How Do We Handle Divine Detours in Life

On Tuesday mornings, the Heritage community gathers for worship together during a weekly Chapel. To continue our worship together, President Dr. Rick Reed preached a message from his home for the students, staff, and faculty of Heritage on Exodus 13 – 14 looking at divine detours.

Dr. Reed talks about how we can recognize divine detours, how we as Christians respond to these changes in our lives, and why God allows these kind of detours to come into our lives.

Listen Dr. Reed’s sermon on our Heritage College & Seminary podcast on Spotify, iTunes, or –

Or, watch his message below from our YouTube page:

How to Preach to an Empty Auditorium

By Dr. Rick Reed – President of Heritage College & Seminary

There are times when a preacher will need to preach to an empty auditorium. Right now, in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, we are in one of those times. Government officials have mandated that we avoid gathering in groups, effectively shuttering our Sunday services.

Since pastors are called to feed and tend the Lord’s sheep at all times, we still need to provide spiritual nourishment to the believers in our churches. And we still need to proclaim the gospel message to those who don’t yet know Christ Jesus in a life-saving way. We are commissioned to preach the Word “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:3).

Thankfully, technological advances have made it possible for us to preach to people who are unable to gather in our churches. For the past few Sundays, many preachers have been recording sermons in empty auditoriums.

Here’s where it gets challenging for us as preachers. Preaching to an empty auditorium feels unnatural. We look out and instead of seeing faces, we only see spaces. No smiles, no nods. Nothing.

So how are we to preach well at these times? Especially if this is new to us and we don’t have a video team to help out? Here are ten reminders that I’ve found helpful when preaching in an empty auditorium.

Preach the Word

One thing that must not change when we move from live to recorded sermons is the centrality of God’s Word. We must study it deeply, handle it correctly, read it publicly, relish it personally and apply it practically. While preaching to an empty auditorium feels second-rate, our sermons should not be.

Preach to people not chairs

Remember there are people who will listen to your message even though you can’t see them as you speak. Think of specific individuals in your congregation who will hear the message. Speak to their hearts though you can’t see their faces.

Position the camera so you are easily seen but have room to move

Even if you don’t have high-end video equipment or an experienced production team, you can still use your smartphone or tablet to record an effective video of your sermon. Use a tripod or improvise with a music stand to place the camera directly in front of you. Frame the picture so that you are centred and central, close enough for people to easily see your facial expressions.

Do a partial test run to make sure audio and video settings are correct

Before preaching through the entire message, record a small sample of the sermon to make sure you are happy with the camera angle, lighting and sound quality. Make sure your video camera or smart phone has enough storage to record an entire sermon. By the way, the video will look better if you wear solid colours. Striped shirts create a blur when filmed.

Look at the camera to look people in the eyes

When you look directly into the camera, those watching the video will see you looking directly at them. This gives the message a more personal, direct feel.

Preach with both empathy and energy

Enter into the mood of the moment by preaching with a pastor’s heart full of empathy for those who are fearful and alone. In addition to expressing empathy, preach with energy. Remember, energy enhances engagement. Generally, you’ll bring more energy if you stand rather than sit. Don’t equate a conversational tone with a monotone. Speak with believable passion.

Get free from your notes as much as possible

How can you get free from your notes? Internalize them. Start by internalizing the overall structure of the message so you know where you are going next. Then, internalize your introduction (to make a personal connection right from the start) and your conclusion (to make a pastoral close). Next, internalize illustrations and applications. Remember, eye-contact increases connection.

Don’t worry about verbal perfection

Stumbling over your words a bit is normal in a live sermon. Don’t stop the tape every time you trip over your tongue. Authenticity outweighs perfection when it comes to presentation. (And do remember to smile at the right moments!)

Make a clear, compelling gospel move

While we should preach the gospel at all times, it’s crucial that we preach it now. There may be people who listen to your online message who will never come to hear you live. Make sure you present the good news of the gospel in a clear, compelling way. Tell your listeners how they can respond in repentance and faith right now. As you preach the Word to your congregation (2 Timothy 4:2), do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5).

Trust God who is present when people are absent

Remember the Lord is with you as you preach and with your hearers as they listen. Pray for His Spirit’s empowerment. Trust Him to do immeasurably more than you could imagine (Eph 3:20). Even when the auditorium is empty, God’s can use your preaching of His Word to fill hearts to overflowing.

Make the Most of Your Time : Heritage Spring & Summer Online Courses

Redeem your time this spring and summer by learning and growing with Heritage College & Seminary. Beginning in May, Heritage is once again offering a wide variety of online course options over the spring and summer months for you to discover.

