A Brief History of the Minter Lane Church of Christ
Minter Lane began in 1946 as a Wednesday night Bible class held in the homes of several members of the Northside Church of Christ who lived on the semi-rural northern edge of Abilene. When the class grew to 35 members, the Northside elders agreed to help the group start a new congregation. The first official meeting was on July 7, 1947, in a Camp Barkeley barracks building that had been moved to the corner of Ambler and Graham Streets. Within five years the church had purchased another barracks building, and by 1959 the membership had grown to over 500.
Because many of the members lived in the Hillcrest neighborhood near Abilene Christian, the Graham Street leaders decided to form a new congregation there. The group at Graham Street continued to grow, and by 1963 plans were made to move to a new location on the corner of Minter Lane and Vogel Avenue. Erected and furnished almost entirely by members, the new Minter Lane building was dedicated on February 9, 1964. From the late 1960s through the late 1980s, the congregation grew in numbers, with two services on Sunday mornings, and even on Sunday evenings, in the mid-1980s.
Through the years pulpit ministers at Minter Lane have included Paul Faulkner, Tex Williams, Tony Ash (twice), Landon Saunders, Art McNeese, Tom Milholland, Ron Prater, Mike Lewis, and Danny Mercer; our current preacher is Albert Acosta. During most of its history, the congregation has had part-time ministers, often from the faculty at Abilene Christian University. This led naturally to a strong student presence in the congregation, and Minter Lane has seen itself as a place where university students can be nurtured in their faith and can become important parts of a Christian community. Youth and university ministers have also most often been Abilene Christian University students, a mutually enriching arrangement.
Minter Lane has been very active in supporting world missions since its beginning. Currently the congregation sponsors Yancey and Sherry Farris in Guinea, and Carladean Thompson in Kenya; and assists the work of Gari and Karen Oliveira in Brazil, Dawson and Amy Robb in Wisconsin, and Lindsey Peterson in Santiago, Chile.
Though the church originally moved to the Minter Lane location to evangelize and serve the neighborhood, for many years only sporadic attempts were made to reach the people within a few blocks of the building. In 1999, led by Chris Boyce, a ministry called Saturdays at Minter was begun to teach and feed the children of the area. This ministry has impacted many neighborhood families for good now as part of our regular Wednesday and Sunday classes. Also, neighborhood walk and Friends Speak programs have begun in the last couple of years, efforts that model what it means to be Christ to those who live around us.
Minter Lane is a smaller congregation than it was two decades ago. We like most congregations in some sense in transition. We pray that we are in transition to being more what Christ would have us be.