A New Kind of Missionary Training

In the early 1980’s, a vision was born to establish a practical training center for Christian workers going to serve in developing regions of the world. Two Warner University (then Warner Southern College) faculty members, Dr. Bob Clark and Charlie Smith, promoted the idea of developing a college level grass roots training program at Warner. Dr. Bob Clark, a former missionary in Bangladesh, Charlie Smith, a former Peace Corps worker in Malaysia, and Dean Flora with Food for the Hungry International, became the key players in this trio of mission leaders who founded the h.e.a.r.t. program.

A cooperative effort was launched by Warner University and Food for the Hungry International in developing the HEART VIllage in 1981. In 1994, HEART became an independent nonprofit corporation which gave the program new opportunities for partnerships and funding. Warner University continues to be a great partner by providing the property where the village resides and college credit for the academic courses.

h.e.a.r.t. Institute values academic excellence.

Academic Excellence

HEART’s highly trained faculty is passionate about the subjects they teach. Not only do they want you to have a deep understanding of the content, they want to help you integrate the classroom learning with application in a cross-cultural setting. All of our professors hold at least a Master’s Degree and more than half also have a Doctorate.

HEART Institute in Lake Wales values Hands-On Experience

Hands-On Experience

HEART is not your typical college experience. Expect to get dirty as you put into practice the things you’re learning in the classroom. Developing skills that are practical in cross-cultural ministry is one of the focuses of the HEART program. You’ll do it all – work the soil, care for animals, prepare food using primitive methods and much more.


Community Mindedness

HEART has a culture of a community. You’ll share living space, classroom space and work space with students and staff. You’ll be challenged to put aside our culture’s tendency toward independence and learn to be more interdependent. A high value is placed on building relationships, communicating effectively and resolving conflicts.

HEART Institute in Lake Wales, Florida values Spiritual Vitality. h.e.a.r.t. Institute in Lake Wales, Florida.

Spiritual Growth

HEART desires for each person in the community to cultivate a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. Individuals are encouraged to practice various spiritual disciplines and the community strives together toward Christ through daily times of prayer and reflection. We’re committed to training missionaries who are prepared to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Where we are now

Our mission is to educate, equip and empower Christian workers with practical skills in cultural adaptation, problem-solving and community development for the purpose of meeting the needs of the hungry and oppressed while sharing the good news of God’s love.
The world is changing. We are more connected and more mobile than ever before. No longer are missionaries packing all of their belongings in their own caskets with no plans to ever return to their home country. Today, the cross-cultural worker is required to straddle two (or more) very different cultures. Navigating two worlds is extremely demanding. Statistics show that untrained, ill-prepared people often are not able to navigate those stresses. Too often, missionaries return to their home culture much earlier than expected.


We are passionate about proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations. To date, HEART has graduated nearly 1,000 students who have served in more than 90 different countries. Because of the academic knowledge and practical skills they learned at h.e.a.r.t., these graduates have gone into cross-cultural ministry with a deepened sensitivity to cultural differences, a heightened awareness of how to live in a community and the practical skills that often open doors to sharing the love of Christ.

Where we are going

Because the world is changing everyday, the skills and education of cross-cultural workers must also change to keep up with the demands of an increasingly globalized world. At h.e.a.r.t. we are working each semester and each year to make the necessary adjustments to remain relevant and in tune with the changing times. As a village we are also pursuing increased sustainability in each of the areas of instruction and daily operation. We hope to improve our student and intern experience each semester by engaging contemporary trends in mission and community development.

It is a sobering reality that people all over the world are still lost, hungry, and oppressed. It is our desire to continue training culturally aware messengers of the gospel with contemporary skills to address the many needs of the developing areas of the world. We will continue to seek out partnerships with mission sending agencies, humanitarian organizations, churches, colleges, and universities to expand the width and depth of our training and global impact to the glory of Jesus Christ.


Through your giving, you are helping us prepare the next generation of servant leaders around the globe.

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Through your giving, you are helping us prepare the next generation of servant leaders around the globe.


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