and, later, they felt particularly called to serve in Communist countries. The Lord opened the door for them to do just this, and the ministry He provided is truly awe-inspiring. Check back in a few days to learn more about Colin’s ministry in Russia, China, Bulgaria, and the Amazon!

Last modified on Wednesday, 25 August 2021 21:46