Dr. Rick Reed, President of Heritage College & Seminary, says this is a unique time and an opportunity for you to take the time to stabilize your soul by studying God’s Word and learning from distinguished faculty at Heritage and other schools.

“One excellent way to do this is by taking an online course at Heritage this spring or summer with a great variety of courses available to you,” says Dr. Reed. “These classes are excellent opportunities to spend your time wisely by going deeper in God’s Word.”

Each year, Heritage not only provides a great selection of courses that help current students at make progress on their degrees, but also gives Christians the opportunity to be equipped and learn. Classes can be taken for credit or by lifelong students who want the opportunity to study the Bible, learn more about a topic, or want to discover what learning at Heritage is like through taking courses as non-credit students.

This year, Heritage will be offering a large number of seminary-level courses that can be completed fully online. From Philippians to the Pentateuch – students have the opportunity to learn or continue their studies at Heritage from wherever God has them serving and living for Him. This now includes the option for Heritage Theological Seminary students to complete either their Greek or Hebrew Elements courses online over the course of the spring and summer.

Dr. Ian Vaillancourt, Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Heritage Theological Seminary and Heritage’s Director of Distance Learning, explains that though in-class offerings are at the core of what Heritage is about, the College and Seminary desires to serve students with more online courses to help better serve the church.

“The goal is to equip the saints for works of ministry, and since each saint has particular growth needs, we seek to serve as many of them as possible through these diverse course offerings,” says Dr. Vaillancourt.

Registration is now available for current students and interested non-credit students. The registration deadline has now been moved to April 10.

For a list of our online course options and our module and multi-modal classes that are available this Spring/Summer and to learn more about how to apply, visit

Spring & Summer 2020 Update – In order to enable students to continue their training at Heritage this spring and summer, all multi-modal and module Spring/Summer courses will be offered through an online delivery format.   

Coronavirus Updates

August 27, 2020

“Our team has spent months praying and planning for this upcoming year.  In spite of the challenges caused by the pandemic, we are asking God to do “far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).” – President Dr. Rick Reed

Heritage College & Seminary has just released its safety protocols for the upcoming fall semester. It’s our deep desire that this year at Heritage will be a time of spiritual impact and physical safety.

To read the Fall 202o Campus Protocols document, please visit

Drawing Wisdom From the Past, Informing the Church Today

Since starting at Heritage Theological Seminary this winter in his role as Professor of Church History, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin says that the interactions with students on campus and in the classroom has been a deeply uplifting experience.

“I think what has been most encouraging is the fabulous quality of the students in my classes: bright and keen, devoted to Christ and his people and zealous to learn from the past for faithful leadership in the present,” says Dr. Haykin.

Students who attend Heritage Theological Seminary will now have the opportunity to learn more from Dr. Haykin as he officially begins his new role as a member of the core faculty at the seminary.

Though he has served at Heritage for 27 years teaching in various capacities, Dr. Haykin says that he is looking forward to the opportunity to play a larger role in training, equipping, and mentoring leaders who will serve the mission of Christ and his church through the seminary.

“I am thrilled by what God has been doing through the leadership of the seminary and Bible College in the last few years, and desirous of being involved in theological education in Ontario to a deeper extent than I have been for a while,” explains Dr. Haykin. “I felt naturally and deeply drawn to Heritage.”

Dr. Haykin is a renowned church historian who is also the author of a number of publications and books including Rediscovering the Church Fathers and Eight Women of Faith. He will continue serving in his current role as Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Haykin is also the Director of the Andrew Fuller Centre for Baptist Studies at Southern – a role that he will continue to hold as the Centre find its Canadian home at Heritage Theological Seminary.

The Andrew Fuller Centre for Baptist Studies seeks to bring attention to the theological and missional achievements of 18th century Baptist pastor-theologian Andrew Fuller through various publications and conferences, while also promoting an understanding of Baptist heritage and the larger Christian story of the past. At Heritage, the Fuller Centre will coordinate an annual conference in the fall and host an occasional lecture in the spring, while continuing its work on a massive publication project that will see the reprinting of Andrew Fuller’s complete works.

As he looks ahead to his time at Heritage and the opportunity to teach and mentor those who will graduate and serve the church in Canada, Dr. Haykin says that he hopes and prays that they would not only cling to Christ as they serve their churches but also learn and grow from the church’s past.

“My deep hope is that they will stay faithful to Christ and the gospel throughout their ministries; but also that they will see the Christian past as a great reservoir of wisdom and encouragement, and learn how to draw riches from the past to inform their ministries in the present,” says Dr. Haykin.