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Church History

Bishop Duane Johnson, a fourth generation preacher, received the call to ministry very early in life. Growing up in the church, literally from birth, he has been a faithful member and leader in almost all areas of ministry. From driving congregants to serving as a junior deacon, from singing on the choir to serving as a Sunday school teacher, from working in the audio ministry to serving as the Youth Pastor, Duane has understood that God has been preparing him, over the years, to lead His flock.

After serving for nearly 20 years at Maximum Life Christian Church in Woodlawn, Maryland, under the leadership of his parents, Bishop Carroll and Pastor Muriel Johnson, then Minister Duane Johnson, his wife and high school sweetheart, Minister Cynthia Johnson, and their infant son, moved to Greater Bethlehem Temple (GBT) located in Randallstown, Maryland. While serving under Bishop James D. Nelson, at GBT, Minister Duane continued to pursue his dreams and calling to move into the pastorate.  He served as the Youth Pastor at GBT and later became an ordained Elder in World Assemblies of Restoration.

After a period of time at GBT, Elder Duane Johnson, his wife, now Evangelist Cynthia Johnson, and their young son heeded the voice of the LORD and started Speak To My Heart Ministries on April 1, 2007, at the Roosevelt Recreation Center in the Hamden area of Baltimore City. Though the church was initially started with just the family of three, God sent many parishioners from the community and from the radio audience that Elder Johnson bolsters. In addition to his work in the church and as a teacher in the Baltimore City Public School System, he has been a well-known and a well-respected Gospel radio personality in the Baltimore area for nearly two (2) decades. After worshipping in the Roosevelt Recreation Center for almost one year, the membership of Speak To My Heart Ministries continued to grow as did the Johnson’s desire to connect with the people of God on a more frequent basis. Thus, after a “ceiling problem” at the recreation center, the church moved to the Sankofa Dance Theater in Baltimore City for worship. This location provided the church with more time for worship, and as the service time grew, so did the church membership. God was blessing the church. He was sending “good people” to the church and people” to the church and it was growing, however, there continued to be a desire in Pastor and Evangelist Johnson’s spirit for more: more time, more space, more opportunities to speak to people’s hearts.

They continued to seek God.On April 1, 2009, on the 2 year church anniversary, God blessed Speak To My Heart Ministries to move to its own location at 3903 W. Belvedere Avenue in the Park Heights Community of Baltimore City. This location, a thrift store turned furniture store was cleaned and painted and transformed into a beautiful sanctuary, and service was held at 7:30 p.m. that same night! This particular area of Baltimore has had a long standing reputation of being a rough, high-crime area. However, since Speak To My Heart Ministries came to the neighborhood, drug activity and crime have reportedly decreased and the neighborhood has “changed.” Bishop and First Lady Johnson and the saints of Speak To My Heart Ministries are so happy with their new, nearly 9000 sq.ft, building as it provides them with the physical space and 24 hour access to, not only have Sunday services, but also mid-week services, Bible Study, men’s events, women’s events, and youth events. The location enables the church to readily and easily dispense the supplies and food during its yearly Back-To-School activities, Thanksgiving Food Basket giveaways, and Christmas Food and Toy giveaways. The church also looks forward to hosting programs for drug and alcohol addiction, educational programs, and working with the community on neighborhood pride and beautification projects. Since moving to Belvedere Avenue, the mandate of God has been brought to the forefronts of Bishop and First Lady Johnson’s minds; that the mission of Speak To My Heart Ministries is to do just that – to speak to the hearts of the people; to save the lost; to offer life to a dying world, to be a light in the midst of darkness, and to express to all, regardless of their past, the genuine and unconditional love of Jesus Christ. Since the church opened its doors in 2007, it is growing and lives are being changed. Though there have been many trials and tribulations that would have Bishop Duane give up, his convictions, his faith, his humble spirit, his integrity, and the unyielding support of his wife, children, and church congregation have caused him to continue to press ahead and to continue to be used to speak to the hearts of God’s people.