Envision a Future . . .

Envision a future . . .

What would it look like if the church were better at encouraging artists who are Christians? What could happen in our world if the community of faith took the lead in artistic innovation and communication? Dr. Colin Harbinson longs to see the arts and mission of the church tied together.

In 2005, Dr. Colin Harbinson, Dean of the School of Arts at Bellhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi, led a team of writers in producing a document for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization called “Redeeming the Arts: The Restoration of the Arts to God’s Creational Intention.” What follows is a part of that paper.

Envision a Future …

Envision a future in which the church worldwide will integrate into its theological foundations a response to God’s gifts of beauty and creativity that will value and empower Christian engagement in and enjoyment of the arts.

Envision a future in which the community of faith is at the forefront of artistic innovation that will be celebrated in the corporate life of the church and its individual members, in the local cultural marketplace, and in the global entertainment industry.

Envision a future in which all children are able to explore, discover and develop their creative abilities, and where those with special gifts are given the encouragement and opportunity to study and develop their God-given creativity to its fullest potential.

Envision a future in which students in seminaries, Bible colleges, and missionary training schools are required to study and experience the arts for their own development, understanding, and preparation for pastoral and mission leadership and service.

Envision a future in which it will be common practice for Christian universities and colleges to offer a variety of degrees in the arts and allied fields of study, and to invest in the specialized facilities necessary for quality training, performance and exhibition.

Envision a future in which business and arts leaders work together in partnership to ensure that kingdom resources are gifted or invested into strategic arts initiatives, and that business training and practice is on the cutting edge of creativity and innovation.

Envision a future in which art patronage is once again seen as a responsibility of the church, enabling great works of art to be produced that will affirm our story, celebrate our common humanity, challenge our thinking, enrich our world and bring glory to God.

Envision a future in which the arts are a partner in local and global community development projects that bring healing and hope to the poor and needy, the abused and marginalized, and children at risk, moving all people toward God’s intention for them.

Envision a future in which the church in all people groups will reinforce the biblical narrative, pass it on to the next generation, and celebrate the goodness of God within their own cultural framework and with their own indigenous instruments and art forms.

Envision a future in which mission organizations will value the partnership of artists and the arts in fulfilling the Great Commission, as consultants in indigenous hymnody and contextualization, and in the task of church planting and cultural restoration.

Envision a future in which information will be available to promote the active global networking of Christians in the arts, in order to encourage, discuss, strategize, identify and share resources and facilitate diverse creative partnerships.

Envision a future in which artists will desire to be excellent in their craft, spiritually mature in their walk, humble in their attitude, servant-hearted in motivation, moral in lifestyle, and uncompromising in their obedience to Christ.

Envision a future in which Christians in every diverse cultural context of our world will exhibit a lifestyle of creativity and beauty, pointing to the day in which the Original Artist will make “all things new.”

— Dr. Colin Harbinson

The full text of “Redeeming the Arts: The Restoration of the Arts to God’s Creational Intention” can be found here (PDF file format). Copyright © 2005 by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, www.lausanne.org. Used by permission of the author.