Celebrating 20 years
1997 to 2017
HISTORY OF CHRISTWAY CHURCH
On September 29, 1997 Bro. Leo Lytle held the first service of a tent revival on the corner of Rock Hill Road and Highway 167. There were about 35
people in attendance. He announced at that first service that God had led him to start a new church in this area. He didn’t know exactly where the
church would be built but he was taking a step of faith to begin this church as he felt this was the mission God had for him. This church would be for
the lost in the area that other churches didn’t seek out to be a part of their church family. Chuck and Margaret Davis provided the music. Some of
the people in attendance that night were Jerry and Terry Johnson, Jerry’s sister and mother, Dot and Philbert Bordelon, Rod and Vicki Wiley and
children, Nola Ellington, Charles and Carolyn McVay, Shirley and Dana Canoe, and many others. This revival lasted one week with the last service
being on a Sunday afternoon. Bro. Leo’s family from Shreveport came on the Thursday night of the revival. His brother-in-law, Kent, came and
played the fiddle. The group, HIS, came and sang on Friday night of the revival. Brenda Ogden came and sang on Saturday night of that week.
During the revival $1,267 was collected to do a mail out to the area. This was the birth of Christway Church. During the revival Matthew Wiley and
Mr. Charles McVay were saved and made a public profession of faith.
In September of 1997 arrangements were made to lease a lot on the corner of Rock Hill Road and Highway 167 in Bentley, Louisiana. The cost of the
lease was $1.00 per year. This was the site on which Christway Church was to be built. Construction began in September 1997. Christway Church
was built by Bro. Leo, his father, Jerry Johnson, Charles McVay, Bob Ellington, and several others from the community who donated their time and
labor. The church was built on piers, as we knew this was not the permanent place. The ladies in the church prepared lunch for the men while they
worked on the building. This first incarnation of the church consisted of one building. There was a small nursery, two bathrooms, and the sanctuary.
The seating was metal and wood folding chairs.
Although the building was not fully completed the first service was held on November 23, 1997. The Lord’s Supper was observed on this first service.
The walls had sheet rock, which had only been taped and floated but not painted; and there was no carpet on the floor. The only heat in the building
was electric heaters placed around the room. There was no piano but music was provided by Nola Ellington, who brought a keyboard to play for the
service. During the first service in the building the following people became charter members of Christway Church: Dillon Wiley, Matthew Wiley,
Rodney Wiley Jr, Justin Wiley, Rodney Wiley, Sr., Vicki Wiley, Carolyn McVay, Charles McVay, Giddian Luke Lytle, Leo Lytle, Adam Lytle, Matthew
Lytle, Alta Johnson, Jerry Johnson, Terry Johnson, Jackie Bermudez, Amanda Bermudez, Krystal Bermudez, Francisco Bermudez, Elisa Bermudez,
Melba Fletcher, and Mike Fletcher. The first service was followed by our first Thanksgiving Dinner and praise service on November 26, 1997.
December of 1997 was a very busy month for the Christway Family. Mr. David Kutz, a missionary to Mexico who resides in Picayunne, Mississippi,
came and brought an organ which had been donated to the church from a family in Mississippi. Iatt Baptist Church, through the efforts of their
pastor, Bro. Arthur Mora, donated a piano to Christway. In this same month the church received a donation of hymnals from a friend of Bro. Leo’s. At
this time we began a building and heating fund and welcomed Christway’s Church pianist, Nola Ellington.
The first workday to complete the inside of the sanctuary was held in January of 1998. In February of this same year the church began a fund raiser
selling blocks to complete the Sunday school building. In May of 1998 Christway held their first “Glory Day” to help raise funds to begin building
Sunday school rooms. We also welcomed Joe Aulds as our guest speaker in May. The first Vacation Bible School was held in July of 1998. Moody
Adams was guest speaker at our service on July 14, 1998. The first “Christway Family Night” was held in October of 1998 and in November the youth
went to New Orleans to witness in the French Quarter.
Collections for the church library began in January of 1999. March 14 was our first revival with guest speaker Kent Leonard. In April of 1999 the
original sanctuary was paid off and moved to its present location. In May of the same year work began on the building of a Sunday school addition to
This building consisted of an office, a nursery, 4 Sunday school rooms, and a kitchen. In May 1999 the ladies of Christway Church compiled and
published their own cookbook to sell to assist in the building fund. Mrs. Debbie Bryant printed the books on her computer and also performed the
binding to put the books together. The ladies raised a total of $400 by selling the cookbooks. Mr. Buddy Eznack generously cooked meals, including
brisket lunches, which were sold enabling the church to raise significant amounts of money for the building fund. The church celebrated another first
in May of 1999 with the first graduating High School Senior, Paul Eznack. July 25th brought another milestone when it was announced that Christway
Church was now the proud new owners of the land directly behind the church. August 11th Christway Church celebrated the first ordination ceremony
in the church of its deacon, Bob Ellington. On August 17th the church adopted its constitution and bylaws at the monthly business meeting. Dr. Glen
Bryant spoke at our services on August 29th. We welcomed missionary from China, Mike Robertson on October 10th. In November of 1999 the
youth went to the Delta Women’s Clinic in Shreveport to provide an informational picket against abortion. They went again in 2000 for another
On January 2nd of 2000 the first Sunday school classes were held in the new building. The weekend before the first classes were held there was a
24-hour prayer vigil held in the new building. Mrs. Jackie Schneider was the teacher for the children of school age, Mrs. Charolyn Lytle was the
teacher for the pre-school, and Laurah Gray was the youth teacher. On April 24th of that year we welcomed a new member to the church, Sam
Lytle. Congratulations to Bro. Leo and Charlene Kay, his proud parents. October 23rd 2000 guest Tim Wallace and Perry Sober joined us for a
As of April, 2001, there were 60 members on roll at Christway. There were a total of 10 people saved and baptized during the first year of Christway’s
existence. With baptism services being held at Iatt Baptist Church, Hudson Creek Baptist Church and even a swimming pool at member’s residences.
