“I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” 1 Cor. 9:22
Living Legacy Ministries began in the early 1930’s in the heart of a young boy as he walked the dusty roads of rural North Carolina. Born Warren Allen Pierce in 1921, he was the fourth of 13 children. He was known as ‘Barney,’ the name given to him by his brothers and sisters. As he walked by the neighborhood country church, he would hear men “crying out to God” from the woods nearby. The voice of the Holy Spirit resonated through the prayers of those faithful men. God was calling out his name and Barney responded. His mother straightway ordered this young teen a Bible, because they did not have one in their home.
His father had enforced the disciplines of honesty, integrity, responsibility and hard work in his children. Having had these virtues instilled, Barney had started his own business. When God began to speak to him about a life of ministry, he did not feel qualified for such a call. He had spent his childhood working in the fields and had rarely attended school. As he had become quite successful hauling and selling produce, it was his idea to become God’s businessman and give Him half of his earnings. But for two years his attempts to talk God into calling someone else failed. At the age of about 21 years old, he entered God’s Bible School with no more than a 5th grade education. He became an avid student of the Bible, committing much of it to memory. He began a radio ministry and held evangelistic services throughout the eastern United States. He was fearless and bold in preaching the gospel, often on the streets and in old-fashioned tent meetings. His calling was sure and he never lost focus of his purpose.
As an evangelist and singer he met the “little angel” who would become his wife. Frances Louise Bean, the oldest of three children, was born on Dec 29, 1929. She, unlike Barney, had been taken to church regularly by her parents and at the age of eight she committed her life to Christ. She too, had heard the call of God. When Barney spoke at the college she was attending in early 1948, it did not take them long to realize their desire to live out their calling together and they were married later that year. They embarked on a life of dedication which would include evangelistic services, the writing of more than 300 songs and poems, radio broadcasts and almost 60 years in pastoral ministry. It was once said of them, “Barney and Frances were a team. Wherever you saw one, there was the other. She was the “class” and he was the “fireball.” And that is exactly how they were.
They raised two daughters but in their later years it became of paramount importance to know that all six grandchildren had a relationship with Christ. Although their ministry had impacted an untold number of people, Barney and Frances carried a burden for their own family and knew that they must do all that they could to reach them with the message of God’s love and mercy. They not only lived it; they taught it. Weekly, in their own home, Frances prepared food and a devotional, and wholeheartedly shared it with her teenaged grandchildren. She, who was the quiet one of the two, became a bold, outspoken messenger, clearly on a mission. Before her death in 2005, Frances would see all six of her grandchildren come to know Christ.
Individually, these two servants of God answered His call to “take up your cross & follow me.” Together, they fulfilled the call to “become all things to all people, that by all means, some would be saved.” Their lives and ministry centered around an unwavering faith in the Word of God and a complete dependence on the guidance of His Holy Spirit. Their obedience to the cause of Christ laid the foundation for ministry which continues today through their children and grandchildren. The torch has been passed. The call has been extended to future generations. Their legacy lives on.