It was late summer of 1937 and the depression years were severe. Some Christians living on the southwest edge of Oklahoma City found it difficult to go to the Capitol Hill Church of Christ located at 2900 S Harvey for services. Some did not have their own transportation or money for bus fare. They decided to start meeting in the southwest part of Oklahoma City. They had no meeting house, so they met in the home of Tom and Bessie Ferguson.
J Harvey Dykes, minister at Capitol Hill, was asked to conduct an open-air meeting at SW 33 and South Agnew. Several people were converted and others were restored. This necessitated a larger meeting place other than the modest home of the Fergusons. In October of 1937, a building was quickly constructed at SW 33 and South Miller. It had only a dirt floor covered by wood shavings to help keep down the dust.
As the church began to grow, the new location became too small. One day, Vernon Taylor told his wife, Dora, to go out that day and start looking for a place for sale. In her walking, she stopped by an old store building at 2512 South Agnew. A split off the Southwest Christian Church was meeting there. The preacher was there and she learned from him that they wished to relocate. It was not long until a swap was arranged and the Southwest congregation found a new home on the northeast corner of SW 25 and South Agnew.
Soon, several members from the Capitol Hill and Tenth and Francis congregations came to help with the new work. Mr. and Mrs. Lee Dunehue, Mr. and Mrs. John Ridley, Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Owens, Mr. and Mrs. Cliff Mauldin were among them. In February 1940, the Capitol Hill congregation sent their preacher, Jesse Wiseman along with partial support for his salary to Southwest. Growth was almost instant and the work became self-supporting. Classrooms were quickly added on the back of the building (some still say they were chicken coops). After much thought and prayer, five lots were bought across the street at 2600 South Agnew. It proved years before a building could be erected there. World War II caused supplies to be short.
Wiseman soon left for Wichita, Kansas and Curtis Camp began work with Southwest on October 1, 1940. In the next two years, there were about 80 additions to the membership. On August 1, 1942, Camp moved to Elk City, Oklahoma and Howard White was the new minister. He stayed for almost two years. In April 1944, Tom J. Ruble came to Southwest and stayed until 1948. These were years of great growth and progress for the church.
In 1946, a fine brick building with a balcony and a full basement were erected. The auditorium seated 500 people. The basement contained 12 large classrooms. While the southwest part of the city was rapidly growing, the Southwest congregation was keeping pace. In 1948, Walter Bryan and his family came to Southwest. For the next eight years, Bryan enjoyed a very fruitful ministry. In 1956, the Bryan family moved to the mission field of Vermont, supported by Southwest. Lewis Hale and family came in 1956 to work at Southwest.
In 1956, a barracks building from Will Rogers Field was bought and converted into a classroom annex with a fellowship hall. More space was needed and in 1959, two lots were bought and a two-story classroom annex was built on the south side of the auditorium. It provided offices, a nursery, restrooms, and fourteen classrooms, This allowed for considerable growth. In March 1959, two complete services on Sunday morning began; two Bible schools and two worship services. This continued for 13 years.
Late in 1970, plans were made for a new auditorium and office complex. Construction began in May 1971 and the first service was conducted in the new auditorium January 2, 1972. The new auditorium seated 700 people. The old auditorium was converted into a classroom and a large fellowship hall.
In 1982, a preschool wing was added along with a large room which doubles as classrooms and a small fellowship hall. Lots were bought along the east side and our parking lot was extended.
In 1998, approximately ten acres were purchased just west of May Avenue on SW 104 Street. Plans were underway to construct a new facility and relocate the congregation to this new site, approximately seven miles south and west of our current location.
Groundbreaking proceeded in March 2001 for the new facility. After fourteen months of construction, the first service was held on July 7, 2002. The new facility contains approximately 779 seat auditorium, a large fellowship hall that also doubles as five classrooms, an educational wing for all ages and an office complex.
In August 2005, Logan Cates was hired as an associate minister. Logan and Summer and their children were active in many areas of the church. Early in 2013, Logan decided to move back to Wilburton, Oklahoma and work with the church there again. Also early in 2013, Lewis retired after 57 years of service.
David Deffenbaugh was hired as a full-time pulpit minister in July of 2013. Also, a new associate minister, Darrick Shepherd was hired in August of 2013 to help with young professionals, young families and youth activities.
In the summer of 2019, Darrick took a pulpit position at the Goodlettsville church of Christ in Tennesee. A few months later, David also resigned.
In 2020, we brought in three new ministers to join our family. Myron Bruce was brought on as our Preaching Minister. Shane Standerfer has been brought on as our Young Adults and Families Minister. Parker LaGrange is our Student Minister. We are excited to see how God will work through these three men as He is writing a wonderful story through the Southwest church of Christ.
From the beginning, the Southwest congregation has placed a strong emphasis on Bible School, Outreach, Benevolence, Youth and Missions. With this understood, members of the congregation are active in many different areas. With God’s blessing, Southwest will continue to grow and exceed in many areas of the Lord’s Work.