It happened Sunday night at the Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church at 1601 South Louisiana Street.
Church officials say the lightning bolt struck the tower's chimney, shattering the upper third of it and destroying one corner of the tower.
"Lightning struck our chimney, which is at the top of our bell tower and just sort of exploded the top of it and so we had debris raining on top of our tile roof and bricks coming through the roof and it was a profound impact," said Minister Thompson Murray.
The debris fell onto a second floor landing, into the alley, parking lot and sidewalk below.
A check of the attic turned up at least six holes big enough to see the sky through them.
Rafters are split or shattered in several places, and water was pouring into the attic down onto the fourth and third floors, on both sides of the choir loft and into other areas.
A damage estimate for repairs is not yet known.
Nobody was hurt.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Little Rock was able to locate the lightning strike in its storm data.
The photo below shows Cloud-to-Ground lighting between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. Sunday.
On the map, the + sign indicates a positive strike (lightning strike coming to the ground with a positive charge), and is at the location of the church.
Positive lightning strikes are known to last a fraction of a second longer than negative strikes and are often more damaging than negative strikes. Note that there was very little cloud-to-ground lightning occurring during this one-hour time frame in the Little Rock area (only the one positive strike and two negative strikes are seen).
The NWS says there was quite a bit of thunder at the time, so most of the thunder would have been caused by in-cloud or cloud-to-cloud lightning.