LeAnne Martin
Christians in the Arts

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Nigel Goodwin: Missionary to the Arts

This weekend, I had the privilege of spending more time with my friend Nigel Goodwin, Executive Director of Genesis Arts Trust. On Friday night, author, radio talk show host and culture expert Dick Staub did a Q&A with Nigel at a reception in Nigel's honor. (Click here for my interview with Dick last year.) Dick called Nigel "a pioneer" in helping people around the world understand faith and culture, and faith and the arts. 

When Nigel came to faith in Christ in the 1960s, he was told that you could not be an artist and a Christian. He, along with other artists who were Christians, struggled with their identity. He spent some time at L'Abri in Switzerland where Francis Schaeffer and Hans Rookmaaker were his mentors. They helped him to understand that it's okay to think and be a Christian and to be an artist and a Christian. He soon married Gillie, a lovely young woman he met at a wedding, and they began to invite people into their home and listen to them. Nigel says that everyone asks these questions: "Does anyone love me?" and "Is it safe?" He and Gillie created an environment that was safe and loving--a place where people could ask anything. 

Pastor and author John Stott commissioned Nigel to be a missionary to the arts and years later, he continues to invite people into conversation, creating a safe space for them to be themselves, to ask questions about Christ, to gain a new understanding of how faith and art can work together. He is never too busy or distracted or tired to engage a person, whether friend or stranger. He takes the time to talk to artists who need encouragement as well as servers in restaurants who need to be acknowledged for the people they are. He is as comfortable with famous actors as he is with those who will never set foot on stage. Nigel often speaks about the arts and culture at churches, colleges, conferences, and homes. He loves his Lord, his wife and family, and his calling. The world is a better place because of Nigel Goodwin.


msglitzy@hotmail.com said...

Hi Leanne my daughters and I met Nigel through a friend while we were living in London. We went to the prayer meetings in Convent Garden & Nigel became a life long friend. We live in Perth Western Australia. And on Feb 14th 2011 my daughters opened a Dance & Theatre Arts studio under the umbrella of our church called Victory Life Centre. It has been a long struggle to establish the studio as there has been a lot of opposition. So every now and then I contact Nigel by email and he writes back, giving encouragement and helpful advice. He is an inspiration. If you talk to him give him our love Toni, Rochelle & Jayne Lee. (Christians in the Arts)

LeAnne Benfield Martin said...

Hi! Nigel is indeed an inspiration. He has encouraged me many times. Thanks for your comment. I will pass it along to him!


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