The Church of Christ in Lytle actually traces its roots to about 1858 when a congregation met at the head of Luros Creek in Atascosa County. The congregation in later years spread to what is now the city of Lytle. Records are not clear from 1858 to about 1943. The Luros Creek Congregation was probably strengthened in 1872 by N.A.V. (Navy) Henderson who was, according to records, a very strong man in the faith of the Church of Christ. “Navy” preached for the Benton City Congregation (Luros Creek). History isn’t clear as to the congregation from about 1943 to 1948. However it is possible that during those years the members of the congregation were worshiping with the Church of Christ at Natalia. The Luros Creek, or Benton City Congregation, seemed to dissolve about this period of time.
In the summer of 1948 it was decided that the Natalia Church of Christ members who resided in or near Lytle should form a congregation in Lytle. Concept became reality when a tent was raised by a brother Profitt of Oklahoma who came to conduct a tent revival meeting. The tent was set up on property now occupied by the Ram Store on what was formerly called the new Highway 81 (now 132) and is now called Main Street.
After this July 1948 Tent Revival Meeting, Lytle School Board granted permission for the newly formed congregation to meet in the High School band hall, a building that had been purchased by the school from the Hondo Air Force Base. That building had been previously used as a stockade and base jail at Hondo. When construction of the Primary School began, the building was purchased and moved to Big Foot where it stands today as a craft and gift shop. The original bars from when it served as a jail are still on the windows. (The building originally stood where the Southeast corner of the Primary School campus is today).
Members who came from Natalia congregation to form the new Lytle congregation were:
Mr.& Mrs Zach Pruitt, Mr.& Mrs. Floyd Smelzer & family, Mr. & Mrs. Johnny Johnson & family, Mr. & Mrs. Clovis Young & family, Mrs. Ruth Gibson & family, Mr. Joe and Ms. Alice Southall, Mr. & Mrs. Elmer Wells & family, Mr. Clyde Hogue & Family, Mr.& Mrs. Berry, Mr. & Mrs. Terrell Whitehead & family, Mr. & Mrs. Valton Oakley & family, Mr. & Mrs. Dale Slaughter & family, Mr. & Mrs. Frank Neville & family, Mr. & Mrs. Carson Ohlhausen & family and Ms. Bertha Ohlhausen
(Surely there were others who worshiped with the new congregation that escape the memory and research of this writer. Of those listed, many have gone to their eternal rest, but their descendants continue to worship with us.)
In the winter of 1949 the men of the congregation met to decide on a permanent building site for a church building. Arrangements were made to purchase a portion of the Roy Etherize property facing what was then the new Highway 81. The property was surveyed, purchased and deeded to the Lytle Church of Christ for $1000. The money was a gift from Mr.& Mrs. Zach Pruitt. The deed set forth Zach Pruitt, Clovis Young and Frank Neville as the first Trustees for the newly formed congregation. In early 1950 the foundation for the new building and the baptistery was poured.
The building was constructed of cinder blocks for the outer walls. Most of the lumber was purchased in Moore, Texas from a building being torn down. Most of the lumber was thick and rough sawn. For the most part it was pure heart pine and extremely hard. Frank Neville (local cabinet maker and carpenter) undertook the task of resawing the old lumber into suitable dimensions for trusses and floor joists. The walls were equipped with casement type windows that could be opened for ventilation. Flooring was center match oak wood. In later years, following construction of the main building, classrooms and a fellowship meeting room were added. Hundreds were baptized in the concrete baptistery and untold thousands have visited during the worship service over the years.
On October 8, 1994 at about three o’clock on that Saturday afternoon, an electrical short caused the old building to catch fire and burn. While the building was not completely consumed by the fire, the damage was so extensive that insurance appraisers declared the edifice a total loss. What bittersweet memories that fire evoked!
Due to the overwhelming benevolence of scores of people from all over the country and with insurance protection the congregation was able to construct a larger, modern meeting house. The new facility can seat 180 and is complete with classrooms, rest rooms, nursery, offices and a fellowship room that accommodate nearly 200 people. God surely has blessed the wonderful people of the Lytle Church of Christ. So from that early tent meeting the Lytle congregation has grown into one of the larger congregations of the Churches of Christ from San Antonio to Laredo.
