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Living Stones Church


Living Stones Church

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This may sound trite, but it’s true. Living Stones is not a group of people that talk about some vague God and help each other find true friendship – we are a group of people who preach about, teach about, and follow the real Jesus. If he didn’t rise from the dead then our faith is meaningless, and we hold very closely to that. Without Jesus we’re simply a collection of users, losers, jerks, prudes, bigots, snobs and those who pretend they’re not users, losers, jerks, prudes, bigots, or snobs.

But more specifically, Living Stones began with amateur rapper Harvey Turner at a party. That evening, stoned out of his mind, Harvey had a vision that he was preaching the gospel to a large group of people, which, he concluded, meant that God was telling him to start a church for people who also like to smoke weed.

Harvey was only half right. He ended up starting a Bible Study a couple years later so he could preach the message of Jesus Christ to several close stoner friends who wouldn’t otherwise attend church (one of those stoners, George Velarde, is now an Executive Elder at LS). Harvey would show up at their house, clear beer cans off the couch, and the group would discuss the book of Galatians. Harvey would rattle off Jesus-centered reformed theology: the sovereignty of God, providence, total depravity, and whatever else Calvin and Luther said to his red-eyed friends.

The Bible study struggled for awhile (some weeks no one would show up), and Harvey, dejected, thought about quitting the venture. But God, in a less than audible but more than internal way, told Harvey to “Preach the Word.” He did, and people started getting saved.

That Bible study eventually became co-ed, and grew into a sort of house church which, based on 1 Peter 2:4-5, adopted the name Living Stones. Naturally, the members of Living Stones began calling themselves “Stoners.” They would sing the few songs they knew, which were displayed on an overhead projector, and Harvey would lead the discussion of the Bible. The house church continued to multiply, and soon the living room was filled to the brim, with people sitting on the staircase and around the hallway corner.

Once Living Stones outgrew the living room, the gathering was moved to Grace Church, where Harvey was a deacon. At the encouragement of Senior Pastor Dan Frank, Living Stones began meeting on Friday nights, and Harvey began to preach through the book of John (which he considered to be a “running commentary/rant”). And people continued to get saved, baptized, and transformed.

Extra services were added as the church grew, and it became clear that the walls of Grace Church could not house two distinct mega-churches. Living Stones decided to move to Lawlor Events Center on the University of Nevada, Reno campus and officially branched from Grace Church in January of 2010, with a generous financial gift from the Grace elders.

But there was a need for permanent office space, storage, and classrooms, so Living Stones finally moved to one of its current locations at 445 S. Virginia St., just south of downtown Reno, in October of 2011. It was in this year that Living Stones was named the 24th fastest growing church in America by Outreach magazine.

But God’s movement through Living Stones did not end with the planting of a church in a single location.

Living Stones Sparks started in the Spring of 2010 with Kyle Bateson, a gifted preacher called to plant a church. LS Sparks began with three community groups and was the first experiment in Living Stones’ strategy to be a church that plants churches. LS Sparks began meeting at the Rock church in February of 2011, then moved to Mendive middle school, where it is currently located, in September of 2011. LS Sparks, and Kyle’s blonde beard, have grown significantly since this time.

Living Stones Elko began as pastor Nathan Hornback began playing the podcast with his wife and another couple,and within a year the group grew enough to be officially made a Living Stones Church in September of 2011. The Elko Church has been one of the most prolific churches within the entire Acts 29 network, growing at a near exponential pace. As of this writing, Living Stones Elko is the largest church in Elko history.

Bobby Grossi became the Lead Pastor at Living Stones Reno in the fall of 2012. A talented evangelist, Pastor Bobby brings his relational gifts to Living Stones’ hub in downtown Reno after serving as the Lead Pastor of Living Stones West, which merged with the Reno church in 2012 to provide health and stability to our Reno congregation. Pastor Bobby has been with Living Stones for ten years, and has previously served as the Family Pastor at Grace Church and the Counseling Pastor at Living Stones.

Living Stones Churches joined the Mars Hill Network in early 2013. This network provides access to resources, training, and relationships with other churches that align with us theologically and philosophically.

The rest of this story is still being written. Living Stones carries the mission statement of “disciples making disciples,” and while this vision statement has only recently been added, the truth behind the statement has been evident throughout the story of Living Stones’ existence. Through one disciple, God has brought forth a church that has baptized hundreds of people, planted three churches within it’s central network, and has assisted in planting dozens of churches through the Acts 29 network, making disciples who will continue to make disciples.