Head, Heart and Hands Together: Implications and Challenges

“Head, Heart and Hands” Cover


  • How would you summarize how the overemphasis on or neglect of either the head, hearts or hands dimension of one’s faith (or the faith of one’s faith community) causes one to be less than what God envisions for us as His children?
  • How does your faith community address the God-desired balance of head, hearts and hands for our lives? Note: The local assembly of which I’m a member and partnered with in this study is part of the Brethren in Christ Church. As such their core values receive attention in the below post. What are the core values/doctrines of the local assembly (and denomination if applicable) of which you are a member? How do they address the God-desired balance of head, hearts and hands?

Maintaining our balance

In Chapter 10, Dennis Hollinger gets practical about maintaining the balance of Head, Heart & Hands. As followers of Christ, would you affirm with me the below points?

  • We will:
    • Engage in worship reflecting all our faith dimensions (and avoid “worship wars”). The act of worship is restorative to those who are faithful.
    • Model our faith through the importance of our personal “story” and life impact of Christ as well as a community witness and experience along with the rational apologetic of our faith.
    • Instruct ourselves and our brothers and sisters, i.e., make disciples, in the head, heart and hands dimensions of our faith.
  • We must face and filter
    • The prejudices our cultural understanding(s) introduce to our faith. A post-modern world may predispose us to rely more on our feelings than our cognitive abilities.
    • The limitations our own faith background and current church practices may impose on us.
    • Our own personalities and predispositions toward head, heart and hands.

An application and a heartening observation – Brethren in Christ Church Core Values

The core values of the Brethren in Christ Church reflect significant Biblical balance in this particular faith expression, but they can be hard to live out in daily life. The accountability of community is vital. Please note the specific dimensions and shared contributions to the individual values:

  • Experiencing God’s Love and Grace – We value the free gift of salvation in Christ Jesus and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Believing the Bible – We value the Bible as God’s authoritative Word, study it together, and build our lives on its truth.
  • Worshiping God – We value heartfelt worship that is God-honoring, Spirit-directed, and life-changing
  • Following Jesus – We value whole hearted obedience to Christ Jesus through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit.
  • Belonging to the Community of Faith – We value integrity in relationships and mutual accountability in an atmosphere of grace, love, and acceptance.
  • Witnessing to the World – We value an active and loving witness for Christ to all people.
  • Serving Compassionately – We value serving others at their point of need, following the example of our Lord Jesus.
  • Pursuing Peace – We value all human life and promote forgiveness, understanding, reconciliation, and non-violent resolution of conflict.
  • Living Simply – We value uncluttered lives, which free us to love boldly, give generously, and serve joyfully.
  • Relying on God – We confess our dependence on God for everything, and seek to deepen our intimacy with Him by living prayerfully.

How does your faith community address the God-desired balance of head, hearts and hands for our lives? What are the core values/doctrines of the local assembly (and denomination if applicable) of which you are a member? How do they address the God-desired balance of head, hearts and hands?

Broader questions to wrap up the Head, Heart and Hands series

  • We each reflect God’s image. Do you believe that you reflect one part while another Christian shows a different part? Are we supposed to be different in the way described in the Bible, i.e., that the body’s parts offer different services?
  • Was the borrowing of the 3 “H’s” from the 4-H program accidental or intentional? The 4-H pledge is

I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
my heart to greater loyalty,
my hands to larger service
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

  • Returning to Pandita Ramabai as an example of biblically-balanced head, heart and hands faith, do you have a friend or colleague whose story speaks similarly? If so please, share.
    •  A story fresh on my mind: Drs. Jay and Pauline Bridgeman have been hoping and planning to serve as overseas missionaries since before they were married in 1997. Since then, they have been completing their training — Jay as a dentist and orthopedic hand surgeon and Pauline in internal medicine, pediatrics, and adult infectious diseases. In these years of preparation, they have been blessed with three daughters — Abigail, Lillian, and Charlotte. In addition they have faithfully served as advisers to the Penn State Hershey Christian Medical Society (CMS)/CMDA. Since finishing their last medical examinations and certifications, they have moved to CURE International in San Pedro Sula, Honduras (8/1/2011). They will be joining an ongoing ministry that uses specialty pediatric surgical care as a vehicle for sharing the gospel with the patients who come from all over Central America, as well as discipling hospital staff to know Jesus more deeply and to be lights for him in their own communities. Jay will be serving as the Medical Director of CURE Honduras, and Pauline will be serving as a medical consultant for several areas. What a joy to personally witness their labors on campus and help them pack 🙂 Praying blessing upon the Bridgeman’s transition and those with whom they minister as they embrace/act out the call to care. Rejoicing for the many others with whom I daily connect who not only have similar passions/longings, but also are taking next steps in sharing the love of Christ with the gifts/skills they’ve been given by their Creator. To God be the glory!

*Drawn from an adult elective based upon Dennis Hollinger‘s “Head, Heart & Hands: Bringing Together Christian Thought, Passion and Action” (InterVarsity Press, 2005). Kevin Milligan facilitated the class at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church. Note: See the first post in the series for more on the genesis of this study guide as part of a local Emerging Scholars Network partnership (South Central Scholars Network PA FB and Christian Scholar Series).

Tom came across the ‘Head-Heart-Hands’ graphic at Gateway Christian Church, http://www.gatewayontheweb.org/index.php?p=1_28. As one of his colleagues shared with him via email, “It rocks.” Amen.

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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