We all know an Evangelical church when we see one. The name usually gives it away. Well, that’s the case with Legacy Christian Church. I mean that’s a really Evangelical name, isn’t it? So, I decided to give this a church a visit this past Sunday.
My interest in visiting Legacy was peaked because I had watched the land that the church sits on be transformed over the years from hills and pine forest to church. I watched the transformation every time I drove out the the stable to ride horses. I had thought about visiting the church a little less than a year ago but one day on my way back from the stable and contemplating the idea, the car that I was driving lost steering in front of the church. I arrived back at my parents house safely (the car needed serious fixing) but all thoughts of visiting Legacy vanished from my head. After all if I was thinking about visiting as I drove by and the car broke down at that moment, I thought this might be a sign from God that I shouldn’t go (I was in the process of being received into the Catholic Church). But nothing happened this time around. Time to visit Legacy.
According to Legacy’s FAQ page the church describes it’s self as a “Restoration” or “New Testament” church. This means that Legacy worships in style that is in accordance with how Christians worshiped in the first century. They find basis for this in the Book of Acts. Well, I spent two days reading the Book of Acts. The only content I found in Acts concerning the worship practices of first century Christians was that they tended to gather as a group for prayer, teaching and communion. The worship was usually lead by a teacher of the early Church, like St. Paul. I also found this in Acts as well, many of the converts came from synagogues that consisted of both Israelite Jews and Hellenistic Jews (Gentiles who feared G-d). But historical evidence possibly suggests that early Christians worshiped in a manner closer to practices found in the synagogues. This is for certain, we’ll possibly never know for sure.
Two days before I went to Legacy I emailed the church to ask if there was a person, maybe an elder, I could talk to about the beliefs of the church and how worship worked. I received a reply with the name of an Elder that I could talk to. So, I met with the Elder on Sunday morning to learn about the basic beliefs of Legacy church. Well, here are the must knows of Legacy:
- Legacy is a non-denominational church meaning that they are not part of a larger church convention, Sea or communion. As such, Christ is the only head of the church and decision concerning the congregation and Legacy are made my Legacy’s Elders and church board.
- They take the Bible literally. They believe that every thing in the Bible historically happened. No nice stories here to help with Christian teaching.
- The Bible is the word of God written by man. The Bible might have been altered in it’s composition? They don’t believe that.
- Spreading the word of God. Yes, that means lots and lots of mission trips.
- Communion? They do that every Sunday. I never thought I would hear that about an Evangelical church in my life. And it’s open communion, too.
After talking to the Elder I met a nice woman to sit with during the service who told me a little bit about Legacy’s history. Lo and behold the church started at Bedford, my former middle school. To be honest, that’s not surprising. The school was a supporter of religion even if it wasn’t a religious school.
As for he service itself, it was self explanatory. The Christian band and congregation san a few songs with lyrics projected onto the wall for the first thirty minutes or so. Then communion was served. Communion at Legacy is different than in most churches. First off there wasn’t and Elder or Priest to say the communion prayers or to consecrate the communion. Second communion was served out of a tray and people stayed seated. Thus, the communion tray was passed around the seated congregation. During communion a choir member sang a hymn/song. And then it was time for the sermon. The reading for the sermon was the commandment, “Thou shall honor your parents.” At this moment, before the reading, everyone in the congregation pulled out their Bible. I mean everyone. You know how we all think of Evangelicals taking their Bibles with them to church? Well, that really does happen. I was caught off guard as everyone bent down to grab their Bibles from under neath their chairs. Then the reading happened. And then the sermon.
Ok, so the sermon. What to say about the sermon. It was really long. Longer than what I am used to. The sermon lasted about sixty minutes or so and unfortunately my attention span is about forty-five minutes. The last fifteen minutes were a real God given struggle. While I was busy trying to find ways to keep myself focused on the sermon (that was no easy task), everyone else around me was completely drawn in by the teaching. I mean, they were taking notes in their Bibles, in notebooks and praising the preacher at particularly meaningful moment. While I was impressed by the public speaking skills of the preacher, the sermon itself made me feel uncomfortable. Particularly the parts where the congregation was being told that they should not question authority and should accept social norms without question. This, of course a post or another time.
I’d have to say for the first time going to an Evangelical I felt fairly welcomed despite being Catholic. As for the people I met there, they accepted my Catholicism without question and even asked me questions about being Catholic. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting that at all.