Church of the Living Word

Serving the people of the North Hills and the greater Los Angeles area since 1964.

The name “Church of the Living Word” reflects the experience congregants found in the teachings of John Robert Stevens as defined in Hebrews 4:12:

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

The living Word of God, whether found in the ancient Scriptures of the Old Testament, or in the writings of Christ’s disciples of the New Testament, or in the speaking and writings of anointed men and women of God in modern times, has the ability to be life-creating and life-changing. The living Word that John Stevens spoke was the cornerstone on which the Church of the Living Word was founded. The congregants’ dedication to the Word and to walking out the mission of the Church came from experiencing the Word of God as living and active in their lives. The founding members determined that the church would be patterned after the churches of the New Testament, contending for biblical truth and apostolic authority in this modern age.

LAPD Chaplain

Many of the founding members had been attending Grace Chapel in South Gate, California, but were looking to establish a church in the San Fernando Valley. In the early 1960s, a small group began to meet in various homes and facilities around the Valley until they were able to build the current facility in North Hills. The blueprints for the new church and some of the construction work were donated by a contractor and elder in the Church, John McKune. Also, men and women from the congregation who had a vision for the new church gave themselves to help build the church with their own time and labor. In 1964, the current sanctuary was completed.

The first service was held in the newly built A-frame sanctuary on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1964, and the building was dedicated in 1965. Church of the Living Word was incorporated as an independent congregation in March of 1968.


In 1969, John Stevens began the School for Ministries on Saturday mornings at Church of the Living Word. These lessons were videotaped and later distributed worldwide. The church continued to support this ministry by printing and publishing Stevens’ teachings and illumination of the Scriptures. This is what came to be known as “the living Word” to this generation.

In the very early days of the church, God gave the congregation the vision to build a school to train young people both academically and spiritually. In faith, they purchased land across the street from the church to prepare the way for this future school.

The church launched the school in September 1974 by holding classes in the small houses on the lots across the street. Construction also began on an annex to the church that would initially house the school. By the early 80s, the school consisted of preschool through high school.


In the early 90s, construction began on the current school facility, and by 1997, construction was completed. The school campus now includes educational facilities, an athletic field, state-of-the-art elementary play yard, and an amphitheater for school assemblies.

Originally the school was called Centers of Learning. However, the name was changed to North Valley Christian School in 2019. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The church facilities include a sanctuary, offices, a large kitchen, and fellowship areas. The sanctuary has been used for many purposes over the years. It has hosted choir performances from universities such as Yale, Princeton, UCLA, and USC.


As a blessing to the local community, the church has hosted everything from Bible conferences to art shows, as well as events for the Los Angeles Police Department and its chaplains. The sanctuary is also used by North Valley Christian School as the auditorium for assemblies, musicals, and chapel services.

Church of the Living Word has always been an independent church, and through much of its history was affiliated with other churches started by John Robert Stevens. This fellowship of churches came to be known as the Living Word Fellowship. During this time, much of the oversight of the congregation was directed by the leadership of the Living Word Fellowship.

LAPD Chaplain

Under the leadership of John Robert Stevens and later Gary and Marilyn Hargrave, the church witnessed many incredible ministries who were faithful to their calling, giving their lives in the house of God. Many people came to know the Lordship of Jesus Christ as well as His unconditional love and forgiveness. The church campus has been the site of many baptisms, weddings, memorials, as well as the celebrations of the ancient biblical feasts, including Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles, and Purim.

The Living Word Fellowship was dissolved in November 2018 and Church of the Living Word reorganized its operating structure. The congregation is now led by local elders and managed by local trustees.

Church of the Living Word is poised for a new season of growth and blessing as the congregation and leadership commit to faithfully follow the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, and to share the living Word of God with those who desire a daily walk with the Lord.