Joseph and Kristen Gibbons share gospel light amidst Las Vegas’ dark places

It’s a place where you can play golf at midnight, a place where slot machines outnumber ATM’s and a place where an expertly grilled ribeye can be had for the princely sum of $3.99. And yet, the most unique feature of Las Vegas might be this: when viewed from space, Las Vegas is the brightest city on Earth. As a matter of fact, the lights here are so bright, it’s almost impossible to see what’s hiding in the dark.

Joseph Gibbons and his wife Kristen will never forget the first time they discovered what was hiding in Las Vegas’ dark places.

“In 2019, we were invited to lead a youth weekend in Las Vegas,” Joseph says. “And while we were preparing for the trip, we learned that Las Vegas is our nation’s capital for teenage homelessness. The statistics were disheartening, but then the moment on that trip when we met a homeless teen, the statistics became a story for us.”

“This girl was probably 13 years old,” Kristen says. “She didn’t know where she was going to be from one night to the next. This was her life. And that just confirmed to us that this place needs someone, a church that can help meet the needs of these kids.”

That encounter led the Gibbons to do something drastic. In August of 2020, Joseph, Kristen and their two kids, along with five other friends, left their homes in Alabama and moved to the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson to plant Favor City Church.

At first glance, Las Vegas would appear to be a difficult place to start a church because it is a city full of instability. In addition to its teenage homeless population, it’s known as a place where families, drawn by high-paying but stressful tourist sector jobs, come and then go. This is why the Gibbons decided to make Favor City Church a place that felt like home for anyone, no matter what they happened to believe.

“We wanted our church to be a place where people can come and feel like they belong to a community that loves them,” Kristen says, “and in that, discover how Jesus loves them. We say, ‘Favor City is a place where you can belong before you believe.’”

Favor City Church grew quickly as people first belonged and then believed. In two years, attendance has grown to 150. They’ve baptized 30 people. They’re training a church planter apprentice who’ll soon plant another church in another nearby neighborhood. They’re even building witnessing relationships with homeless teenagers by partnering with a local ministry that was already active in their community. Step by step, God is using the Gibbons to shine the light of His gospel into Las Vegas’ darkest places.

“We started a church in Las Vegas simply by building relationships,” says Joseph.  “And out of those relationships, that’s where we’re able to see the disciple-making process happen and the church be born. And now, we’re seeing entire families come to know Jesus as their savior. It just blows my mind and I’m humbled to be a part of the story God’s writing for His kingdom in Las Vegas.”

Jospeh and Kristen Gibbons are some of the many church planting missionaries supported by generous gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. To learn more about their story, and to discover how you and your church can support church planting and compassion ministry all across North America, visit

Published April 4, 2024

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