Bill Kristijanto on vocals, Patrick Turley on drums, Ben Kristijanto on lead guitar and Tim Barnes on bass guitar make up the band Bread of Stone.
Bill Kristijanto on vocals, Patrick Turley on drums, Ben Kristijanto

on lead guitar and Tim Barnes on bass guitar

make up the band Bread of Stone.
February 4, 2014

For the four members of Christian rock band Bread of Stone,

God's love is something that is found in actions, not just words.

"When I'm writing, I try not to stick with the given," explained 30-year-old lead singer Ben Kristijanto as he sat in the back of a tour bus with his fellow band members. "Yes, Jesus loves us, but how does He do it? We can feel God at work, not in massive things, but by focusing on the simple, small things. He pays attention to the small details, to show us He cares, He loves us - what are we doing with that?"

The band also posed these questions to the audience last week at a Wednesday night concert held in the St. Lawrence Center gym.

"We get caught up in daily things and think God is unfair. If we take a step back, maybe God sees things differently," Kristijanto continued. "We see fair, not fair, right, wrong, good, evil, but love doesn't always work according to those standards. Am I wiling to accept that love?"

The free concert was a promotion and preview of the types of artists Carroll can expect this summer at REAL Fest, a proposed three-day music festival to promote adoption and foster services.


Ben and older brother Bill, 32, were born in Indonesia. They moved to Sioux City, Iowa, in 1992 and entered elementary school not speaking English.

"People in school thought we were black," Bill recalled with a laugh. "We were the only colored folks in school."

In 1999, their father told them that he felt in his heart that they should start a music ministry - a challenging calling for a pair of brothers with no musical inclinations. So they started where any good teenagers would - with guitar lessons.

They worked their way into a local church praise band before feeling called to take their music further. Five years after their first lessons, the brothers formed the band. Bill remains the lead guitarist.

"We're stones - only through Christ do we become a blessing for other people," Bill said, sharing the inspiration for the band's name.

Bass player Tim Barnes, 24, joined the band in 2008. He had been playing bass for seven years at the time and was also heavily involved in a praise band in Sioux City. But in his years as a home-schooled student, he had never traveled farther than neighboring Minnesota, leaving him apprehensive at the possibility of leaving home and his family, even though "the Lord kept bringing it up," Barnes said.

He credits his father, also a guitarist, with teaching him how to follow the Lord, and said that his father's encouragement gave him much-needed strength to join the band, the first step on an as-yet unfinished journey, one that Barnes never imagined being a part of.

"God had to break me of being comfortable," he explained.

Drummer Patrick Turley, 25, joined Bread of Stone in 2012. He first saw the group perform in 2009 on a Newsboys tour, then again in 2011 on a Superchick tour. The third time he saw them, he actually met them, and later that year they called to ask him to make the trek from his native Texas to Sioux City to get to know the band members.

"I got to know their hearts. The music is just a form of what the true ministry is about. We're just vessels in this - without God, we're inadequate. The whole point of what we do is to love God daily," Turley said. "When I saw that, it wasn't in their words, it was in their actions, and that was something I was drawn to. I wanted to be a part of it."


The band has played in each of the 48 contiguous U.S. states, and all of the Canadian provinces except the Northern Territory, performing between 150 and 200 shows each year. Five years ago, they tallied their first overseas appearance when they traveled back to the Kristijanto brothers' native Indonesia for the first time.

The Kristijantos' father had traveled back and forth many times and connected the band with a friend of his who was serving as pastor for a community a "scavengers" - poor individuals who scour the garbage for recyclable materials that they often sell for pennies in an effort to feed their families. But when a pastor's community doesn't have money, the offering will be small, often leaving the pastor to work by day and minister by night. In 2009, the band members set off to complete mission work and learn more about how they could help.

"It really opened up our hearts and eyes, and we felt God asking us to take a step farther," said Bill.

More than 85 percent of Indonesia's population is Muslim.

"You can't just go out and have a Christian music festival or preach. These (pastors) come in and just serve. This person sees it, and changes, then this person sees it and changes, one person at a time," Bill said. "God's not asking us to pour money at this, he's asking our response to this."

The goal of The Light Project is to empower and support local ministries so the pastors and leaders can focus on their service, on sharing God's love in their communities, whether it is through running an orphanage or providing shelter for women and children who have been abused, Bill said.

"It was quite eye-opening - seeing that country, the way people were, but also seeing America outside America, said Barnes of his first trip to Indonesia. "I was being freed of my own self, my selfishness, my pride. The Lord wants us to be rid of ourselves."

Turley took his first mission trip with the band in November.

"It was life-changing," he said simply. "The misconception is that you're going there to pour into someone's life, but what you find out is they're pouring into yours... They love God by loving others. It opened my heart to be changed from the inside out, to not just say that I love someone or I care or I believe in Christ, but to truly live out what I say I believe - to not let it just be something off the tip of my tongue, but something that is rooted in my heart."

Rather than hold a benefit concert for one community or another, the band members earmark 10 percent of their total profit, from ticket sales to merchandise, to send to the communities they help serve on their trips. They envision the project as a movement, not an organization. Rather than ask fans to donate to their cause, band members encourage fans to serve and support causes of their own.


The band recorded independently until last spring, when members signed with Dream Records.

"We wanted a partner with the same heart," Bill explained. "It's not about playing gigs, but about the ministry. We're just a tool for God to form."

They released their most recent album, "The Real Life," in September, and plan to release a deluxe edition this spring, available for pre-order on iTunes on March 4.

More information on the band is available at, and more information on the ministry is available at

For those who missed the performance in Carroll, Bread of Stone will be returning to Iowa for a performance in Holstein on Feb. 8. The band will also be back this summer in the REAL Fest lineup.

Organizer Jeff Hauser first met them when they were setting up their own equipment for a show.

"Such a small part of what they do is on stage," he said.