A Place for the Heart exists to teach and inspire generations to live whole heartedly in their identity as sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father. We desire to live from the heart and pump life to the body of Christ. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” We believe that guarding, tending and cultivating our hearts is essential to living life.
Located in 52 acres of beautiful country in Sophia, NC, A Place for the Heart was founded by Ken and Linda Helser in 1985. They had a vision for a place where people in ministry could come away from the busyness of life to rest and hear the voice of God. Ken traveled to many churches in the North Carolina area speaking and leading worship. In 1999, Ken and Linda’s son Jonathan and his wife Melissa joined the ministry. Together, Ken and Linda and Jonathan and Melissa have co-led A Place for the Heart for the past 15 years.
Today, in addition to the Helsers, there are two main branches of ministry that represent A Place for the Heart. The first branch is the 18 Inch Journey, a school for the heart pioneered by Jonathan and Melissa. In addition to Jonathan and Melissa, the school is led by Ken and Linda and the staff of A Place for the Heart. Sixth months out of the year students live in the cabins at A Place for the Heart during either the first or second phase of the 18 Inch Journey.
Cageless Birds represents the community and creativity of A Place for the Heart. Also created by Jonathan and Melissa, Cageless Birds is the community of friends of full time staff at A Place for the Heart that developed from the alumni of the 18 Inch Journey. When we are not leading the 18 Inch Journey, we devote the other six months of the year to creativity, cultivating creative work including a book, various albums, art and writing. Also, we host many Cageless Birds worship nights that feature the musicians and songwriters of A Place for the Heart.
Jonathan and Melissa lead the full time staff at A Place for the Heart and raise their two kids Cadence and Haven. They also travel with the Cageless Birds leading worship and speaking around the world. Ken and Linda continue to travel all over the world as well, speaking at churches and YWAM schools. During the 18 Inch Journey, Ken and Linda play an integral part of the students’ lives sharing the wisdom they’ve gained from their journey.
We put our hearts into everything we do at A Place for the Heart. We may pursue many different avenues, from discipleship, to worship, to creativity, but everything serves our relationship with the Lord. As Ken says, “We can hear God in anything or miss Him in everything.”