The fledgling congregation of Legacy Christian Center might meet in a movie theater, but members get a live performance every week.
Actually, they get two, on Sunday morning and Wednesday night, when the Rev. Kevin Casterline stands at a lectern, with a big screen behind him, and preaches a sermon. The church gathers in what used to be the FunHouse Theater, at the corner of Ninth Avenue West and Broadwater Avenue in Billings.
Entry into the church is through the building's back door. Adults meet in one of the screening rooms, which seats about 90, and children are cared for in the room next door.
Casterline, 37, a native of Wolf Point, leads the nondenominational church that has a charismatic/Pentecostal personality. About 20 people attend each week.
He and his wife, Stacey, started a church in their Billings home in August 2009 and then moved services to the basement of the YMCA three months later. Then a couple of months ago Casterline found the old movie theater, and he liked what he saw.
“I love this building, this location,” he said, sitting at a small table outside the two screening rooms. “I told the owner that I'm buying it from him. I just don't know when.”
Besides the central location — about 19,000 vehicles drive by each day — Casterline sees potential in the building itself. Some day he'd like to operate a bookstore and coffee shop in it.
“People fellowshipping is important,” he said. “We want to use part of it for youth. And a long ways down the road, we want a Christian university.”
Casterline knows that seems ambitious, but he said he and Stacey are in Billings for the long haul. For them both, Billings is now home.
Stacey grew up in from Minnesota and Kevin in northeastern Montana. He moved to Seattle in 1992, where he learned the roofing trade.
In Seattle, he also met his wife-to-be at the All Nations Christian Center.
“Over a couple of years, we both knew we were called to full-time ministry,” Casterline said. “We didn't choose the occupation. It chose us.”
You have free articles remaining.
In 2004, the couple helped start a church in Mt. Vernon, Wash., where Casterline served as associate pastor and youth pastor. After that, they helped found a church in Kellogg, Idaho.
All the while, they were in training for the day they would plant their own church.
“Then one day, my pastor asked us where we would go if we could go anywhere, and this was the spot,” Casterline said, speaking of Billings. “My wife picked it.”
They moved here in June 2009. Casterline started a roofing business, KC Roofing, which the bi-vocational minister still runs. Though he's all for pastors getting paid — “I think they deserve it” — Casterline likes working with his hands and not being dependent on others for his living.
“That leaves me free to love people,” he said. “The downside is I spend a lot of hours awake.”
His busy season as a roofer falls between April and October. The rest of the time, Casterline is able to help his wife, who also works, care for their two young children.
As for the focus of Legacy Christian Center, he said it's on families and single moms and fatherless youth. He wants to care for people unfamiliar with church who are hurt and broken.
“The reason I have a heart for people in that situation is that they don't have to be in that situation,” he said “If I have a cure for a disease, I'm not going to put it in my pocket.”
Casterline also has a soft spot for pastors in small towns who often don't have much access to the resources that they need. He and his wife hope in the long run to make their church a place where those pastors can come to find help and encouragement.
He knows a lot of his big plans won't come to fruition for some time to come. So he'll keep showing up in the screening room to share the gospel message, and he keeps one eye on the theater church's future.
“I don't see it for what it is now,” Casterline said. “I see it for what it could be, an opportunity to serve people. That's what it's all about, serving people.”
Contact Susan Olp at 657-1281 or email@example.com.