What Is “Heart-to-Heart” Ministry?

Bill Mowry
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When we invite people to walk with us, we’re inviting them into our walks with God, the heart of who we are. We walk with God heart-to-heart and we walk with people heart-to-heart.

Dan’s intensity caught me off guard. I was expecting a casual conversation about his work and church ministry. Dan wanted something more. “Jeannie and I are really struggling with our son,” he confided. “We deeply love him but the attention and care that his special needs require is driving a wedge between my wife and me. I return home from work to an exhausted wife, an overactive kid, and no time to myself. We’re trying to trust God, but our son’s needs are overwhelming us.”

In the space of about twenty minutes, Dan opened his heart to me about his frustrations, anger, and lack of communication with Jeannie. His transparent pain set aside any notions about my trying to sugarcoat his pain to make me look wise. He was hurting, and he needed a friend to talk to.

I felt honored to be invited into Dan’s heart of hearts. When people open up their hearts, real ministry happens. It’s at that moment that we need to connect Jesus to the issues of a person’s heart. Heart-to-heart speaks to the depth of who we are. It reflects our passions and connects emotionally with others.

“Our hearts reveal what we love, and when we find what people love, we see the person for who he or she really is.”

Heart-to-heart ministry should not be unusual. After all, it’s been documented that the word “heart” is found over seven hundred times in the Bible. Engaging our hearts is so important that we’re commanded first to love God “with all your heart” (Matt. 22:37 NIV) and to seek Him with all our heart (Jer. 29:13). Jesus taught that the evil that comes from people comes from the heart (Mark 7:21). That is why the Lord gives us a “new heart” to love Him (Ezek. 36:26).

Our heart is the core depository of our passions, our inner secrets, and our hidden desires. It is in our hearts that life takes place. We can disguise it with our surface actions or expressions but they simply hide the true reality of what’s in our hearts.

We truly “see” one another when we peer into one another’s hearts. Our hearts reveal what we love, and when we find what people love, we see the person for who he or she really is. As author Steve Garber puts it:

It is why Augustine’s long-ago question still rings true: you cannot really know someone by asking “What do you believe?” It is only when you ask, “What do you love?” that we begin to know another.[1]

An examination of our hearts tells us what we hold most dear and what motivates us for either good or evil. When we speak of heart-to-heart ministry, we engage with people at the most personal, passionate, and revealing parts of our being. Simply put, living heart-to-heart is what friends do. When we invite people to walk with us, we invite them into our hearts.

Dan felt safe in our relationship, so he invited me to peer underneath the covers of his life to see his heart. When we minister heart-to-heart with people, we engage them at a deep level of trust and openness. To build those kinds of relationships means engaging with another in heart-to-heart ways.

If you’d like to read more about Heart-to-Heart Ministry from Bill Mowry, check out the entire series of articles:

You can learn more about Bill Mowry here, and more about the work of The Navigators here.

[1] Steve Garber, Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2014), 123.

For Further Reading:

Walk With Me

by Bill Mowry

Have we over complicated, over systematized, and over formalized making disciples? When our hearts are changed by Christ, it’s natural...

book cover for Walk With Me