A History of Webb Chapel, 1956-2005

How we came to be where we are at…

Scriptural precedence for remembrance can be found throughout the bible. Deuteronomy finds Israel in the wilderness on the east side of the Jordan making preparations to enter the promised land a second time. Moses assembles the nation for a rededication to the Lord. In chapters 1-4, Moses relates their history, what the Lord had done for and with them.

The books of Chronicles are replete with who had served where in the nation of Israel. The prophets were continually reminding Israel of their history. Stephen summarizes in Acts 7 their history in his defense of the Gospel. In the institution of the Lord's supper, He said as often as you partake, you do so "…in remembrance of Me." — I Corinthians 11: 24-25.

Revelations 2-3 shows the Lord talking to the seven churches of Asia and says, "I know your deeds" and then relates them. In Ecclesiastes 3:1, Solomon writes, "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven… ."

About the presenter…

Jarrell GibbsJarrell Gibbs, former member and elder at Webb Chapel, presented A History of Webb Chapel at the 50th Anniversary Reunion in 2006. Jarrell served as an elder twice, first in 1983 until his job required a move to Ft. Worth and again in 1992 until his job required another move, this time to London, England, in 1998.

 

The First 10 Years, 1956 - 1965

Much detail was paid to the beginning years to show that a very healthy foundation was established for all the wonderful works that have occurred since that time.

On December 26, 1955, a meeting was held between the Letot (Northside) & Carrollton congregations and about 30 Christians who lived in Farmers Branch concerning planting a church in Farmers Branch. It was agreed that a house would be rented ($60/month) at the corner of Webb Chapel & Valley View for a temporary meeting place and three acres at 13425 Webb Chapel Road would be purchased for $8,500.

The year was 1956. War breaks out on the Sinai peninsula between Egypt and Israel. Soviet tanks and troops crush the anti-communist uprising in Hungary. The U. S. tests the first aerial hydrogen bomb of 10 megatons over the Bikini Atoll. In the U. S., Dwight D. Eisenhower began his 2nd term as president; Richard Nixon was his vice president. Southern congressmen call upon the states to resist Supreme Court-ordered desegregation . Elvis Presley records a hit record (Heartbreak Hotel) and stars in his first movie (Love Me Tender). The NY Yankees win the World Series, again. Oklahoma wins the NCAA National football title with a record of 10-0. Forest Lane is a two-lane blacktop road with no traffic lights. A first-class postage stamp costs 3 cents. A gallon of gas costs 23 cents. Jarrell & Cynthia Gibbs graduate from high school while Jerry Hunt is in the 10th grade and Mary Jane Hunt was still a baby.

First Day at Webb ChapelThe first Webb Chapel worship service was held on January 1, 1956. The little house quickly became too small, and the congregation moved down the road to a two-story house near what is now I-635. In 1957, again due to overcrowding, the congregation moved to a prefab building located at the current location. The congregation grew to 250 members by 1958 and met in two services. They held a successful bond drive that October for $35,000 and construction began on the original semi-circular building. There have been a number of additions since that time, but Webb Chapel has never been overly building conscious, focusing more on good works. Suffice it to say, it has grown from a two-acre piece of land purchased for $8,500 to the present facility valued at several million dollars.Groundbreaking

Homer Wolfe, the first missionary supported by Webb Chapel, began working part-time in 1959 in North Platte, Nebraska. By 1960, the congregation found it necessary to conduct two Bible classes as well as two services. Flavil Yeakley, Sr., began his work with Webb Chapel, and evangelism was the activity that permeated the whole congregation. Attendance that year averaged 168 in Bible Study, 220 in morning services, and 118 in evening services. 1961 saw the creation of Zone Ministry (forerunner of Brothers' Keeper, now Care Groups) in order to identify and meet the needs of the growing congregation. This included the first of many disaster relief assistance given to the victims of Hurricane Carla that hit Baytown, Texas, and most recently the victims of Hurricanes Katrina & Rita. Webb Chapel also sent members to preach in Gordonville, TX.

