Dave Stone is a preacher’s kid who was born in 1961 in the small town of Richmond, Indiana. Connections to Southeast Christian Church began almost at birth. Dave’s late mother, Gwen Stone, grew up in the same town as Judy Russell, wife of retired Senior Pastor Bob Russell.
While in college at Cincinnati Christian University, Dave visited Bob and his family several times. During one visit, Bob loaned him a pair of dress shoes. Dave’s thank-you note after that visit read, “Bob, I have honestly walked a mile in your shoes. It was kind of you to forfeit your ‘sole’ for me.”
That note was prophetic.
In 1984, Dave became the full-time youth pastor at Shively Christian Church in South Louisville. It’s where he met Beth Bowman in the college class. They married Nov. 1, 1985.
For the next several years, Dave served as director of admissions for Cincinnati Bible College.
In 1988, Dave bumped into Bob at a Thanksgiving service at Southeast. Bob said he and the elders would like Dave to join the staff as preaching associate.
For once, Dave was speechless. In the beginning, he preached six to eight times a year and worked with college-age people.
The Stone family grew with three children: Savannah, Sadie and Samuel.
Decades later, they still love Jesus, the church, their parents, their children and ministry. Savannah is married to Patrick Garcia, lead pastor at The Hills Church in Evansville, Indiana. They have three children. Sadie married Southeast member Aaron Joss, a chemical engineer. They live in the Chicago area and are expecting their first baby soon. Sam is assistant to the president at Liberty University and got married May 18.
They had a front-row seat on their dad’s 30-year ministry at Southeast.
“I’m forever grateful I was raised at Southeast Christian Church,” Savannah said. “I was able to grow and learn without the typical scrutiny that a pastor’s kid faces, but have felt spurred onward with genuine love and support from a place that will always feel like home.”
In the pages that follow, The Outlook will share thoughts about Dave from family members, friends and co-workers.