First Lutheran Church’s history began 1884 when a traveling missionary, Pastor H. Mertz, visited Temple looking for possible sites for a Lutheran congregation. In his report to the synod, he said “Temple was an interesting place”.
In 1885, Pastor Karl Kreuzenstein succeeded Pastor Mertz as a traveling missionary. He moved northward, serving areas around Temple, including Buckholtz, Cameron, Killeen, Belton and Clifton with Temple being the central location. Temple , a small railroad town, was only 4 years old. Pastor Kreuzenstein saw the progress that the railroad would bring to Temple. In his report to the Texas Synod, he said, "Through this station in Temple, the way that leads into the real Northwest section of our State is open to us."
Pastor Kreusenstein organized a Lutheran Congregation in Temple to be known as Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church. There were 13 charter members. Services were held in their homes, and occasionally in the Grace Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoons.