Today, a core group of 1,000 dedicated volunteers enter every major public housing development in Nashville’s inner city communities and transport up to 1,200 children and teenagers to life skill training classes that are held in locations throughout Nashville and the surrounding communities. Lytle and Sandra strongly believe that most of the problems facing our world today can be solved by strong Christian homes. This goal is shared by a dedicated staff of 22 full time and part time co-workers. They believe every inner city community is a mission field in which local families, when properly trained and equipped, can and will be reached.
Every person is in need of love and understanding. Many of the young people that NICM works with find themselves homeless, helpless, hopeless, hungry, and hostile. With patience and encouragement, all of life’s problems can be endured and a positive, healthy quality of life can be born out of despair at any point in someone’s life. The ministry provides them hope and seeks to establish a foundation on which they can build a successful life. “Until God gives up on mankind, people must not give up on each other.” It is because of this goal that ministries have been successfully started in several other southern cities.
Nashville Inner City Ministry was founded by Lytle and Sandra Thomas in 1979 as an outreach to the young people living in the public housing projects of Nashville’s inner city area.
In 1966, while serving as a military policeman in Saigon, Lytle first saw the tragic breakdown of the home. He began to understand the need for the church to equip families to better prepare their children to survive in an evil society. In 1967, he married the girl next door and his best friend, Sandra Green. Together, they have raised 15 foster children. A mechanic by trade, Lytle also served his home congregation as a volunteer Youth Minister. When this ministry became successful, he realized that he should enter ministry full time. With the support of a group of vision-minded church elders, Sandra’s assistance as a co-worker, and very well trained teenagers, the ministry that became Nashville Inner City Ministry was launched.