The Pittsburgh native graduated from the College of Wooster in 1944 and Princeton Theological Seminary in 1947. For 26 years following graduation, he served as a “missionary” with the UPCUSA’s Board of National Missions, serving churches in western and central New Mexico until 1962 and then as director of the Ozarks Area Mission and college pastor of the College of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Ark. until 1973.
At the time he was elected moderator, Lytle was pastor of Madison Square United Presbyterian Church in San Antonio.
For 12 years (1960-1972) he served on the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations (COEMAR), where he led in a variety of capacities, including chair of the Frontier Internship Committee, chair of the Administrative Commission on Cuba, personnel development counselor for missionaries serving in Latin America, and inter-church negotiator with Chile and Mexico.