Fostering a Community of Growth and Grace

For Jake and Roseanne Tomc, the opportunity to move to Heritage and begin their new role as Residence Directors is an answer to prayer.

After Jake officially graduated with his Master of Divinity from Heritage Theological Seminary this spring, they began praying about an opportunity to serve God’s people together and use their passion for higher education in a way that edified the church. With their experience serving together at Maple Avenue Baptist Church while Jake was an intern, and Roseanne’s experience working with students—it became clear that serving as Residence Directors fit both of their hearts for ministry.

“We feel that our love for higher education will rub off on the students and that we will be able to help them succeed in reaching their own goals, while also reminding them that academic success is not where our identity lies. Our identity is found in Christ and our desire to bring God glory in our lives,” says Jake. “We are both so looking forward to getting to know the students and pouring into their lives while they are on campus.”

From their own experience as students and staff at different universities, Jake and Roseanne understand that the years students spend in a postsecondary environment are some of the most formative in a student’s life. This is especially the case at Heritage, where the students are part of a community that is seeking to grow in the knowledge and love of Christ together.

The couple explains that this is seen most practically in living in residence, where lifelong relationships are developed, and the lessons learned in the classroom are put into action. To have the opportunity to foster this type of community focused on the spiritual growth of each student is one of the reasons this new position is exciting for the Tomcs.

“Our hope and prayer is that by God’s grace we can be a model of what it looks like for justified sinners to pursue godliness in community—showing humility where we fail, pointing to Christ where we get it right, and showing what it looks like to bear one another’s burdens,” says Jake.

When Roseanne looks ahead to this new opportunity, she says that she has been praying that the students this year will grow as they both seek biblical wisdom in their studies and develop deep relationships with one another—especially after a year where God has shown people how important community truly is.

“With the isolation we have all experienced, I am asking the Lord to give students the desire to take advantage of all Heritage has to offer and truly capitalize on their time living on campus,” says Roseanne.

The impact of learning and growing in a community is one of the elements of Jake’s time at Heritage that he treasured the most. He now looks back at his time at Heritage and sees how his experience learning from professors along with his fellow students gave him a deeper love for theological education.

It is this kind of experience that he hopes to share with the students on campus as he begins his Ph.D. studies this fall at McMaster Divinity College.  He hopes that the opportunity to disciple Heritage students while continuing to learn alongside them will help foster the community and growth he still values from his time at Heritage.

“I want us to grow in the knowledge and love of our Lord together,” explains Jake. “I believe that as they pour themselves into their studies, and seek God’s glory in their work, their time at Heritage will serve to prepare them to be ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ in their fields of influence.”

Please pray for Jake and Roseanne as they begin their new role at Heritage this August. As well, pray for our new and returning students as they prepare for the start of the Fall Semester this September.

How One Year Can Change Your Life for the Better

In the fall of 2019, brothers Ian and Josh Cushnie began their studies at Heritage together in the Worship Leaders Certificate program. Now, as they both look back at their time at the college, it’s clear that the decision to take one year to learn and grow at Heritage was a worthwhile one.

For Ian, the decision to come to Heritage came at a time in his life when he felt he needed some sort of change. At the time, he says that knew he wanted to study somewhere and pursue music. So, after hearing about Heritage from his friends, family and leaders at his church he decided that Heritage would be a great place to go to not only learn but also grow in his faith.

After arriving, he soon began to see how God was going to use this one year of learning in a Christian community to strengthen his walk with God.

“I was submerged fully into Christian life. Studying the Bible in and out of class, learning and growing in areas of music, and even just being with others was teaching me so much,” says Ian. “Even though I am an introvert, I am very much influenced by the people I’m around and it helps when they have only God on their mind.”

Josh says that his one year at Heritage was also excellent in how it provided him a place and community to grow within – in his faith, skills as a musician, and knowledge of worship.

“My musical abilities grew substantially, and I have a much better understanding of music theory,” says Josh. “And I feel that I finally understand why we worship.”

As a musician, Ian also says that the musical education that he received at Heritage in just one year provided him with knowledge that he now finds himself applying to different situations after graduating from the program. He sees how each lesson that he learned while at Heritage has allowed him to help his local church and has also impacted the way he lives each and every day for Christ.

For both Ian and Josh, this growth musically and spiritually was made even more incredible by the opportunity to live and grow in loving community centred on Christ. It was this experience to live and learn alongside other Christians that they say makes studying at Heritage for one year meaningful and worthwhile.

“The best thing you could do is just commit to one year and take each day as it comes because there will be plenty to learn and lots of fun to be had and I guarantee it will change your life for the better,” says Ian. “You are surrounded by great people, you will get to learn from awesome loving teachers, deepen your faith, and you will love God more each day in the process.”

Josh agrees with his brother after his one year at Heritage, saying that he would encourage others to take one year at Heritage and experience this community for themselves.

“I think the real question is why not choose Heritage? Heritage is a close community who truly cares for each other and wants to see those in the community grow,” says Josh.