Elders and deacons, the first of many who would serve this congregation, were installed in 1962. Construction finished, the dedication of the new facilities seating 500 was held on October 20, 1963. Attendance averaged 330 in Bible Study, 465 in Worship. Ladies of the congregation started a Bake Day project for Children's Homes, the first of many years of support. Joe McKissick became the the first "full-time" missionary to fill the pulpit in 1964, and personal evangelist Warren Barnes was hired. Also in 1964, two additional acres were purchased. Dan & Sue Camp and Charles & Carolyn Lowry began teaching Bird's Eye View of the Bible. This class would continue, with various teachers, throughout the next 40 years, successfully teaching this method of spreading the Gospel.

The first World Mission Forum was held in 1965 to bring missionaries from around the world together to gain knowledge of what was happening and energize Webb Chapel members for mission work. Danny Profitt and Ross Bracey and their families were sent to Northern Ireland as the first of many to be sent to foreign mission fields. Additionally, new-member orientation began and has continued to this day.

The Second Decade, 1966 - 1975

 

Local evangelism flourished at Webb Chapel church of Christ. In 1966, 46 were baptized, and in 1968, 72 were baptized into Christ. Door-knocking campaigns in neighboring communities resulted in over 1,000 new Bible Correspondence students.

Members started going to mission fields in 1968 when Mitch & Jane Hackney, Steve & Peggy Squires, and Bob & Kay Mays moved to Vancouver, B.C. Jim Byrnes, a native of Dublin, began working in 1969 with the Proffitts who had previously moved there from North Ireland. A year later, Tony & Leslie Coffee moved to Dublin to begin their work. In 1972, Benny Whittle, Brooks Harkey, & Sandra Simpkins joined Don Solomon in Twoomba, Australia.

Visitation programs were established in 1969 and have now become part of Mid-week for the Master. Don Frazier began a program in 1970 for Webb Chapel couples to become foster parents for children awaiting adoption from Dallas Christian Services. Webb Chapel was instrumental in organizing a city-wide program for benevolence and created the WCCC Food Pantry and Clothes Closet in 1971. Buddy & Billy Woodcock coordinated the program until 1985 when Bruce & Vivian Garner took the reins. Webb Chapel continues to have a Non-Member Assistance program and a Member Assistance program. When she was church secretary, Sue Camp, among others, used this as an outreach program. For years, money collected in Bible Classes has and continues to support the Non-Member Assistance program.

By the end of 1975, five children's homes were supported — Children's Home of Lubbock, Boles Home, Sunny Glenn, High Plains, & Foster's. Zone Ministries, which had been started in 1961, became Brothers' Keepers. The visitor luncheons this ministry supported for years became legend and brought many visitors to Webb Chapel.

The Third Decade, 1976 - 1985

 

Simple English BibleSeveral momentous events occurred in our third decade. Through the efforts of Lynn Yocum, World Missions Information Bank came to Webb Chapel making WC the center for information on world missionaries and thus a clearing house for daily requests. Webb Chapel participated in the editing of the Simple English Bible, an eight-year work by Stanley Morris to translate the Bible for a fifth-grade reading level in support of World Bible School.

Children's Bible Hour also started in 1976 with 113 in attendance. The next year, several young adults started a puppet group, the Behind the Wall Gang, and the puppeteers traveled to various stateside and international locations presenting their program. Webb Chapel youth also ventured into the foreign mission field in 1976 when Donnie Dalton, Tim & Penny Lowry, and Bryan Riddle traveled to Ireland to begin an extended work period with Tony & Leslie Coffey.

Dave Sellers and Gil Yarbrough started a Timothy Class in 1980 designed to prepare young men for active leadership roles in the church. A similar class was begun for young ladies two years later. Bonnie Calvert, Jeri Lynn Jones, Mindy Tyndall, and Kathleen Whitton taught the Tabitha Class for many years. Harrison Rutherford started Studies in the Bible, a local Bible correspondence program in 1981, and it took a life of its own. Countless people have been affected by this program both locally & in other states, including a large number of students in prison.

