The Story of Living Stones
IT BEGINS WITH JESUS
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. Jesus is the cornerstone upon whom our church is built.
PREACH THE WORD
But more specifically, Living Stones began with amateur rapper Harvey Turner at a party. That evening, Harvey had a vision that he was preaching the gospel to a large group of people, which, he concluded, meant God was telling him to start a church.
Harvey ended up starting a Bible Study a couple years later so he could preach the message of Jesus Christ to several close non-Christian friends who wouldn’t otherwise attend church (among them was George Velarde, who has long been a pastor 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 meeting Jesus.
FROM BIBLE STUDY TO CHURCH
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. 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 served as 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 large 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. 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, in September of 2011. LS Sparks has since moved into its own permanent location and the church has 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.
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.