Legacy Vineyard Church was birthed when Ed and Molly Loughran launched a small group at their home in Lockport, Illinois while attending the Evanston Vineyard Church.
Soon after the group started, Ed and Molly realized two things. Firstly, that people from our area were not willing to regularly take the one hour (each-way) commute to join them for church in Evanston. Secondly, it became readily apparent that people here were looking to them as their pastors and leaders. Shortly thereafter, the vision to plant a church in the Joliet- Lockport area was confirmed in their own hearts and minds, as well as their leaders in the Vineyard Movement and in the hearts of those who later became the core group of people to start the church.
From the beginning, we have embraced certain values that are still part of Vineyard today. We desire the presence and blessing of God on all we do. We value the importance of healthy relationships and service to one another. We have a strong desire for spiritual reality and believe that ministry applies to the whole church and not just paid professionals. We embrace an open, informal style of worship and a de-emphasis of religious form.
Our History: Association of Vineyard Churches
In 1982, John Wimber, who had been a pastor and church consultant, was asked to serve as the leader of a newly-formed association of about nine churches (all in Southern California) that called themselves Vineyard. As the leader of this new movement, known as the Association of Vineyard Churches, John pastored the pastors and trained and encouraged the planting of churches internationally.
We, the existing Vineyards worldwide (Vineyard Global), are committed to the multiplication of Kingdom and God-minded, Christ-centered communities of local churches and Vineyard movements in all the nations of the world. The Vineyard is growing around the world, with over 2,500 churches in six continents. God has shown us, however, that His desire is not just to build the Vineyard, but that we should promote His Kingdom, and encourage, build, and love the whole church. Learn more about Vineyard USA.
Leaving a Legacy - Pastor Ed Loughran
I, Ed, was raised in a traditional Irish Catholic family in Joliet. Throughout my early days, I always had a heart for God. Even when I was in college, I said my six nightly prayers before going to bed. I also had a moving picture of the face of Jesus that I hung on my wall in my college room. Numerous people in my life modeled a living faith in Jesus, even though later on, that faith to me seemed to be a blind and insufficient faith when seeking to change people’s lives and the cultural brokenness and carnage.
But at college in the early 80’s, I soon felt alone in my faith. I knew no one at my dorm, Catholic or otherwise, who desired to talk about faith or God. A person who once saw the picture of Jesus on my wall asked me if I was a religious fanatic or something, and I said, “No.” I did not want to be a religious fanatic! My isolation from people of faith—real people of faith and not just someone playing flaky religious games - led me to decide to try the lifestyle of the people around me. But I still knew that when I sinned, I could always confess my sins or say my act of contrition before I went to sleep at night. Several years down the road, I learned that the sin I was playing with was now itself playing with me.
In the midst of all this, God was still pursuing on my heart and drawing me to Him. What came through to me during that whole time was that I was not able to be good enough for God. I remember in my last year of Law School complaining to God, “Hey I go to church. I say my prayers and I even read the Bible. What’s your problem, God? I still feel miserable!”
By this time, I’d seen enough Christian TV to have said a sinner’s prayer a hundred times. What God was doing was leading me to the revelation that Christianity was about more than outward conformity to religious rules. It was more than the last place I turned to when I was desperate and could not handle life on my own. I began to realize God wanted all my life. He wanted all my fears, striving, sin, and love. And no matter how much good stuff I did, it would never be enough to earn or deserve God’s favor.
Two points kept going over and over in my head during this time. If God loves me more than I love myself and if He is smarter than me, (God knows how many messes I made!) then why couldn’t I trust him with all my life? After months of these thoughts, of my life seeming to be miserable and of my sin no longer satisfying but crushing my heart, I fell down on my knees and asked God to take all my life. I told him I would drop out of Law School, that I did not care what I thought my plan for my life was supposed to be or of what my friends, family, teachers or my parents thought. (This was in spite of believing that God wanted me to be a lawyer!) I thought of the craziest thing I could do, and I said, “Send me to Africa! I’ll join the Peace Corps!” I did not know if that was what God wanted to do, but that was the clear point in my life of a salvation experience. It was when I surrendered all I had or would be to God. The next day I woke up singing the song, Change My Heart, Oh God. I felt the freedom of life like when I was a child. Three weeks later, I attended a Life in the Spirit seminar with my mother and aunt and was powerfully touched, delivered, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Within the next few weeks, my best friend recommitted his life to the Lord and this cute young lady that I had just recently met, named Molly, soon gave her life to the Lord. Not only did Jesus capture my heart but so did Molly, and the rest is history.
During those wonderful days of grace and power, Molly and I helped many people to find and meet Jesus. We also came into contact of a VHS teaching on healing by a man named John Wimber. We soon sought out a Vineyard church and found one in Evanston. God was moving in incredible amazing ways and we were at home.
In 1991, I completed the two-year church planting training course with the Vineyard. I became Pastor of what was originally called the Joliet Vineyard Christian Fellowship. After several years of church growth and with the wrapping up of my 10+ years of law practice, in January 1999, I “officially” became the full-time Lead Pastor of the Joliet Vineyard - which is now the Legacy Vineyard Church.