Along with the Vineland (NJ) congregation, Webb Chapel initiated a church planting effort in Cape May Court House, New Jersey, in 1984. The work there is alive and well and almost self-supporting today. Over the years, Webb Chapel has sent groups of adults and youth to aid in the efforts there. In 1985, Charles Landreth began to reach out to those who suffered from alcohol addiction through the S. T. A. R. program, Steps Toward Alcohol Recovery. Many were helped with this program until Charles moved to Tennessee in 1986, and the program prepared WCCC to be receptive to the James Group Program which began in 1992.

The Mission Learning Center began in 1985 by Jerry Calvert & Lynn Yocum. It was and is designed to create in our very young a basic knowledge of different cultures experienced on the mission field. Don & Sylvia Petty ran this program for many years and presented various lectureships locally and across the United States teaching other congregations how to create their own Mission Learning Center. Children visited the MLC once or twice a year and were presented with a room transformed to represent another place with members of the congregation in local dress, a taste of local cuisine, and a mission-minded Bible Lesson, and the children participated in creating Bible class visual aids to be used by missionaries in the field. MLC visits have remained much the same, with the exception of visual aid creation, and the Petty's passed the reins to Lisa White who has continued to transport Webb Chapel children around the world. She even took them to prison!

The Fourth Decade, 1986 - 1995

 

In 1986, the Mission Committee adopted a new concept of total financial support for missionaries and committed to support Galon & Sharon Jones in Florianopolis, Brazil, for at least 5 years and an expected 10 years. The team trained under the Continent of Great Cities organization and were successful in establishing a self-supporting evangelistic congregation in ten years. Several of WCCC high school graduates also committed to spend at least a year in the mission field and received training in Lubbock, Texas, through Adventures in Missions or in College Station, Texas, through Aggies for Christ.

The Lord opened doors that had been closed for 70 years in Germany and Russia when the Berlin Wall fell in 1990. WCCC began work in Omsk and and also in Lipetsk, Russia, to establish a church there. Current Webb Chapel pulpit minister, R. Wayne White, makes frequent trips to Ukraine and was even stranded there in 2010 when the Iceland volcano halted air travel for several weeks! Campaigns to Guyana started in the early 90's when David Lusk brought his extensive background and zeal for Guyana to Webb Chapel, and several annual campaigns centered on work there.

Steve Steele initiated a 12-step Bible-based program in 1992, known as the James Group, to assist those who had addictions of any kind. The program has been very successful, not only in aiding those with addictions but also bringing many to Christ. In 1998, Steve became full-time director of this effort. They continue to have weekly meetings among many other activities.

In the mid-1990's, Leadership Training for Christ caught on at Webb Chapel in a big way. The program really gets kids involved in some aspect of spiritual growth. Another advantage to the program is that it brings parents and kids together in the 4-5 months of preparation for the competition. Over the years, to say "many" Webb Chapel teens have participated would be an understatement. Each LTC also brings LTC Sunday, where the teens are recognized for their participation.

The Fifth Decade, 1996 - 2005

 

Personal evangelism efforts were still alive and well at Webb Chapel. Ken Spear coordinated "Back to the Bible" campaigns in 1999 and 2001. The 2001 campaigns included the cross-cultural initiative that began when Henry Roncancio was hired in March of 2001. With the hiring of Henry Roncancio, the intention was to develop one cross-cultural congregation, not two seperate congregations. Consistent with that plan, Manuel Soto became the first Spanish-American deacon at Webb Chapel.

Nearly a decade later, Henry has expanded the cross-cultural ministry to create several ongoing projects that have brought many to Christ. ESL classes began around 2002 and were initially offered to the parents of 4 local elementary schools with a huge response. Friendships have been made, and several have responded to the Gospel through efforts in this program. Hispanic Radio and TV Bible lessons were started when Henry was approached and asked to present a series of Bible lessons.

Kyle & Leslie Klein and their children moved to Porto Alegre, Brazil, for a a 5-year commitment church-planting effort under the same program described with Galon Jones and his family.