On April 22nd of 2001 Christway welcomed Travis Glenn, grandson of Charles and Carolyn McVay, as our guest speaker. A men’s prayer breakfast
was held on May 29th of 2001. The first baby dedication was held on September 30, 2001.
On January 20th, 2002 the youth staged an abortion protest by placing a sign and 250 white crosses on the grounds in front of the church for all
passer byres to see. March 24th 2002 Christway welcomed for the first of many visits Paul Daly and his family, performing The Wild Horse Ministries.
In May of 2002 work began on a larger sanctuary. In August of 2002 Linda Messing and Carolyn McVay traveled to Mississippi to purchase new pews
for the new sanctuary. On October 22nd 2002 Bro. Leo Lytle performed his “Baking Soda Whiskers” Tour in Ruston, Louisiana. In February of 2003
Christway Church purchased a used electric piano out of Jonesville, La. for $3000 this money had been raised by the ladies selling lunches.
One special member was Mrs. Lanell Eznack. For 2 years some of the ladies of the church cooked and sold meals every Friday. Mrs. Eznack was
there every Friday until the late summer of 2004. She was able to attend the first two or three Sundays in the new sanctuary before going home to be
with Jesus. Another very special member of our church family was Curly Maxey, father of Philip Maxey. Mr. Maxey was a breath of Holy Spirit when he
entered the church. His prayers were anointed by God and you could feel God’s love in Mr. Maxey. We were so blessed to have had both Mrs.
Lanell and Mr. Maxey in our church family.
In August of 2005 we provided a temporary home to several families displaced by hurricanes Katrina a Rita. We continued to house some of these
people for three months. There was a lot of work involved in getting the Sunday School rooms turned into bedrooms but what a blessing our church
family received by getting to know and help these families.
In October of 2005 the Lanell Eznack Samaritan House opened. This was planned earlier but plans had to be put on hold due to the hurricanes and
the need for the church to be a shelter for the people from New Orleans. The Samaritan House started out in a very small mobile home behind the
church. Soon after opening the doors the Samaritan House became inundated with donations and items were stored in the unfinished building behind
the church. At that time Buddy Eznack blessed the church again by allowing the Samaritan House to relocate to a house he owned at 6979 Hwy 8.
This house has 3 large rooms, a kitchen, bathroom, and a small room. As of November, 2007 the house is completely full of clothing and other
articles to be sold. The community has taken notice and almost every time a church member goes to the Samaritan House the carport is full of
donations left anonymously. The people in Grant Parish have been so wonderful in donating to the Samaritan House. The money raised from the
Samaritan House is used to help senior citizens. The church has helped many with utilities, medicines, and sponsored several seniors at the Food
Bank. The Samaritan House also aids seniors in completing forms to get signed up for free or reduced price medicines. The motto of the Samaritan
House is “ Serving Christ By Serving His People”, and that’s exactly what we are trying to do. The Lanell Eznack Samaritan House was named after
the beloved Mrs. Lanell Eznack because she loved the lord, and was always serving Christ’s people both physically and spiritually. Mrs. Lanell’s
church family named the Samaritan house after her to remind them of what she stood for and the wonderful example that she led for her church and
her family. We felt this was the best way we could to honor the memory of this great Christian lady. “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is
far above rubies.”
On May 25th 2006 Christway was joined by guest speaker Bobby Campo from Montgomery, La. The church started a fund raising project in the fall of
2006 in order to pay the remaining balance of the loan for the church. We established a “Joash Box”. By the spring of 2007 our church became
totally debt free.
From the beginning of Christway until June, 2007 there have been at least 10 babies born and 6 members who went home to be with God. There
have been 6 weddings held at Christway. Christway Church was built by many while being led by two of the best and most beloved men. From the
first service in 1997 to August of 2004 Bro. Leo Lytle led the church in worship services. At which time he began a one year sabbatical until August of
2005. During this time Bro. Richard Kaufman joined the church as interim pastor. Since this time Bro. Richard has gone on to preach at his own
church in Marthaville, La. The lord has truly blessed the church and its members by bringing these two Christian men and their families to the
community. They have been welcomed in as part of the family and will remain in our hearts no matter where the Lord takes them. On December 2,
2007 we held a special anniversary service. Bro. Richard Kaufman read The Church Triumphant and then gave a testimony on what his time of being
interim pastor for 9 months at Christway meant to him. Then Robert Mendenhall, Deacon, awarded a certificate of Pastor Emeritus to Bro. Leo Lytle.
Several members gave their testimony on what Christway means to them as part of the church family. It was a great servce. God has truly blessed
In the beginning of June, 2008 we were blessed again when God sent Bro. Delbert Cates and his family to be our pastor. He is bringing new life and
growth to Christway and we are so happy to have him as our pastor.