An internal change
Reno Assembly of God
Reno Assembly of God, Truckee Meadows Christian Center524 Bell St.
Reno, NV 89503
The Reno Assembly of God is a Christian church in Reno, and it’s occupied the same spot since 1937. The current pastor is Brent Johnson, who has had the leadership position for 13 years. The Assembly of God church is affiliated with four major Christian beliefs: Protestant, Trinitarian, Evangelical and Pentecostal. This church is also part of four organizations: The National Association of Evangelicals, the Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches of North America, the Pentecostal World Fellowship, and the World Assemblies of God Fellowship.
The church is downtown near St. Mary’s hospital on Bell Street and has a plain white front with the exception of a large blue neon cross affixed above the entrance. Once across the threshold, the congregants are greeted and led into a moderately sized, humble hall that holds enough soft purple chairs to seat about 150 people comfortably. There were about 25 in attendance. Lining the walls are banners proclaiming, “Rejoice,” or “Great is the Lord,” and at the end of the room is a small stage, which holds the altar with a large cross behind it and flags on either side—one American, the other a white and blue flag of the church. All the accoutrements needed for a rock ‘n’ roll band are also evident on the stage.
The Sunday evening service began with singing contemporary Christian music. Songs about surrendering to faith and the wealth of God filled the hall through the wall-mounted speakers. The band on stage was led by a tambourine man with a microphone, a bassist, drummer and piano player. Some of the worshippers raised their hands to the ceiling as they sang, while others abandoned the lyrics and proclaimed hallelujahs or amens.
Pastor Brent Johnson opened by talking to the people and asking for testimonials. Various people offered up recent events in their lives, including ministries they led, such as one at a retirement home or one to begin at the jail on Parr Boulevard. Their proclamations always include descriptions of God’s work in their lives. The group was quick to laugh and clap, and small eruptions of “amen” or “praise” could be heard from around the room. The service is very interactive—prayer is perpetual and not always led by the pastor.
The sermon was given by Jeff Maurer, who is studying at the Global University to become a pastor. Maurer talked about how God affects a person’s life in unknown ways. He used the example of a carnation set to soak in water with food coloring to cause a slow internal change, and he likened God to a photographer who is slowly developing people’s lives without their full understanding.
The service closed after about two hours with more singing and prayer, to which the pastor addressed any specific troubles that were mentioned by the congregation. Then the people were set loose on the city.
The Reno Assembly of God church has events throughout the year to help the community: working with Saint Vincent’s dining hall to feed the homeless as well as assisting with the homeless, shelters in the area by creating packages of toiletries to be donated. During the week, there are Bible study groups for the adults and youth activities like the “Royal Rangers” and “Impact Girls,” which can be compared to a Christian version of the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, where the kids can learn to tie knots or earn cooking badges.