The Rev. Ernst August Wenzel, a German Lutheran missionary, began visiting German immigrant families in the Kriegel area east of Wharton in the 1890s. They formed a congregation, and in 1898 purchased the former Methodist church building in Wharton and named it after St. John. After the storm of 1900 destroyed their sanctuary, the members rebuilt, and in 1930 moved to this location. More structures were added as the congregation grew. The church continues to serve its members and the community with many outreach programs.