Born in Clinton, SC, Chris moved to Brazil at age two when his parents were appointed as career missionaries with the Foreign Mission Board, SBC. After finishing high school in São Paulo, Chris studied modern languages at Mississippi College and enrolled at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1989. There he met and married Karen Goforth. Upon their graduation under Roy Honeycutt, Chris and Karen were appointed by the Foreign Mission Board for two years as Church Planter Apprentices to Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. At the completion of that assignment, Chris began Iglesia Bautista Cristo te Ama in Aiken, SC while finishing their application for career missionary service.
In 1995, Chris and Karen were appointed as career missionaries to Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil, where Chris was to coordinate the Program for the Extension of Theological Education of the Baptist seminary in Porto Alegre. Their two sons were born in Porto Alegre. Chris taught systematic theology at the seminary and expanded the extension program to four centers around the state, teaching 28 different courses over seven years of ministry. Chris and Karen were also began the first evangelical outreach ministry among more than 4.2 million Traditionalist Gauchos centered in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
Chris wrote several texts for use with seminary and extension students, some of which are currently being used throughout Brazil in theological education. The completed works available in English include Narrative Theology and Homiletics, Ecclesiology: God’s Reign on Earth, Eschatology: God’s Ultimate Reign, and The Impact of Fundamentalism on the 2000 Revision of the Baptist Faith and Message: Inaugural Lecture for the 25th Anniversary of the Seminario Teológico Batista do Rio Grande do Sul.
The Harbins found themselves leaving Brazil unexpectedly in late 2002. On return to the US, Chris first served as pastor at Rocks Baptist Church in Pamplin, VA, after which Chris and Karen were called as co-pastors to serve Central Baptist Church in Lowesville, VA, where Karen was ordained. Today they make their home in Davidson, NC, where Chris serves as Associate Pastor for Latino Ministries at First Baptist Church, Huntersville. Karen teaches music and home schools their sons. Chris has continued to write throughout his pastoral ministry. More recently, he has been translating, adapting, and writing theological texts in Spanish for use with Latinos in North Carolina.