A Q&A with Pastor Kyle Bateson
Kyle is the Lead Pastor of Living Stones Sparks. He was born and raised in Reno, and now lives in Sparks with his wife Amanda and their two children, Josiah (3) and Penelope (1).
Q: Double question to kick it off - How did you know you were called to pastoral ministry? How did you end up leading a church in Sparks?
I know it sounds weird, but God spoke to me. I was leading some ministries at Living Stones and had a few people tell me they thought I should be a pastor. I told them they were crazy and that was the last thing I wanted to do. Then one day, as I was meditating on a sermon where the pastor preached the gospel so powerfully, I heard a loud voice say "This is what I created you to do." I've never heard a voice like that in my life. It was powerful and commanding. The voice of the King. It freaked me out. I told Amanda that night, and she thought it was weird. Then, a couple days later, one of her coworkers (who she never really talked to about anything) looked at her and said "God just told me your husband is going to be a pastor. You guys are going to go through a lot of hardship, but God is going to use you to do great things." Amanda came home and told me the story. Once I accepted God's plan for my life, he gave me a love for the role. I love my job as a pastor.
As for Sparks, that came about through a conversation with Pastor Harvey. My wife and I were looking to buy a house in Sparks, and I couldn't help but think about all the people who needed Jesus in that area. I told Harvey one day while we were playing basketball (after I swatted him). He said, "Why don't you plant a Living Stones church there?" I said "Ok." So I gathered up everyone I could find at Living Stones that lived in Sparks, and we launched the church. It started with a couple community groups. Once we got to 6 groups, we launched Sunday gatherings.
Q: What is your favorite book of the Bible?
Acts is my favorite book in the Bible. It is action packed with normal dudes stepping out in courageous faith and being used by God to move the mission forward. It shows the risk of the mission, but also the reward of boldness. Guys like Paul and Peter are beat up, imprisoned, and chased out of town for their allegiance to Jesus, but when they tell people about Jesus, people believe and entire cities are changed. In Ephesus, Paul preached the gospel with such power that it started to put idol makers, sorcerers, and brothel owners out of business. The message of the gospel, empowered by the Holy Spirit, started to turn the world upside down. When I read it, I think "maybe God could use us like that in Reno and Sparks."
Q: What is your favorite movie?
Inception. I love how it messes with your mind. And I'm pretty sure I've had dreams within dreams.
Q: Who is your favorite musical artist right now?
Macklemore. Dude's got talent and I appreciate his honesty. All of his songs are a great description of our culture.
Q: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Definitely a professional football player. On a couple occasions I also remember telling my dad I wanted to be a missionary.
Q: If you could recommend one non-Bible book for others to read, what would it be?
The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. It's short, entertaining, and full of theology.
Q: Any hobbies?
I like to hunt for deer and Elk. I just took up bow hunting but need to work on my "inner Indian." I also like bird hunting and fishing for all types of fish. I brew beer and like playing sports; specifically if I get to beat Pastor Jason, Pastor George, or Pastor Harvey. I like working out a lot and love to eat chicken wings. I also love hangin' with my wife and playing with my kids.
Q: What do you think is the biggest threat to our church?
The biggest threat to our church is if we start substituting little issues with the big Issue. The big issue is that Jesus is God and savior of the world. If people don't know him, they will go to hell forever, and that is a long time. Jesus is the only way out. He is also the only one who can give any sort of meaning or freedom to our lives now. He has sent us on a mission to tell the world about him. This mission is risky, dangerous, challenging, and messy. If we let comfort become the primary goal of our church, we will stop taking risks, we will want a safe church that doesn't challenge us and is neat and tidy. Little issues that threaten our personal comfort will become the primary focus instead of disciples being mobilized to tell the world about Jesus. At that point, we will be disobeying the very thing he told us to do.
Q: What’s your biggest hope for Living Stones Sparks?
I hope that Living Stones will become the biggest church in Sparks. I hope that it will grow with new believers, not church transfers. I hope that LS Sparks would raise leaders and pastors to plant more churches in this valley, and send missionaries all over the world. I hope that that we would begin to have such an impact that the nearby brothels would be shut down, the poor cared for, marriages restored, and a legacy of Christianity would begin to take root (which is something that has never happened in Northern Nevada). I hope that the people escaping the "dangers" or "filth" of the city to live in the suburbs would be so changed by Jesus that they would put themselves in risky situations for the sake of people knowing him. I hope that manly men would accept the challenge of Jesus to make disciples and begin to value Jesus' mission over their puny mission of having fun on the weekends. I want to see a legacy of Christians committed to the cause of saving souls.