heart1.jpgHoward Hendricks says, “Teaching that impacts is not head to head, but heart to heart … as long as you understand the biblical meaning of heart.” 

We often associate the heart with emotions such as love and kindness, but to the Ancient Hebrews the heart encompassed the entire inner being of a man, which included the mind with all its thoughts and emotions.

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As we look at the first picture in the Hebrew word for heart (above) we see a shepherd’s staff.  According to Jeff Benner, the staff was a symbol of authority as the shepherd has authority over his flock.  The second letter is a picture of the floor plan of a nomadic tent and Benner says that this picture represents the idea of being inside as the family resides within the tent.  So, when combined, these words mean “the authority within.”

Thus, heart-to-heart teaching is when Christ in us (our Shepherd and King) flows out of our entire being (mind, emotions, and will) into the lives of others.  Or as Hendricks puts it, “One’s total personality transformed by the supernatural grace of God reaching out to transform other personalities by the same grace.”  That’s the kind of teaching that impacts others.

  • Summary:

In his book, Teaching to Change Lives, Hendricks explains the “how-to’s” of heart-to-heart teaching in chapter five, The Law of the Heart.  He emphasizes that true teaching is causing others to change; thus, if we expect our students to change, we must model Christ to them in how we care about them. 

Heart-to-heart teaching comes out of the overflow of your own heart as you love the ones you teach.  Therefore, we must flow into our student’s lives in order to make a difference in their lives.  As Hendricks says, “You can impress people at a distance.  But you can impact them up close.”  And so we must relate to people on a deeper, heart-to-heart level as our lives give clarity to the teaching from our lips.

  • Questions to Consider: 
  1. In your own words, how would you describe “heart-to-heart” teaching?
  2. Normally, do you aim for the head, the heart, or the lives of your learners? 
  3. How do you include all three (in question #2) in your lesson planning?
  4. How can you have a greater impact on your students’ lives?
  5. Why is it crucial that we “know” our students?
  6. Are you pouring out your life as a teacher?
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