ON THE WEB
In the Spring of 1998, we made public our first website, dedicated to our late elder, Miley Dove. We have retained a worldwide web presence since winter of 2007 when the website (www.lytlechurchofchrist.com) was shut down because the man who had maintained the site all those years, moved to worship elsewhere. A new church website was reintroduced in Spring of 2008 when lytlechurchofchrist.110mb.com (hosted by a free service) was started by Bro. Mitch Watkins. And finally in May of 2012 Bro. Mitch Watkins published the current website (lytlechurchofchrist.org). In March of 2014 Bro. Mitch Watkins published a new blog-style website to mirror this one at lytletxcoc.wordpress.com. Though the Wordpress blog website still exists, updates were discontinued in September 2016. During the Covid-19 pandemic of early 2020, a Facebook page was published in late March (www.facebook.com/Lytle-Church-Of-Christ) to compliment the website.
HIGH TECH &
In August 2007 we added a new dimension to our worship with the installation of a multimedia projection system. Also a Spanish Bible study was started with Bro.Darrel Robertson leading the study. Bro. Roberston also provided scripture verses and commentary in Spanish along with his sermons. Unfortunately, with Bro. Robertson’s departure in September of 2008 the Spanish Bible study and use of Spanish during the sermon portion of our worship was discontinued.
Over the years the congregation has been served by a host of preachers. Again, this list may not be complete. However, among those known to have labored in the Lord with this congregation are:
Dale Slaughter – First minister
Louie White–First full-time minister
Willis Jernigan III (1961-1972)
Dan Pitts (1972-1978)
Maurice Tisdel (1978-1981)
J.D. Brown (1981-1984)
Charles Sweeten (1984-1990)
Dan Pitts (1990-1997)
David Templeton (1997-1998)
Clint Hale (1998-2001)
Ralph Beaty (2002-May 2003)
David Lewis (Oct 2003-Oct 2006)
David Emery (Interim Oct 2006-Feb 2007)
Darrel Robertson (Feb 2007-Sep 2008)
Tom Woodard (Interim Oct 2008-Dec 2009
Tom Woodard – Pulpit Minister (Jan 2010-Present)
Mitch Watkins – Family & Education Minister (Jan 2010-Present)
On September 22, 2013 the Lytle congregation officially celebrated 65 years of service and worship to the glory of God with a special service, fellowship luncheon and trip down memory lane presentation. Many former members and relatives of founding members were able to attend and share recollections of their time in Lytle. It was a wonderful and uplifting time of being with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and worshiping God.
We look forward to many more years of service and worship in Lytle and the surrounding area and pray that God blesses our efforts to reach and evangelize all those in need of a Savoir. Our fervent desire is the same as the apostle Paul’s: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle — I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles” (1 Timothy 2:1-7 [NIV]).
2018 marked 70 years of Christian service to Jesus Christ and our Father God. As stated in the paragraph above, we look forward to many more years of service and worship in Lytle and the surrounding area and pray that God will bless our efforts to reach and evangelize all those in need of a Savior and to help all we can in whatever manner we're able!
God has been, is being and forever will be gracious in his mercy and we thank Him fervently for every blessing (and even what we consider curses as these help us to strengthen our faith and courage) He has bestowed upon his children! Thank you, Father for our one-on-one personal relationship we have with You through our Savior, Jesus!
This history of the church in Lytle is based on one previously compiled (circa 1995) by Dan Pitts. Dan is a beloved brother in Christ, who is not only a powerful preacher (retired) and song leader (retired), but has been quite an organizer, citizen, and historian. He graciously allowed me to use this history so that we can all meditate on past generations – not quickly forgetting their faith, their work, their dreams, and their struggles.
History written by Dan Pitts (1995) and updated by David Wilkinson (1995-2010)
History further updated by Mitchell Watkins (2010-Ongoing)